How medical marijuana has a positive impact on glaucoma
Medical marijuana has helped people suffering from glaucoma for centuries, but recent research allows us to understand why we experience relief.
In studies such as: Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Glaucoma and lectures by David Pate, PHd, MSc, he suggests that the cannabinoid receptors in the eye (and he lists four), when bound to THC and other cannabinoids found in medical marijuana can arrest and reverse intraocular pressure and degradation to the eye. Through our CB1 receptor, medical cannabis helps to promote ‘drainage of aqueous humor and eliminate nerve damage progression’, according to Dr. Pate. Research as early as the 70’s suggests patients suffering from glaucoma and experience severe intraocular pressure or progressive blindness could greatly benefit from medical cannabis ingestion of some form.
The following is an abstract from the research:
The leading cause of irreversible blindness is glaucoma, a disease normally characterized by the development of ocular hypertension and consequent damage to the optic nerve at its point of retinal attachment. This results in a narrowing of the visual field, and eventually results in blindness. A number of drugs are available to lower intraocular pressure (IOP), but, occasionally, they are ineffective or have intolerable side-effects for some patients and can lose efficacy with chronic administration. The smoking of marijuana has decreased IOP in glaucoma patients. Cannabinoid drugs, therefore, are thought to have significant potential for pharmaceutical development. However, as the mechanism surrounding their effect on IOP initially was thought to involve the CNS, issues of psychoactivity hindered progress. The discovery of ocular cannabinoid receptors implied an explanation for the induction of hypotension by topical cannabinoid applications, and has stimulated a new phase of ophthalmic cannabinoid research. Featured within these investigations is the possibility that at least some cannabinoids may ameliorate optic neuronal damage through suppression of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor hyperexcitability, stimulation of neural microcirculation, and the suppression of both apoptosis and damaging free radical reactions, among other mechanisms. Separation of therapeutic actions from side-effects now seems possible through a diverse array of novel chemical, pharmacological, and formulation strategies.
Since 1976, Elvy Musikka, has been using medical marijuana to treat her glaucoma. The US Government is growing medical marijuana for her as part of the IND Program because of her glaucoma. Elvy’s doctor told her that if she did not use marijuana to relieve her glaucoma she would go blind. After first eating brownies, and shortly thereafter began other methods of ingestion, including smoking it as hashish, she began to experience an unmatched relief and has been able to continue medicating, and continue to maintain a much better quality of life.
Elvy was the first female patient in the program but the first participant of the program, Robert Randall, was able to receive medical marijuana from the Government because he found on his own that medicating helped relieve his glaucoma symptoms.
Through his efforts, people like Elvy can continue to this day to maintain a better quality of life through the use of medical marijuana to treat their symptoms.