Specialists Reject Cannabis and CBD as Treatments for Glaucoma

Glaucoma and Marijuana: What Ophthalmologists Want You to Know | University  of Utah HealthGlaucoma poses a significant threat to eyesight if left undetected and untreated. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, approximately 10% of the general U.S. population is affected by this genetically influenced condition, with a higher prevalence among African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.

Dr. Charles Hill, chief of ophthalmology at DeKalb Medical Center in Decatur, Ga., and glaucoma specialist and diabetic eye care, says the main risk factor of this disease is increased pressure on the fluid inside the eye, damaging the optic nerve.

Dr. Hill says symptoms can include seeing halos around lights, the gradual loss of peripheral vision, and partial or total loss of sight.

Floridians can turn to medical marijuana as a treatment for glaucoma. But Dr. Hill and cannabis expert Dr. Jordan Tishler, a distinguished faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Mass General Brigham, recommend against using marijuana to help alleviate “intraocular pressure” caused by glaucoma.

While cannabis does reduce eye pressure, both doctors say its effect is short-lived.

“You would need to smoke or otherwise ingest cannabis every two hours to keep the pressure low, even during the middle of the night,” says Dr. Tishler, who’s also the founder and president of the Association of Cannabinoid Specialists (www.cannaspecialists.org) and is an adviser to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. He added that using Cannabidiol (CBD) is not an alternative either because it increases intraocular pressure.

Both doctors strongly advise seeing a glaucoma specialist immediately to determine the type and best treatment option. Dr. Hill says treatment options range from topical drops to oral medications to different types of lasers to surgery.

People with glaucoma who suffer from another qualifying condition may still be treated with medical cannabis, says Dr. Tishler, but the exception is CBD.

Visit https://bit.ly/MMERIJanuary2024  to watch MMERI’s Conversations on Cannabis Virtual Forum featuring Drs. Charles Hill and Jordan Tishler discuss “Cannabis as a potential treatment for Glaucoma.”



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