In a classic episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David scores some ‘chronic’ from an LA street dealer (he should have found out how to get a medical marijuana card in California!) and ends up getting very, very high with his dad. The ensuing hilarious, tripped-out bathroom conversation between Larry and the bathroom mirror image of himself is a classic moment in American comedy history. The catalyst for picking up the weed in the first place was his desire to ease his old man’s painful glaucoma. But does medical cannabis really help glaucoma? And if so, how?
Medical Cannabis History
Marijuana has been used for medicinal purposes for many thousands of years. The oldest records of weed being used in classical medicine come from a book written by the Chinese emperor Shen Nung in 2,737 BC (I wonder if they needed a medical cannabis card back then?). There is also extensive evidence that the plant was used for its healing qualities in ancient Greek, Indian, Assyrian, Egyptian, African, South American and Roman cultures.
Unfortunately, in the 20th century cannabis became demonized and was banned by the powers that be throughout the United States, and so it was no longer possible for most people to enjoy its medicinal benefits. Thankfully, the draconian anti-cannabis laws are now being lifted in many US states such as California. So if you have a California medical marijuana card, you can avail of this wonder-plant’s healing properties once again. This is great news for glaucoma sufferers.
Glaucoma is a chronic medical condition that many people, doctors, scientists and laypeople believe can be considerably helped by the use of marijuana. Lots of people use their 420 card to help them cope with this painful disease.
Glaucoma is an eye condition which affects 60-80 million people worldwide. It is an often painful disease that leads to reduced side vision and, in a sizable minority of cases, ultimately leads to blindness. It is the second leading cause of blindness in the world.
Glaucoma is caused when a buildup of intraocular pressure (IOP) damages the optic nerve over time. IOP is created when either too much aqueous humor fluid (the watery fluid that fills both the anterior and the posterior chambers of the eye) is produced, or when there is decreased outflow of aqueous humor fluid, usually due to a blockage.
There is no cure for glaucoma as of yet, and lost vision cannot be regained. Surgical procedures and medicines can halt further loss of vision but they cannot end the disease. The condition usually creeps in slowly and often goes undetected for years. The patient may unconsciously compensate for the, at first subtle, loss of peripheral vision by turning the head to the side. For this reason, by the time the condition has been discovered, significant loss of sight may have occurred.
Treatment of Glaucoma
Treatments that lower pressure within the eye can relieve the pain of glaucoma, as well as lowering the risk of developing optic nerve damage in the first place, or worsening existing damage.
THC, the principal psychoactive cannabinoid in medical cannabis, has been shown in many studies conducted from the early 1970s up until 2016 to temporarily lower IOP by 25-30%, for up to 4 hours.
Glaucoma is a painful disease that can do a lot of irreversible damage, so anything that can reduce IOP and therefore keep the disease at bay, without having too many negative side effects, is definitely a good thing. Medical cannabis will both ease the pain in the present moment and reduce damage to the optic nerve and retina from chronic IOP. This is a good reason to get a medical card online.
Medical Cannabis and Glaucoma
Many people turn to medical cannabis as a last resort after surgical and pharmaceutical treatments have proven ineffective. As well as the large body of scientific research that shows that cannabis lowers IOP, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence from patients worldwide who swear by the soothing effects of marijuana on their glaucoma. Many people do not want to have to take synthetic drugs long-term, and so the advantage of marijuana is that it is a natural remedy. Also, conventional drugs tend to have an array of side effects, some a little unpleasant. Many people prefer the relatively benign (and often very enjoyable!) side effects of medical cannabis such as:
- Psychotropic effects including euphoria
- Mildly increased heart rate at onset
- Increased appetite
- Disruption of short-term memory
- Cognitive impairment
- A distorted sense of time
- Reduced coordination
- An increased enjoyment for music and art
- A more acute appreciation of beauty
- A more ‘sensitive’ sense of humor
- Some fascinating insights into the problems and issues of your everyday life
In conclusion, I think it is fair to say that cannabis really can help glaucoma – both by easing the pain and by possibly preventing the disease from developing further. So if you or anyone you know is suffering with glaucoma, get a weed license online and see if it works for you.