Marijuana for Glaucoma? The good, bad and indifferent.

Last week in Ohio the Medical Marijuana law went into effect bringing new treatment options to patients and doctors in a number of fields. While the law went into effect there are still a number of processes and regulations that must be implemented prior to writing a prescription or walking into, a currently non-existent, dispensary. In fact, many articles state that legal marijuana in Ohio may not be available until the end of 2017, or beginning of 2018. For more on Ohio’s weed laws visit

It’s legal, but is it ethical?

This is a topic of strong opinions, which still have many people weighing out the pro’s and con’s, but finding good, legitimate research can be tough. In fact, what you might find in High Times magazine may be the opposite of what you find on the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s website. And, for a lot of people it may come down to their beliefs and how they were raised. Growing up your entire life being told how marijuana is bad for you and how it is a gateway drug can certainly sway your opinion. How can something that you have been told was bad for your health now be good? Well, you could relate it to articles on salt, eggs, and wine and how these are good for you in moderation, but can cause problems in excess. After all, the government legalizing marijuana is not intended to create a nation of Cheeto eating couch potatoes.

What are the benefits of marijuana for glaucoma?

Marijuana is currently being used in some cases to treat eye conditions like glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. Patients with glaucoma have increased eye pressure, which causes damage to the optic nerve and leads to peripheral vision loss. Controlling the pressure inside of the eye is an effective way to prevent lasting problems caused by the disease. Without treatment glaucoma can cause blindness in just a few years. The condition is inherited and usually occurs later in life.

The eye pressure associated with glaucoma is typically treated using various medications and eye drops. Some people cannot use these treatments and may look for alternatives like marijuana.

THC, one of the components in marijuana has been known to decrease pressure in the eyes. For the same reason THC causes red eyes, it lowers blood pressure and dilates the blood vessels thus lowering eye pressure as well. It typically only lowers eye pressure for about three to four hours, so those choosing to use this treatment will have to use marijuana multiple times each day to be effective. THC pills or drops are sometimes used with similar results.

Those using marijuana for glaucoma may find that the hassle of not being able to drive and decreased concentration just aren’t worth using this form of “medicine” as a treatment.

The Glaucoma Research Foundation states that marijuana is not currently a recommended treatment for glaucoma due to unknown effects that could accompany its use. Stating the possibility of marijuana making glaucoma worse since it lowers blood pressure as well as eye pressure which could potentially further damage the optic nerve. But, Dr. Oz may believe different and has endorsed marijuana as a viable treatment for a number of ailments and diseases. So, who is right and who is wrong. Only time and additional research will tell.

So, what’s your opinion?

We’d love to know your thoughts. Would you be open to use medical marijuana? Do you view it as a drug that should still be illegal? We want to hear from you!

If you have glaucoma or symptoms of glaucoma, maybe it’s time to schedule an examination with one of our ophthalmologists. Contact us at 216.574.8900, today.