CONSIDERING IF MARIJUANA CAN BE USED TO TREAT GLAUCOMA
For a moment, consider that an estimated 3 million Americans suffer from glaucoma, a condition of the optic nerve that can eventually lead to blindness (if not treated). Now, consider that nearly 60 million people suffer from this condition around the world. Since 1980, surgeons have improved techniques for treating this unfortunate problem, but the lineup of drugs used to alleviate or heal this eye condition remain severely trimmed down. However, in multiple states across the U.S., glaucoma just so happens to be one of the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana patients. As a result, many members of the cannabis community have attempted to obtain the little green plant for treatment. Should they do this, though? How in the world can a little green plant treat glaucoma? Let’s take a closer look and find out what the experts have to say.
It Started in the ‘70s
As far back as the 1970s, scientists have proven that the cannabis plant can, in fact, suppress the symptoms of glaucoma due to one simple fact. Marijuana lowers intraocular pressure (IOP) and possesses neuroprotective qualities. As an example, consider a study in 1971 (the first of its kind at the time), where researches proved that, once glaucoma patients consumed cannabis, their IOP was drastically reduced from 25% to 30%. However, despite the proof from this study, optometrists and ophthalmologists are still wary of showing support for the little green plant and for good reason (on certain fronts).
One of the main issues doctors have with cannabis is the simple fact that smoking (no matter what you put in the pipe) can cause severe health problems down the road. Likewise, the plant’s effects on glaucoma do not last long.
What about the Future?
Our endocannabinoid system is one of the most important aspects of our bodies, as it maintains equilibrium as well as health. All aspects of our systems from immune response to pain modulation are controlled by this invaluable neural network. Even more interesting, our cannabinoid receptors (which directly interact with marijuana’s cannabinoids) are directly linked to eye health. According to scientists, two particular agonists (WIN 55212-2 and anandamide), CBD, and CBG might be ideal chemicals to synthesize for future glaucoma medication.
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