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If you look up lists of “approved conditions” for medical marijuana in many states, you’ll likely run across glaucoma. To those who are familiar with hemp, it may seem obvious that CBD would have a positive impact on this common eye condition. After all, excessive eye pressure is a significant driver of glaucoma symptoms. Since CBD seems to have anti-inflammatory effects, why wouldn’t it help reduce intraocular pressure (IOP)?
While that all makes logical sense, it doesn’t seem to play out in reality. In fact, recent studies suggest people who have glaucoma need to be extra careful with CBD tinctures.
How Does CBD Oil Affect Glaucoma?
The short answer is that CBD may temporarily increase IOP. Since glaucoma patients already have elevated IOP scores, CBD can worsen glaucoma symptoms.
However, before we get too “doom & gloom,” we must look at the latest scientific details. To date, there are two significant studies examining CBD for glaucoma, one from Indiana University and another from the University of Aberdeen. Both of these trials showed similar results.
At Indiana University, researchers observed average IOP scores in a group of mice who were given CBD, THC, or a combination of CBD/THC. According to this report, the mice who took CBD had an 18 percent spike in IOP that lasted four hours after taking the cannabinoid. Researchers also discovered the CBD/THC combo had zero effect on IOP readings. This second finding makes sense when you consider CBD has an antagonistic relationship with THC.
However, when researchers gave mice THC supplements, they found that the IOP in male mice dropped by an impressive 30 percent eight hours after administration. Interestingly, female mice didn’t have as profound a drop in eye pressure after taking THC, but their IOP scores still decreased.
By contrast, the University of Aberdeen’s trial examined CBD, THC, and a placebo in a group of six patients with IOP-related issues. Like the Indiana trial, Aberdeen researchers found that only the THC sample helped temporarily reduce IOP. When scientists gave 40 mg of CBD to patients, they showed a slight increase in IOP. However, those who took 20 mg of CBD didn’t register a statistically significant change in eye pressure.
So, Should Glaucoma Patients Avoid CBD Hemp?
Before glaucoma patients throw away their CBD hemp flowers, please remember the research into CBD for glaucoma is in its early stages. That’s not to say the two studies above are phony, but we don’t have dozens of other trials to compare them with.
Also, these latest studies suggest there may be ways glaucoma patients could take CBD oils without disrupting their IOP scores. For instance, when Indiana scientists combined CBD with THC, they found that the mice didn’t show a significant increase in eye pressure. Although we commonly think of CBD as “taming” THC, it may be that THC counters CBD’s adverse effects on IOP.
Also, the University of Aberdeen found that a low-to-moderate dose of CBD didn’t ramp up IOP scores. Therefore, microdosing CBD may provide glaucoma customers with CBD’s many benefits without disrupting their eye care routine.
Please note: We don’t take CBD’s adverse effects on IOP lightly. People struggling with glaucoma or another IOP-related issue should avoid CBD until we better understand how to use this cannabinoid safely. We’d recommend speaking with a medical professional who can monitor your IOP scores before trying CBD products.
How Does Delta-8 Affect Eye Pressure?
Most ophthalmologists studying marijuana for glaucoma are more interested in THC’s therapeutic potential. As mentioned above, there’s strong evidence that delta-9 THC can temporarily reduce IOP. So, do these positive effects translate to the more widely-available hemp delta-8 THC?
Unfortunately, since delta-8 is such a new cannabinoid, there aren’t any significant tests examining its effects on eye pressure. However, considering delta-8 is so similar to delta-9, it should temporarily reduce IOP.
Hopefully, as the demand for delta-8 products grows, more scientists will focus on studying delta-8 for eye pressure. Until then, we can only guess about how this cannabinoid affects glaucoma patients.
Does Delta-8 Help With Glaucoma?
As mentioned above, we can’t say definitively whether delta-8 THC helps with eye conditions like glaucoma. To date, all we can say is that delta-9 THC seems to reduce IOP pressure for a few hours after people or mice use it. Since delta-8 and delta-9 are closely related, many assume delta-8 may potentially help with glaucoma symptoms.
Until we have more data on delta-8 for glaucoma, patients shouldn’t use this cannabinoid for eye health. It’s always best to speak with an ophthalmologist before experimenting with hemp cannabinoids to ensure they won’t mess up any other medications.
Should Glaucoma Patients Get Medical Marijuana?
The latest evidence suggests cannabis products with delta-9 THC may reduce IOP, which should benefit glaucoma patients. So, does that mean everyone with glaucoma should run out and get an MMJ card? Not necessarily.
Please remember that legal medical marijuana will get users “high.” Taking weed every day for glaucoma is sure to cut into your productivity. Plus, many people have adverse reactions to THC, including paranoia and hallucinations.
Patients must also remember that most trials on THC for IOP suggest this cannabinoid’s IOP-reducing effects go away after a few hours. Patients need to constantly maintain a low IOP score, which is difficult to achieve when using a psychoactive drug.
Doctors must develop novel delivery methods such as THC topicals or eye drops to reduce IOP scores without provoking paranoia or interfering with daily productivity. Glaucoma patients should be cautious about using cannabis to “self-medicate.” Always remember this cannabinoid will affect the absorption of other medications, so please don’t use MMJ without your eye doctor’s approval.
“See” What’s In Your CBD! — Please Request Third-Party Lab Testing!
If you are going to use products like CBD or delta-8 in your wellness routine, you’ve got to be sure they have a solid reputation for safety. Sadly, there are a lot of hemp products in stores and online that don’t have their advertised CBD and THC levels. Even worse, some companies are pumping out CBD products with unsafe secondary compounds like lead, arsenic, and butane.
Please only work with businesses like Organic CBD Nugs that send every product to third-party labs. You can find out more about our exceptional lab screening standards on this link.