Glaucoma, the leading cause of vision loss in adults over the age of 60, has been on the surge over the past few years. It is expected that by the year 2020, around 76 million people on this planet would be suffering from the condition.
Glaucoma is basically the result of a fluid build-up in front part of the eye that leads to increased pressure within the eyeball, which in turn damages the optic nerve, leading to a gradual and permanent loss of vision.
Even to this day the loss of sight from glaucoma cannot be reversed; however, with the currently available treatments – laser or traditional surgery, eye drops, oral medication – it can be slowed down and loss of sight be prevented even for a lifetime.
Cannabis may help prevent glaucoma
Certain studies have found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical in marijuana that gives users a high, can help lower intraocular pressure (IOP), the major culprit, irrespective of whether a person has been diagnosed with the condition or not.
In fact, many people believe that treating glaucoma was the driving force behind the inception of medical marijuana in the 1970s.
Various Research and Studies
According to GlaucomaToday(.com), a positive connection between marijuana and glaucoma was established for the first time in 1994, when a 26-year-old glaucoma patient named Robert Landall reported that the halos he experienced around lights vanished each time he smoked weed.
A 2015 study published in Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine states that medical marijuana may be helpful in treating patients with last-stage glaucoma or the ones who are ‘poor surgical candidates’.
Another research conducted in 2018, however, points to some contradictory conclusions. The study, carried out at Indiana University, found that Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive compound in marijuana, worsened the vision in 18% of test mice by increasing their eye pressure. However, since this study was conducted on mice, one can’t be certain about the effects of THC and CBD in humans (glaucoma patients).
The case studies, mostly from the 1970s, showed that THC was quite effective in lowering down the IOP for 3-4 hours. However, not much modern-day scientific research is available that has made use of these findings yet. Medical marijuana is now legal in most of the states in the U.S. and it’s high time that more breakthroughs are made to rather cure the condition than just treating it.