So many diseases and their symptoms are being treated with medical marijuana today. With the sale and possession of medical cannabis becoming legalized in more and more states everyday, it is allowing patients to use marijuana to treat a range of ailments.
A study published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health estimates that there will be roughly 79.6 million people with glaucoma around the world by 2020. Of this nearly 80 million people, a disproportionate amount will be women. The large number of people afflicted makes glaucoma a huge target market for scientists researching ways to use cannabinoids to improve eye health.
What is Glaucoma?
Many readers may be wondering what is glaucoma? If you are already familiar with the eye condition, then skip ahead.
First, there's two major types of glaucoma. There's open angle glaucoma (a.k.a. "OAG"), and then there's angle closure glaucoma (a.k.a. "ACG"). A severe eye condition that damages the optic nerve in the eye; glaucoma reduces side vision and can eventually lead to blindness. In fact, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide.
Existing Glaucoma Treatment Options
There are several ways of treating glaucoma currently. Treatments that a ophthalmologist might prescribe can range from prescription eye drops to surgery depending on the type and severity of the glaucoma.
Medical marijuana is starting to offer these patients another treatment option before they turn to invasive procedures such as surgery.
How Cannabis Helps Glaucoma
Cannabis as a useful treatment for glaucoma is not a new idea by any means. In fact, studies have shown since the 1970's, that intra-ocular pressure can be lowered greatly in people with glaucoma by consuming marijuana.
The National Eye Institute supports this research, but the problem with cannabis as a treatment is that it seems to only lower IOP for brief periods of time. So far it seems that marijuana only lowers IOP for roughly three or 4 hours, meaning that treatment has to be repeated several times a day for the desired effects. Nevertheless, its an effective one from what we can tell currently.
Research is still being done to explore whether or not the active ingredients in cannabis are the best overall option for the treatment of glaucoma. In the meantime, many physicians find it to be a fantastic treatment, while more extensive research is done.