Medical Marijuana and Glaucoma

Medical marijuana can lower their intraocular pressure (IOP), preventing damage to the optic nerve. Many glaucoma patients use medical cannabis because they cannot tolerate the side effects of glaucoma medications.

Eye pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Normal eye pressure ranges from 12-22 mm Hg, and eye pressure of greater than 22 mm Hg is considered higher than normal. When the IOP is higher than normal but the person does not show signs of glaucoma, this is referred to as ocular hypertension.

High eye pressure alone does not cause glaucoma. However, it is a significant risk factor. Individuals diagnosed with high eye pressure should have regular comprehensive eye examinations by an eye-care professional to check for signs of the onset of glaucoma.

Get a medical marijuana certification

Florida patients are eligible to receive a medical marijuana recommendation for Glaucoma.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of diseases in which fluid builds up in the eye. The eye constantly produces a fluid called aqueous humor, which drains out through an area called the drainage angle. This keeps pressure in the eye stable. When the drainage angle becomes blocked,  The increased pressure in the eye damages the optic nerve. As neurons in the optic nerve die, vision is affected.

There are two types of glaucoma:

Primary open-angle glaucoma – Blockage is caused by material shed by the inner eye, inflammation, or scarring from an injury or infection.

Angle-closure glaucoma –  In some people, the iris is very close to the drainage angle and eventually grows over it.

High blood pressure contributes to glaucoma when it causes the capillaries of the eye to release more fluid than normal into the eyeball.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S.

Glaucoma is often hereditary and does not appear until after the age of 60, but it can be present in young people and even in newborn babies.

Vision loss from glaucoma cannot be restored. Early detection and treatment can prevent vision loss. Glaucoma is treated with  medication to lower pressure in the eye, and in some cases, with surgery. Once diagnosed with glaucoma, you will need treatment for the rest of your life.

Symptoms of Glaucoma

Most people with open-angle glaucoma do not notice any symptoms until they begin to develop blind spots in their side vision.

People with angle-closure glaucoma sometimes experience a sudden, acute attack, with severe pain in the eye or forehead, redness in the eye, headache, blurred vision, and nausea. This is a medical emergency requiring immediate attention.

Regular eye exams are important to detect glaucoma in its early stages.

The treatment for glaucoma is to somehow get the intraocular pressure down within the globe of the eye. It just so happens that one of the many virtues of cannabis is that it has the capability of decreasing intraocular pressure… Cannabis is a very effective way, used properly, to decrease the pressure within the eye and to preserve this wonderful retina back here that transcribes all the visual sights into the brain.

– Thomas Orvald, MD

How medical marijuana helps with Glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of the most common conditions treated with medical marijuana. Some people cannot tolerate the side effects of medications prescribed for glaucoma, which include palpitations, tachycardia, and altered mental status.

During the 1970s, it was discovered that marijuana lowers IOP. However, the effect wore off after three or four hours. Today’s medical marijuana products have longer-lasting effects.

The structures of the eye have cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, which respond to THC and other cannabinoids in medical marijuana.

Researchers believe that the compounds in medical cannabis stimulate microcirculation and reduce inflammation in the eye. Medical marijuana also lowers blood pressure and improves circulation..

Get medical marijuana for Glaucoma

Now Florida patients can use the alternative medical marijuana treatment to help with Glaucoma.

External Resources

Please click on the following links below to learn more about Glaucoma.

Further Reading

Please click on the following links below to read more about Glaucoma and medical marijuana.


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