Medical Marijuana and Glaucoma
Medicinal marijuana is promoted as a treatment for many diseases. Among them is the ocular disorder known as glaucoma. Basically a fluid pressure against the lenses of the eye, it can result in permanent damage to the optic nerves and permanent vision damage. Glaucoma refers to any number of eye ailments that share the common trait of degeneration of the optic nerve leading to vision loss and eventual blindness. At the onset of glaucoma, symptoms may not be apparent. The types of glaucoma that affect adults are primary open angle glaucoma and angle closure glaucoma. Children can also get glaucoma. Two variations of glaucoma that are especially difficult to treat conventionally are Normal Tension Glaucoma which occurs regardless of pressures within the eye, and Secondary Glaucoma, which occurs after some type of traumatic eye injury. Without invasive surgery or heavy medication, the disease can progress for years. There is no true mainstream cure. Marijuana, however, can effectively treat the symptoms and causes of all types of glaucoma.
Lowering the intraocular pressure (IOP) inside of the eye is the most effective way of combating the disease. Marijuana does, in fact, benefit glaucoma patients because it does lower the IOP inside the eye. Reductions in IOP between 16-45 percent have been observed. Benefits can be seen through the use of either water pipe inhalation, or use of cannabis oils and extracts.
Glaucoma ranks among the most common medical conditions treated by medical marijuana today. The research findings that initially promoted the use of marijuana for glaucoma date back to the 1970’s, and one of the first reasons for which the federal government once granted permission for compassionate marijuana use is for the treatment of glaucoma. After cataracts, glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness worldwide, affecting the vision of more than 60 million people. Medicinal marijuana may just be the most natural avenue for treatment available.