What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a relatively common disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve—the cable that carries visual information from the eye to the brain. The American Academy of Ophthalmology explains that the disease usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of the eye, called the anterior chamber. This fluid typically flows in and out of the anterior chamber to nourish nearby tissue but for glaucoma patients, the fluid drains too slowly, thus increasing intraocular pressure (IOP) and ultimately damaging the optic nerve. Over time, the fluid build-up reduces side vision and can even lead to blindness if left untreated.
The two types of glaucoma include open-angle and angle-closure. Open-angle is the most common and slower progressing, while angle-closure is more severe and can lead to rapid blindness.
Research dating back to the 1970s supported by the National Eye Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, found that medical marijuana consumption does lower IOP. While the promise shown in treating glaucoma with medical marijuana has persisted over the decades, a long-term clinical trial is the next obvious step in bringing relief to more patients.
The main drawback of using medical marijuana to treat glaucoma is that its effects on IOP only last about four hours, making it necessary to ingest THC up to 4-6 times a day. Although there is no known cure for glaucoma, medical marijuana’s positive effects make it a proven complement to other medical treatments.
The information provided should not be used as a substitution for physician knowledge. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment with medicinal marijuana.