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Medical Marijuana for Glaucoma

Glaucoma is diagnosed when extremely high eye pressure causes optic nerve damage. Considered to be the leading source of blindness in the world, glaucoma typically affects those 60 or older.  In the US, there are approximately 200,000 cases of glaucoma diagnosed each year. While the cause of glaucoma is unknown, there are a few factors that are usually attributed to glaucoma patients, including family history, age, increased eye pressure, and race.

There are two well-known types of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma and closed-angle glaucoma. The most common, primary open-angle glaucoma progresses slowly, the patient gradually begins to lose their vision, and there are usually minimal or no symptoms. On the other hand, closed-angle glaucoma requires medical attention immediately. A quick onset of symptoms such as eye pain and redness, extreme headache, blurred vision, halos around lights, and nausea that can lead to vomiting are associated with closed-angle glaucoma. 

If a patient with glaucoma doesn't seek medical treatment, their condition can possibly lead to blindness in one or both eyes. Typically, most glaucoma is treated with topical medications -- such as eye drops -- but sometimes surgical procedures are required to slow down the progression of glaucoma.

Does Marijuana Help Glaucoma?

The use of cannabinoids in Medical marijuana, including THC and CBD, continues to be studied to better understand any effect it may have on glaucoma. Some individuals feel that using medical marijuana that is prescribed by a doctor may help provide relief for symptoms from both glaucoma and cataracts.

The combination of medical marijuana with traditional glaucoma medication is sometimes followed by people within states that allow patients to use medical marijuana. Medical marijuana can be used by patients who cannot tolerate typical glaucoma medications, as well as in conjunction with other prescribed medications. While cannabis-based treatments may offer a less invasive alternative to surgical interventions for glaucoma management, be sure to always consult with your doctor or medical professional before using any medication in conjunction with marijuana for glaucoma.

How Does Weed Help Glaucoma?

Cannabis-based treatments have shown promise in managing symptoms associated with glaucoma. Studies from as early as 1970 indicate that for patients with glaucoma, marijuana use has been shown to help reduce intraocular pressure (IOP), but only when cannabinoids are consumed orally, intravenously, or by inhalation. This means that THC eye drops would likely not be a viable treatment option for managing intraocular pressure in individuals with glaucoma.

Still, smoking weed may not be suitable for all individuals with glaucoma, and alternative methods of consumption may be recommended. While the beneficial effects of marijuana are temporary, lasting only a few hours, medical cannabis for glaucoma can be used to help feel relief from some of the symptoms associated with glaucoma.

Best Weed Strains for Glaucoma

Determining the best strain of weed for glaucoma will depend on the individual and their response to marijuana and glaucoma. Still, certain strains of cannabis for glaucoma can be helpful in managing the symptoms associated with the nerve damage it can cause. Indica strains may be able to help alleviate the pressure from headaches and help with difficulty sleeping.

Alternatively, sativa cannabis strains have properties that help ease symptoms such as pain, lower eye pressure, and eliminate nausea while also stimulating the appetite. Patients can also choose a hybrid strain at a dispensary for a combination of both indica and sativa to help manage stress, stay calm, and ease pain and headaches.

Does Weed Cure Glaucoma?

Although medical marijuana for glaucoma is said to help alleviate some of the symptoms, glaucoma and other eye conditions cannot be treated with cannabis. As stated, the beneficial effects of cannabis for glaucoma are temporary and only last a few hours. However, effective treatment for glaucoma requires eye pressure to be managed 24 hours a day, which means cannabis would not be able to cure or manage glaucoma properly.

While glaucoma currently has no cure, if treated early on, the negative effects of glaucoma can be stopped or prevented. Proper treatment can also manage the patient’s pain and slow the progression of glaucoma from becoming worse.

Can I Get A Weed Card For Glaucoma?

Yes, depending on the cannabis laws of the state, glaucoma is often a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. Currently, there are 39 states that permit the use of medical marijuana with a medical marijuana card. As an Illinois patient with glaucoma, you do qualify to apply for a medical marijuana card which allows you to obtain medical cannabis from any Illinois medical marijuana dispensary to help you with associated symptoms.

**Always seek professional and medical advice from your doctor before using medical marijuana for glaucoma. This is not medical advice for glaucoma patients.

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