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Is CBD Good For Glaucoma?

As CBD products and medicinal marijuana have been trend topics lately, many companies are doing research in drug development to gather more information about how CBD acts in the human body. CBD could treat certain conditions because it binds to our endocannabinoid system, which is related to mood, pain modulation and metabolism, among other body functions.

Currently, there are medicines approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) that are cannabis-based. Sativex, for pain relief caused by multiple sclerosis, Marinol, which is used to treat nausea caused by chemotherapy, and Epidiolex, which is used to treat rare forms of epilepsy.

But is CBD good for glaucoma? To answer that question, let’s get to know a bit more about the condition.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye condition that damages the optic nerve due to excessive intraocular pressure. It tends to be hereditary (parents pass it to their children), and normally develops in adults over 40 years old.However, there are cases of the disease in young adults and even children. This condition affects around 3 million Americans and is one of the main diseases that cause irreversible blindness worldwide.

Types of Glaucoma

There are many types of Glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma, as known as chronic,  is the most common, and has this name because of the open angle between the cornea and iris. Fluids build up, drainage canals clog, and the amount of the excessive fluids increases eye pressure. As this type is progressive, meaning that it develops slowly and the symptoms come unnoticed.

There is also angle-closure glaucoma, commonly known as narrow-angle or acute glaucoma. Unlike open-angle glaucoma, acute glaucoma develops quickly. The space between the cornea and iris becomes too narrow, closing the drainage canals, which can cause a sudden buildup pressure in the eye. Its symptoms are strong headache, eye pain, blurred vision, nausea, and vomiting. Acute glaucoma is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately because it can cause irreversible blindness.

Secondary glaucoma can be open-angle or angle-closure type, occurring as a consequence of an eye injury, advanced cases of cataracts, and diabetes as the primary issue.

There are also less common types such as congenital glaucoma. Occurring in babies, this happens when the eye’s drainage canals are incompletely developed during the prenatal period. Traumatic glaucoma is caused by an injury to the eye, like blunt trauma or a penetrating eye injury. Neovascular glaucoma occurs by uncommon formation of new blood vessels over the eyes’ drainage canals and on the iris, consequently increasing eye pressure. This type of glaucoma is consistently connected with diabetes.

Glaucoma and CBD

Many people associate CBD with medical marijuana, however, is the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that initially works on intraocular pressure. It lowers the pressure up to 60% during a few hours, including in patients with glaucoma. This could seem to help initially, but it’s not a long-term solution. THC is metabolized in the human body within 3 to 4 hours, maximum.  Glaucoma is a condition that needs to be supervised 24 hours a day to prevent vision loss.  It’s not recommended for a patient to smoke 6 to 10 marijuana cigarettes a day to try to obtain results.

There are different strains of marijuana with different potencies. Besides, smoking such quantities make patients too impaired to drive, or not functioning at the best of their abilities. Additionally, THC is addictive and long-term smoking increases the risk of lung cancer.

Researchers have tried to create THC eye drops, but THC can not be administered like water-base. Oil-based THC did not lower intraocular pressure (IOP) and resulted in eye irritation among patients.

CBD, likewise, has let scientists down. New studies suggest that CBD raises the IOP instead of lowering it.  High eye pressure is glaucoma’s primary risk factor. Medical professionals, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, agree that at the moment, there are no reliable CBD products that help glaucoma’s symptoms management.