We have no doubt about the benefits that medical cannabis has on various illnesses and diseases. There is good evidence in robust human clinical trials that cannabis is of benefit for a variety of ailments whether they be physical, mental, or social.
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Worldwide, more than 60 million people have glaucoma – an eye condition that can cause pain and blindness.
Doctors have developed treatments for glaucoma, and with early detection, can prevent blindness. Unfortunately, many of those treatments involve surgery and/or painful eye medication. Especially for those with late-stage glaucoma, alternative therapies are a much safer choice.
Research has revealed that medical marijuana can reduce the symptoms of glaucoma. It has also introduced a new cannabinoid, called CBG, into the medical community. This article will explain the basics of glaucoma, and how medical marijuana (and CBG) helps fight it.
What is Glaucoma
Glaucoma is an optic nerve condition that is associated with a build-up of pressure in the eye. It is usually inherited and doesn’t always show up early in life. In fact, symptoms and pain are rarely experienced until the condition has progressed over time. This is why it is known as “the silent thief of sight.” After cataracts, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness.
The increased pressure from glaucoma damages the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting images to the brain (in other words, it lets you see). To avoid long-term vision loss, glaucoma should be diagnosed and treated early. An eye doctor can recognize symptoms. Those with a history of the condition in their family have a higher risk of developing glaucoma.
What causes Glaucoma
Fluid in the eye is called aqueous humor. In a healthy eye, this fluid flows and drains through the trabecular meshwork. But when this fluid is blocked, or the meshwork degenerates, intraocular pressure (IOP) builds up, inside the eye. This pressure is what causes glaucoma. There are two main kinds of glaucoma:
- Open-Angle Glaucoma – accounts for about 90% of glaucoma cases in the US. Sometimes known as “wide-angle glaucoma,” the eye’s drain structure appears normal but doesn’t work as it should. This kind of glaucoma is painless, and its only indicator is progressively worsening vision loss.
- Angle-Closure Glaucoma – This type shows up in less than 10% of US glaucoma cases, but nearly 50% in East Asian countries. Also known as “acute, chronic-angle or, narrow-angle glaucoma,” this kind of glaucoma presents with ocular pain, and other symptoms detailed in the Symptoms section below. It is caused by a too-narrow angle between the iris and cornea and should be regarded as an emergency.
Glaucoma is more widely seen in African-American, Hispanic, Irish, Japanese, Eskimo and Scandinavian populations, as well as older people. Caffeine increases intraocular pressure.
Glaucoma is an inherited condition. Those of East Asian descent, as well as people with farsighted vision, are predisposed to glaucoma as both groups have more shallow anterior chamber depths.
Other Health Conditions
Glaucoma often accompanies additional conditions, including:
- Poor vision
- Eye traumas
- Diabetes (and diabetic retinopathy)
- Prolonged use of steroids
- Genetic mutations
- Genetic eye malformations
Symptoms of Glaucoma
Glaucoma has few, if any, symptoms, until after it has advanced to much later stages. This is why regular eye screenings are so important to your vision’s health. Some of the later showing symptoms of glaucoma include:
- Loss of peripheral (or side) vision
- Blurred vision
- Eye redness
- Tunnel vision
- Nausea or vomiting
There is no known prevention of glaucoma, but early detection can help you control it.
Current Treatments for Glaucoma
Current traditional treatments for glaucoma seek to either increase the outflow of eye fluid or decrease the formation of it. Conventional treatments for glaucoma may include medication, lasers, or surgery. The treatment method varies according to the severity of the case. Any medication instructions need to be adhered to strictly because otherwise, the patient is at risk for going blind from the condition.
The most common three are:
- Prescription Eye Drops – This is the least invasive treatment, but still has possible side effects which include eye redness, irritation, stinging, blurred vision, and allergies.
- Laser Surgery – Slightly reduces the flow of eye fluid in open-angle glaucoma, and can remove blocks in angle-closure glaucoma. The three surgical laser procedures include:
- Trabeculoplasty, which clears the blocked drainage area.
- Iridotomy, which encourages more flow of eye fluid through a tiny hole made in the iris.
- Cyclophotocoagulation, which reduces fluid production by treating the eye’s middle layer.
- Microsurgery – Eye pressure is relieved with this surgical procedure that creates a new route through which to drain eye fluid. Risks include bleeding, infection and temporary or permanent vision loss.
If a patient is in a later stage of glaucoma, treatment is more about relief than about the actual targeting of glaucoma itself. Many people at this point choose to treat their late stage glaucoma with medical marijuana, since it does an excellent job alleviating certain symptoms that accompany glaucomas, such as nausea and pain. Another good part of treating the symptoms of glaucoma with medical marijuana is the fact that the risks and side effects are basically zero.
Treating Glaucoma with Marijuana
Medical Research on Medical Marijuana and glaucoma
Many people prefer an alternative, more natural ways to alleviate the discomfort and pain that comes with glaucoma. Luckily, there has been a fair amount of research done on medical marijuana and glaucoma, so the possibilities of using CBD and/or THC to treat this condition are being explored.
- A pilot study on the effects of CBD and THC on glaucoma
This study looked at how CBD and THC would affect patients with glaucoma. It considered their effects on the intraocular pressure that comes with glaucoma. It used a form of medical marijuana taken under the tongue (tinctures). Ultimately, THC worked to alleviate the pressure temporarily, while CBD did not have the same effect.
- Using CBD as a novel topical therapy
This study examined whether CBD and THC could treat certain aspects of glaucoma. It concluded that CBD could work as a novel topical therapy for treating glaucoma, although both CBD and THC caused neuroprotection.
CBD and Glaucoma
The previous studies revealed an interesting revelation about CBD and glaucoma. While CBD is beneficial for many conditions, it may not provide decreased symptoms for glaucoma. CBG or THC is actually recommended for treating Glaucoma. CBG is one of many cannabinoids present in the marijuana plant. It is available in hemp and certain other strains of marijuana.
In this study, researchers discuss both CBD and CBG. They also provide anecdotal evidence of medical marijuana not only helping glaucoma patients but also patients with other ailments (such as asthma and migraines).
CBD vs THC
The cannabis plant is one of nature’s largest sources of cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds absorbed by our endocannabinoid system, which has many receptors in our immune system, brain and throughout our body. In addition to CBD and THC, there are at least 5 other cannabinoids, such as CBG, that are medically beneficial.
In addition to being a potent glaucoma treatment, CBG also balances emotional disorders and relaxes neurological conditions. CBG can also possibly kill cancer cells. It does not stimulate appetite or cause an ‘intoxicated feeling.’
How to take medical marijuana for Glaucoma
There are a variety of ways to take marijuana to treat glaucoma. It is effective no matter how you ingest it, although you would need to take it every few hours to achieve consistently therapeutic effects. Plan on taking your ‘medication’ every three to four hours.
If you have late stage glaucoma, you can certainly use marijuana as needed to treat your symptoms. In fact, plenty of ophthalmologists embrace medical marijuana for this type of treatment, since it alleviates the symptoms so well. These symptoms often include nausea, for example. A strain of marijuana that is high in THC can do wonders to help nausea and stimulate appetite. Another symptom often found in late stage glaucoma is pain. Marijuana’s ability to treat pain is also well-documented.
That being said, there are a variety of methods for taking medical marijuana. You could use tinctures (drops of concentrated marijuana below the tongue), cook it into your food with CBD/CBG oil, smoke it, or even buy some delicious products that have it (such as marijuana-infused gummies or brownies).
Growing your own Glaucoma Medication
Medical studies have shown that the cannabinoids found in marijuana temporarily relieve the IOP caused by glaucoma. With Cannabis sativa, patients can enjoy less pain, regain their mobility, and have better rest. By growing their own plants, patients can administer medication as needed and know that relief is right at hand.
Cannabis comes in a wide variety of strains. Sativas naturally contain high amounts of CBD, and many hybrids have CBG. Both are powerful reducers of pain and inflammation.
Some of the best strains that could work to treat glaucoma are Maui Wowie (sativa), Cherry Kola (indica), and Blueberry (indica hybrid). Choose a strain that has the right cannabinoid for treating the symptoms you would like to alleviate. For example, strains high in THC would help stimulate appetite and help with pain.
Original Source: http://www.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com/glaucoma/
This article was first published on https://www.cannabisimp.com.