Glaucoma is a common disorder of the eye that affects three million Americans and is 40 percent more likely to occur in patients with diabetes than in the general population. Caused by increased pressure within the eye, glaucoma can lead to blindness if not appropriately treated. Different preparations of medical marijuana can relieve pain for glaucoma sufferers and alleviate intra-ocular pressure, or pressure that results inside of the eye. While not a cure, medical marijuana usage can result in preservation of vision and reduced pain.
More is known about the beneficial link between medical marijuana and glaucoma than any other illness where patients can realize beneficial improvements due to cannabis. In fact, glaucoma is often at the top of the list of ailments when states introduce bills to legalize the use of medical cannabis. Some of the earliest clinical studies involving medical marijuana were focused on its impact on glaucoma.
As early as 1979, studies showed that inhaled cannabis could lead to both decreased blood pressure and decreased intra-ocular pressure. Unfortunately, this lowering of pressure only lasted as long as the cannabis properties were retained in the body. That could mean that a glaucoma patient would have to smoke medical marijuana every few hours to continue reaping benefits.
To realize the benefits of cannabis without the hassle of a near-constant smoking regimen, further studies were conducted to determine how effective other forms of medical marijuana could be to patients with glaucoma. While inhaled and orally ingested cannabis haven't proven to be the perfect treatment for the unique needs of glaucoma patients, other avenues are being explored.
One of those avenues is topical marijuana use. Cannabis eye drops have been shown to have far more potential to reduce intra-ocular pressure without undesired side effects. The development of workable eye drops hasn't been without difficulty, however, due to the reaction between natural eye moisture and the composition of drops.
With years of experimentation and study, better preparations have been discovered that promise relief to glaucoma sufferers. As topical products are being design, patients with glaucoma can still experience the benefits of less eye pressure, reduced pain and preserved eyesight with medical marijuana.