For decades, there had been plenty of speculations with the use of marijuana as medicine to cure a number of diseases. But thanks to cannabis research advancements and testimonies from patients, it’s now clear that cannabis has medicinal benefits. The results of different studies have changed the public perception of marijuana, helped many patients improve their conditions, and pushed governments to claw back unhelpful anti-cannabis laws.
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Apart from being used to treat conditions like
Cannabis is also used to treat eye diseases and improve eye health. Before we dive into its role in eye health, let’s first learn something about the plant itself.
A Little About Cannabis
For over 4000 years, different communities around the world have been using cannabis to treat various diseases. The plant contains over 100 natural compounds called cannabinoids, all of which play their part in our health. Two of the best-known compounds are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC, which is extracted from marijuana, has psychoactive properties that cause a high sensation when smoked. Its mostly used by marijuana recreational users. It’s available in smokable products, oils, edibles, and capsules.
CBD can be extracted from hemp or marijuana plants, has minimal psychoactive properties, and has a lot of health benefits. Research has shown CBD contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-aging, and neuroprotective properties. Sometimes, CBD and THC are specially mixed to treat some conditions. CBD can be ingested as an oil, capsule, or edible, applied as a patch to the skin, inhaled through vaping, applied as a lotion, or used as an eyedrop.
Cannabis and Eyesight
Let’s take a look at how cannabis can help treat some of these eye diseases.
Glaucoma is a progressive vision condition that impairs sight and can permanently damage your eyesight if not addressed. When there is high pressure inside the eye, the optic nerve and the adjacent tissues can get damaged. The optic nerve is responsible for supplying visual information to your brain from your eyes. In the US, around 2.7 million people over the age of 40 are affected by this condition.
Since the 1970s, researchers have been examining the impact cannabis has on glaucoma. Although a solid conclusion hasn’t been reached, results have indicated that cannabis can minimize pressure buildup in the eye for a period of 3-4 hours. This can stall the onset of glaucoma. In one study, the eyesight of a patient improved significantly after using CBD oil for 3 days. Before, the patient couldn’t see when exposed to bright light. In another study on 16 patients, intraocular pressure was reduced when cannabis was inhaled.
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Cannabis Slows Down the Effects of Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in the US, affecting over 10 million people. The condition occurs when the small central portion of your retina, called the macula, wears down or abnormal blood vessel growth occurs under the retina. The macula part is responsible for helping us focus vision and helping us read, recognize faces, and much more. When it’s damaged, vision may become blurry and worsen over time.
A number of studies have pointed out that THC and CBD have chemicals that can decelerate or block the causes of macular degeneration. Research conducted in 2004 showed that cannabis could inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathways. VEGF is a signaling protein that triggers the growth of new blood vessels. This means cannabis can play a role in limiting or reducing abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye.
Cannabis Decelerates Vision Loss
Studies show that cannabis can slow down vision loss, allowing you to maintain a good vision for longer. In a 2014 study on rats that had a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, it was discovered that after 90 days of being treated with cannabinoid, they scored better on vision tests. They had 40 percent more photoreceptors compared to their untreated counterparts. Although the same test hasn’t been done on humans, there is a high chance that properties in cannabis could protect the retina’s inner layers.
Diabetic Retinopathy is quite different from other eye diseases. This condition is a side effect of diabetes. When blood sugar spikes, it causes glucose to go where it’s not needed, and one common area it goes to is the retina. As diabetes progresses, the chances of vision loss increases. Studies show that some compounds in cannabis can work as a neuroprotectant, minimize toxicity in the retina, and protect diabetics’ eyes.
Cannabis Enhances Night Vision
After a fisherman in Morocco claimed to see better in the dark after smoking marijuana, scientists used a night vision testing machine to investigate the issue. It was found that volunteers who consumed marijuana during the test showed improved night vision capabilities.
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Many scientific studies point to the fact that marijuana has benefits on eye health. Although it can’t permanently cure these diseases, it can prevent them from occurring, stall their onset, offer significant relief, and improve your quality of life. To start using CBD oil to treat your condition, you will need to know whether medical marijuana is legal in your state, then get a medical marijuana card from a licensed doctor to help you get the treatment you deserve.
At MD Berry, we help people looking for an alternative form of medicine to secure medical marijuana cards fast and easily. To schedule an appointment with our approved marijuana doctors, contact us today!