by Steven Vale, M.D.

It’s long been known that Marijuana lowers intra-ocular pressure. The effect is short term (3-4 hours) but the THC in marijuana is the molecule known to reduce eye pressure. On average, THC reduces eye pressure by 25% or about as much as one of the best classes of drugs we have, prostanoids (Xalatan, Travatan, Zioptan and Lumigan). However, these drugs are more effective than THC because of longer half-lives and therefore more convenient dosing schedules. THC can be smoked, ingested, or taken sublingually with equally good result. THC eye drops don’t lower intra-ocular pressure significantly but do cause severe ocular irritation. That’s why a glaucoma eye drop was never developed from Marijuana.

8-10 marijuana cigarettes would have to be smoked daily to control intra-ocular pressure, including during sleeping hours so as not to have a lapse in coverage. The estimated cost– about $8,000 per year! That cost does not even take into consideration impairment in work or driving due to being stoned!

If you were thinking about beginning CBD for back pain, anxiety or any of over twenty ailments it is claimed to help, I have bad news for you. A recent study shows CBD products: gummys, oils, foods etc., that are available in stores or on the internet, can actually counteract the beneficial effects of THC on glaucoma and when used alone, may actually raise eye pressure and potentially worsen glaucoma. Researchers at Indiana University found that CBD oil can actually increase eye pressure by about 20% for 4 hours after use. This is especially concerning as one of the biggest uses of CBD is in children for epileptic seizures. 

Unfortunately, CBD is not an FDA-controlled medication and is produced with little regulation. There are few studies to back up the claims being made by manufacturers. One study showed that up to 70% of CBD products didn’t contain the amount of marijuana compounds promised by the label and 20% contained THC when they weren’t supposed to.

Glaucoma has no symptoms and can painlessly destroy vision. If you’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma, you need to have well controlled, low pressures in order to maintain your eyesight over the long term. If you are a regular user of CBD products, make an appointment for a complete eye exam.We can make sure that your use of CBD won’t cause you to lose your eyesight.


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