Experts dive deep into marijuana’s potential for glaucoma relief

Various treatment methods exist for managing glaucoma, but one innovative and hopeful approach involves the use of marijuana, available at GrassLife dispensary.

The compounds found in the cannabis plant offer a beneficial supplement for reducing intraocular pressure. Interaction with different receptors in the body effectively eases the discomfort linked to this condition.

Key takeaways:

  • Oral and topical methods of marijuana consumption show a long-lasting benefit over smoking.
  • Glaucoma, an eye condition characterized by neurodegeneration, increases intraocular pressure.
  • THC reduces IOP in healthy individuals and patients with ocular problems.

Exploring this ocular disorder

Glaucoma is the common cause of irreversible blindness and encompasses a range of optic nerve neuropathies that result in the progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells. Early detection and appropriate intervention are necessary to forestall future disability. 

Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) stands out as the foremost risk factor driving the onset and advancement of the condition, with IOP reduction representing the sole established treatment approach.

Cannabis for glaucoma

Since IOP stands as the sole modifiable risk element capable of impeding or halting disease advancement, pharmacological reduction of IOP remains the cornerstone of treatment. There are drugs that lower IOP by possibly targeting the aqueous humour production and its outflow.

Several studies have shown the impact of cannabinoids, particularly Δ9-THC, on IOP in both healthy individuals and those with ocular problems. 

Possible mechanism:

  1. The reduction in intraocular pressure primarily occurs through CB1 receptor mediation. 
  2. The ciliary muscle contraction and decreased noradrenaline release from the ciliary process also contribute to this effect. 
  3. Metabolites of the endocannabinoid system decrease IOP by inducing COX-2-dependent prostaglandins and matrix metalloproteinases in the non-pigmentary ciliary epithelium.
  4. A study from the Journal of Molecular Brain Research identified elevated levels of CB1 mRNA in the ciliary body. The distribution of cannabinoid receptors in this anatomical structure means an impact of endogenous cannabinoids on the outflow of aqueous humour.
  5. AEA and Δ9-THC can induce COX-2. Individuals with primary open-angle glaucoma often experience a decrease in COX-2 levels. Cannabinoids can promote the expression of COX-2 and matrix metalloproteinases, which may enhance outflow by expanding Schlemm’s canal or remodelling the extracellular matrix.

One of the pioneering investigations into the potential of cannabinoids to lower IOP dates back to 1971, conducted by Hepler and Frank. Their study involved 11 healthy subjects who experienced a roughly 25% reduction in IOP approximately one hour after smoking 18 mg of THC.

Method of use: Smoking versus oral/topical use

In this section, we’ll look into the optimal method of consumption for effectively managing IOP by drawing insights from a study featured in the Journal of Clinical Sciences.


Authors from the study suggest that employing marijuana smoking as a treatment for glaucoma presents several drawbacks. Despite achieving maximum drug absorption through smoking and enabling users to adjust the dosage to attain a euphoric state indicative of a pharmacological response, this method is deemed inadequate.

Marijuana reduces IOP for a duration of 3 to 4 hours, after which the IOP returns to its baseline level. Achieving sustained control of IOP at a significantly reduced level necessitates smoking a marijuana cigarette 8 to 10 times daily, specifically in individuals who experience a decrease in IOP. 

This level of consumption translates to a considerable amount, from at least 2920 to as many as 3650 marijuana cigarettes consumed per year. Considering this extensive use, it becomes challenging to envision an individual maintaining productivity while integrated into society.


Innovations in topical administration techniques encompass the creation of microemulsions and cyclodextrins, which aim to augment solubility in aqueous solutions. These innovations substantially improve the lipid-based carriers in earlier basic and clinical investigations. 

Various clinical studies, like from the Ophthalmology Journal, showed the impacts of oral Δ9-THC in temporary reductions in ocular pressure. The most significant decrease in intraocular pressure occurred 2–4 hours post-administration, with reductions ranging from approximately 10% to 30%. 


Only 12 healthy subjects have undergone testing for intravenous administration. According to a study from the Journal of Clinical Medicine, doses of 3.0 mg and 6.7 mg THC resulted in reductions in IOP ranging from 29% to 62%. The peak reduction in IOP occurred within the timeframe of 30 minutes to 90 minutes post-administration.

Oral products to explore

Potluck Extracts –  Gummies (1:1)1:1 THC/ CBD100mg eachGrapes
OneStop – 1:1 Gummies 1:1 THC/ CBD250mg eachWatermelon
Mikro – 1:1 Gummies1:1 THC/CBD100mg totalCitrus
Cannanmo Gumdrop Remedies – 1:11:1 THC/CBD250mg eachFlorida Tangerine

Marijuana can treat other symptoms of glaucoma

Marijuana can alleviate the side effects associated with glaucoma. While the onset of this condition may be gradual and painless, its later stages often bring about debilitating symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and anxiety.

Traditionally celebrated as a powerful nausea suppressant, marijuana can provide relief to many patients undergoing treatments known to induce nausea, such as chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS medication. A significant portion of cancer patients and individuals with HIV/AIDS turn to marijuana to manage their symptoms.

Despite variations in individual reactions to different strains of marijuana, it has demonstrated efficacy in treating anxiety as well. Given the chronic nature of glaucoma, which demands ongoing attention, anxiety commonly accompanies the condition. CBD can reduce anxiety and offer hope for those dealing with the psychological effects of glaucoma.

Can cannabis help with glaucoma symptoms?

The cannabis component presents several potential avenues for managing pressure in patients with glaucoma. Extensive research on marijuana usage reveals that topicals and oral formulations demonstrate significantly more positive effects compared to smoking or intravenous administration.

Beyond merely reducing eye pressure, marijuana might also exert its therapeutic effects by acting on specific receptors by potentially offering neuroprotection against optic nerve damage.

Frequently asked questions section

Can I ask for help from a budtender when I don’t know what product to buy?

Yes. Marijuana store staff are willing to assist customers with any inquiries regarding cannabis. You can inquire about product recommendations or seek educational information on cannabis usage.

What card do I need when buying marijuana from a dispensary? 

A valid state-issued driver’s license or identification card is the most reliable proof of identity in such transactions. Some dispensaries might accept other forms of identification as well.

  • Passport book
  • A passport card
  • An active military valid ID complete with a photo and birthdate, 
  • Temporary driver’s license paperwork accompanied by a voided driver’s license

Can I pay in cash when buying marijuana online?

Cash on delivery policies vary depending on the cannabis store you select. Many online dispensaries provide payment options, such as Bitcoin or Interact e-transfer, to prioritize security and privacy for their customers. This ensures that your transactions stay safe and your personal information remains protected.