Glaucoma and Medical Marijuana

Glaucoma and Medical Marijuana

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Glaucoma and Medical Marijuana

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Interesting Facts about Medical Marijuana and Glaucoma

A number of researchers promote medical marijuana as an effective treatment for several diseases such as glaucoma. However, many people wonder – does the drug really work better, as compared to other medications?

What is Glaucoma?

glaucoma is a disorder of the eyes, which is characterized by a damaged optic nerve and reduced side vision. This condition may affect a person’s sight, and it often leads to partial or total blindness. One of the causes of optic nerve damage is an abnormal pressure within the eyes, or intraocular pressure (IOP).

According to eye specialists, the best means of controlling glaucoma and preventing vision loss is by lowering the IOP levels. An ophthalmologist usually treats glaucoma with prescription eye drops, while some patients may be advised to undergo surgery.

Medical Marijuana and Glaucoma

The concept of marijuana’s potency in treating glaucoma began in the 1970′s. Numerous studies were conducted, and these showed that smoking marijuana helped reduce the IOP of glaucoma patients. Further experiments were made, and researchers aimed to determine how the active component of marijuana (THC) could be effective in normalizing a person’s IOP levels. The National Eye Institute, which is a division of the Federal National Institutes of Health, supported this research on the use of medical marijuana in treating glaucoma.

The research has proven that when an individual smokes marijuana or receives a dose of THC, the IOP decreases significantly. However, the substance only decreases the IOP levels for a short period and may last for three to four hours. Considering these effects, some medical specialists believe that this is a major drawback in using marijuana as one of the possible glaucoma treatments. This means that a person needs to smoke marijuana at least eight times a day, so he or she could obtain a consistently low IOP.

In other clinical studies, researchers intended to determine how effective medical marijuana is in reducing the IOP, as compared to the use of traditional medications for glaucoma. Patients received the recommended dosage of THC orally, while others obtained a dose of this component intravenously. Based on several experiments, smoked marijuana and synthetic THC taken in the form of pills have decreased the IOP in glaucoma patients and individuals with normal levels of IOP.

Along with other drugs, researchers have discovered that medical marijuana decreased vision problems and degeneration of glaucoma in several individuals. This proved that medical marijuana is quite beneficial because its components reduce pressure in the eyes by as much as 25 percent.

According to the 1997 report of the World Health Organization (WHO), THC has long been promoted as one of the treatment options for glaucoma. However, the therapeutic functions of the drug have not been fully researched and studied. The WHO also reported that the therapeutic uses of THC or cannabinoids are demonstrated by controlled experiments and studies in the treatment of high levels of IOP due to glaucoma. While there were success stories from patients who have used medical marijuana as glaucoma treatment, other people consider taking conventional medications for this eye disorder.

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