How Does Marijuana Help Glaucoma

Glaucoma, an eye condition with severe implications, poses a significant threat to millions of people around the world. It occurs when there is increased pressure within the eye (known as intraocular pressure or IOP), which causes damage to the optic nerve over time. While a range of conventional treatment options are available today, an increasing number of individuals are exploring marijuana as an alternative option for managing glaucoma symptoms. In this article, we delve into the advantages of marijuana in reducing IOP and alleviating the associated symptoms of glaucoma.

Understanding Glaucoma

To begin with, it is crucial to comprehend how glaucoma affects individuals. There are various types of glaucoma, with primary open-angle glaucoma being the most prevalent form. Ordinarily, aqueous humor – a clear fluid present in our eyes – circulates and drains through channels called the trabecular meshwork, which also regulates pressure. However, in people with open-angle glaucoma or other variants thereof, this drainage process becomes compromised. Consequently, the fluid build-up leads to higher levels of IOP.

The Role of Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana contains chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that interact with receptors in our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Among these cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have shown significant promise for their effects.

Reducing Eye Pressure

One area of medical cannabis research that stands out is its potential to lower intraocular pressure (IOP). Studies suggest that both THC and CBD can temporarily reduce IOP by facilitating outflow through mechanisms in the eyes’ structure. However, it’s important to note that the effects may only last for a period of around 3 to 4 hours, which means frequent dosage administration or alternative treatment approaches may be necessary.

Relieving Associated Symptoms

In addition to lowering IOP, medical cannabis has shown a lot of promise in alleviating several symptoms related to glaucoma, including eye pain and nausea. Certain strains of cannabis have demonstrated properties that can help reduce discomfort caused by glaucoma. Furthermore, it exhibits properties that can assist in relieving nausea experienced due to the condition itself or as a result of glaucoma treatments.

Considerations and Limitations

While medical cannabis offers a range of benefits for managing glaucoma, it’s crucial to consider a number of factors. Firstly, it should not replace visits to an eye specialist or adherence to actual treatment plans. Medical cannabis should only be viewed as a supplementary therapy under the guidance of a licensed healthcare professional familiar with its usage. It’s important to note that people can have different responses to cannabis when it comes to treating glaucoma, and some patients may even experience an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) after using it.

Regulations and Accessibility

One common hurdle for those seeking cannabis treatment for glaucoma is the varying regulations surrounding its use. The availability and affordability of various options depend on where the individuals are located, which can, at times, restrict access for certain patients. Despite these challenges, ongoing research is shining a light on how specific formulations or methods of delivering cannabis to the body could maximize its benefits while minimizing the negative side effects.

Other Treatment Options

While medical cannabis may provide some relief for people suffering from glaucoma, it’s crucial to remember that traditional treatments remain the mainstay in managing this condition. Approaches such as eye drops, medications aimed at reducing IOP levels, laser therapy procedures like trabeculoplasty, and surgical interventions have proven highly effective in controlling IOP and preserving vision for most glaucoma patients.


In summary, medical cannabis shows a lot of promise in managing glaucoma by lowering IOP levels and relieving associated symptoms like eye pain or nausea. However, further research is necessary to understand appropriate dosing regimens and long-term effects and identify individuals who may respond best to this alternative treatment option. When it comes to medicinal cannabis use, it’s important for people to have open discussions with their healthcare providers so that they can make well-informed choices about managing their glaucoma effectively.