Glaucoma is an eye condition characterized by increased pressure within the eye that causes gradual loss of sight.
Many people have heard that marijuana lowers eye pressure, so naturally they want to know whether they should use it to treat their glaucoma.
So what’s our verdict?
Is Marijuana Good for Treating Glaucoma?
Smoking or ingesting marijuana does lower the intraocular pressure caused by glaucoma — with two major caveats.
- Unfortunately, the relief provided by marijuana is of short duration, so patients would have to smoke or ingest it literally every 3 to 4 hours (6 to 8 times per day).
- Additionally, the composition and dosage is often inconsistent, and therefore the benefit is not measurable or reliable.
Other Risks of Using Marijuana
The AAO and AGS also cite a few key health risks of the drug, which include:
- increased heart rate
- decreased blood pressure
- risk of a compromise in blood flow to the optic nerve, which can cause blindness
The bottom line is that although marijuana can lower eye pressure, recommending this drug in any form for the treatment of glaucoma is ill-advised given its short duration of action and its adverse side effects. In addition, there is no clear evidence that using marijuana alters the course of glaucoma.
Better Treatment Options for Glaucoma
There are a number of treatments available for lowering eye pressure, including:
- eye drop medication
- laser treatment
- eye surgery for glaucoma
All of these treatment options are approved and arguably much better options for treating glaucoma, as they do not come with any neurological side effects.
If you or a loved one in the central New Jersey area is suffering from glaucoma, contact Dr. Scharfman for consultation.