Medical Marijuana & Glaucoma
Glaucoma, one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness, affects upwards of three million Americans. It is characterized by degeneration of the optic nerve that conducts visual information from the eye to the brain, and is now understood to be a neurodegenerative condition similar to Alzheimer’s disease. A key factor in the progression of the disease is the pressure of the fluid within the eyeball itself, or intraocular pressure (IOP); a proven way to prevent further blindness is to find a way to reduce the IOP. Since the 1970s, research conclusively showed that medical marijuana reduced the pressure within the eye, most likely through the action of cannabinoid receptors along the tissue lining the interior of the eye. When taken orally or applied topically, CBD and other components of medical marijuana show promise as additional treatment options for glaucoma, especially in the disease’s later stages.