If you have glaucoma, you may have heard that marijuana is sometimes prescribed for glaucoma sufferers. Marijuana has a lot of positive and negative aspects to its reputation, so you may be feeling unclear if it can actually offer you any benefits. The reality is, marijuana can help glaucoma sufferers, but it's not a magical cure. Read on to learn more about how medical marijuana works and whether it's worth your time.
How Glaucoma Works
Glaucoma is a disease that affects the nerves and the blood vessels of the eyes. The nerves of the eyes are damaged by increased pressure in the eye, as well as a reduction in blood flow due to swelling or inflammation in the blood vessels. When these two problems combine, they can cause a loss of vision, or even complete blindness if left untreated.
What Marijuana Can Do For Glaucoma Sufferers
Marijuana has been praised by some for its ability to help people suffering from glaucoma. Studies have found that marijuana does do a pretty good job of reducing the pressure in the eye that causes some of the nerve damage that glaucoma patients experience. However, the improvement is short lived.
Unlike medication that's specifically intended to reduce intraocular pressure, marijuana's ability to reduce pressure is effectively a side effect of smoking or consuming marijuana. As a result, it only lasts for as long as the "buzz" does, or the marijuana is in your blood stream. Unfortunately, this means that people with glaucoma would need to smoke or consume marijuana all day long in order to truly benefit from the drug.
To make matters more complicated, marijuana hasn't been shown to have any positive effect on reducing the constriction and inflammation of blood vessels in the eye. While reducing intraocular pressure helps to reduce the risk of damage, you would still need to take medication to improve blood flow to your eyes.
Talk to Your Doctor
If medical marijuana is legal in your state, it's worth talking to an eye doctor about whether it's a good option for you. If your intraocular pressure is particularly high, your doctor may be interested in giving you a medical marijuana prescription in addition to the medications you're already taking for your glaucoma. However, your doctor will ultimately determine whether or not it's the right choice for you and your glaucoma symptoms.
Medical marijuana has been shown to be helpful in reducing symptoms in a wide variety of ailments, like stimulating appetite and reducing nausea for cancer and AIDS patients. However, its efficacy for glaucoma is minimal, at best. If you're concerned that your eyes are still having problems, make an appointment with your eye doctor for a glaucoma treatment consultation right away.
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