Glaucoma not helped by smoking pot

Organizations touting the benefits of medicinal marijuana are common these days.

One of the popular myths surrounding marijuana is that it is helpful in treating glaucoma. Due to this rather popular misconception, the National Eye Institute researched whether marijuana or it’s active ingredient, THC, could be used safely in treating intraocular eye pressure (IOP) which is the underlying cause of glaucoma.

Researchers found that whether marijuana was smoked or taken in the form of THC as either a pill or injection, the effects only lasted 3 or 4 hours, which is insufficient for a disease that causes damage 24 hours per day. A person would need to smoke marijuana six to eight times a day to get a consistently lowered IOP reading. This would leave the person impaired to function. Smoking marijuana, just like cigarettes, causes lung damage and can lead to lung cancer.

In addition, to the obvious impairment effect, marijuana can cause an abnormally fast heart rate and decreased blood pressure, which in turn reduces blood flow to the optic nerve and cancels out any benefit from the lowered eye pressures. As a result of these findings, glaucoma patients are encouraged to continue to seek treatment for eyedrop, laser, and surgical care from their eye doctor.

For more information, visit https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/medical-marijuana-glaucoma-treament

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