Around three million people in the United States have glaucoma, and the disease is linked to hundreds of thousands of cases of blindness in the country. The disease is not curable, but it can be treated with surgery and a variety of different medications. Medical marijuana has long been touted as one of the main treatments for glaucoma. However, there are actually a wide variety of traditional pharmaceuticals that can be used to treat the disease. These include beta blockers, prostaglandin analogs, alpha agonists, and other medications. If you have glaucoma and are thinking about adding medical marijuana to your treatment regimen, then you and your eye doctor should consider this form of treatment very carefully. There are some pros and cons of the medication you should know about.
Con - Marijuana Is Not An Effective Treatment For Eye Pressure
Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes irreparable damage to the optic nerve. This damage is the result of increased pressure within the eye. As pressure increases, the fluid in the eye, called the aqueous humor, pushes against the optic nerve. The stress causes the tissues across the optic nerve to pull away from the eye, rip, and die. To help reduce damage to the optic nerve, individuals take medications to reduce intraocular eye pressure. Marijuana is one type of drug that can do this, and the active ingredient THC is responsible for the reduced pressure.
Unfortunately, marijuana can only reduce eye pressure for a short period of time. Typically, eye pressure will reduce for only three to four hours after the marijuana is ingested. This means that you would have to ingest marijuana in some form every three to four hours to see any meaningful results. Since THC is a psychoactive substance, this can cause you to feel mood changes, perception differences, and shifts in your consciousness. These feelings can greatly reduce your ability to function in your daily life.
Also, since the THC only reduces pressure for a short period of time, this can leave you without any medical treatment overnight. Eye pressure can then increase as you sleep, and your optic nerve may be damaged.
Pro - Marijuana Can Reduce Your Pain
You probably know that marijuana is often prescribed by physicians to reduce pain. Many studies have been completed that indicate that marijuana has many positive effects when it comes to reducing chronic pain. Since opiate and narcotic pain relievers are often addictive when prescribed long term, marijuana may be a great alternative when it comes to treating your glaucoma discomfort. After all, glaucoma is both a chronic and painful condition.
Your physician will work with you to determine the correct dosage of marijuana that you need. The eye doctor may also prescribe a synthetic form of cannabis called Marinol. However, Marinol may not be as effective as marijuana when it comes to pain relief. If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, then you can speak with your physician about a script for medical marijuana instead of a pharmaceutical drug.
While you may decide to smoke marijuana, the act of lighting it on fire will cause some carcinogens to form in the smoke. If you want to reduce your overall health risks, then think about eating the marijuana instead of smoking it. Typically, a medical marijuana prescription will indicate the amount of the drug that you can and should consume. It is up to you how you want to ingest it. Making your own edibles is a great way to consume marijuana. Not only is it healthier for you, but you can also closely control how much marijuana you ingest. There are many recipes online that you can follow to make the edibles. When you first start creating them, think about cutting the marijuana into one-half to one-quarter of the recommended dosage. This way, you can see how it affects you before consuming a great deal of it. This can help to reduce your pain while also minimizing the hypnotic effects of the drug.
For additional information on glaucoma treatments, talk to an optometrist at a location such as the Montgomery Eye Center.
About six years ago, I realized that my eyes were always bothering me. I was really frustrated about the problem and so I went to meet with my optometrist. He was incredibly kind and understanding, and he did a thorough evaluation of my vision. He found out that I had a severe eye infection, and so he started treating it right away. This blog is all about getting help with your eye health and knowing how to watch out for serious ocular disorders. By spotting the signs of trouble early, you might be able to retain your vision and live a better life.