Glaucoma is the word used to describe multiple progressive eye conditions characterized by damage to the optic nerve. The two most common forms of glaucoma are characterized by an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP), or pressure inside the eye which damages the optic nerve. The optic nerve is vital in order to send visual information to the brain, and that route is interrupted when it is damaged.
As a result of glaucoma, the patient loses their field of vision slowly, over time, and is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. Many other symptoms, including headaches, eye pain, nausea, and blurred vision, are also suffered as a result of glaucoma. Only about half of the people suffering from glaucoma even know that they have it – for this reason, the disease is often called the “silent thief of sight”.
The Glaucoma Research Foundation estimates that there are 60 million people suffering from glaucoma in the world – 2.7 million in the U.S. alone.
Although cannabis studies have shown that THC can relieve intraocular pressure, thereby reducing damage to the optic nerve, it may also reduce blood flow to the optic nerve which can have negative effects. THC can be used to relieve symptoms like eye pain, headaches, nausea and vomiting.
Like THC, CBG alleviates intraocular pressure by increasing fluid drainage. CBN also slows progression and relieves pain. Cannabis can be used to treat symptoms as well as to delay onset, but it does not cure glaucoma.
As stated in the article entitled “Cannabinoids and glaucoma” published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, cannabinoids have been shown to effectively lower the IOP and have neuroprotective actions. Several cannabinoids have been shown to effectively reduce intraocular pressure and do not contain psychotropic effects that may potentially prevent patients from utilizing the treatment and prevent doctors from recommending the use of cannabis.