Medical Marijuana for those with Glaucoma


Advocates of medical marijuana often cite its effectiveness in treating glaucoma as a rationale for legalization. Beginning in the 1970s, research showed that marijuana and its active component, THC, decreased intraocular pressure. Increasing public interest in medical marijuana led the American Glaucoma Society to issue a position statement recognizing that marijuana lowers intraocular pressure (IOP), which in turn reduces risk and progression of damage. However, the statement also mentions concerns regarding marijuana’s short duration of action and mood-altering effects. The Glaucoma Research Foundation has also issued a statement on the use of marijuana for treating glaucoma that expresses similar concerns. According to research trials, 1 dose of marijuana can decrease IOP for 3 to 4 hours.

Although the drug’s mechanism of action is not clear at this time, researchers have identified ocular receptors for its active components. Marijuana can be inhaled, taken orally, or administered intravenously. To date, however, researchers have been unable to formulate a topical eye drop—the preferred route of administration for glaucoma treatments—that efficiently delivers the drug.

* as always please be sure to consult with a health professional to assess the risks and rewards of adding medicinal cannabis to your treatment program.