Glaucoma is one of many health concerns that causes a significant amount of pain in those diagnosed with the condition. With CBD’s potential uses currently being researched for many conditions, people may be curious about whether CBD may help soothe their glaucoma symptoms.
Is CBD safe for people who have glaucoma? Or is it causing more harm than good? Today, we will cover what we know so far about CBD and Glaucoma.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is an eye-related injury that tends to happen naturally. The exact cause of glaucoma depends on which type of glaucoma develops in the eye, but we will talk about causes in a moment. For now, let's focus on what glaucoma is and how it affects people's vision.
Inside the eyes, there is something known as the optic nerve, which directly connects the eyes and the brain. Glaucoma is the result of damage to the optic nerve. As you can imagine, damage to the optic nerve can affect your visual abilities because it disrupts the connection between the eyes and the brain.
Damage is a very broad term, but when it comes to glaucoma-related damage to the optic nerve, damage refers to an excess of inner eye fluid. It's normal to have a healthy amount of fluid in the eyes, but it is a cause for concern when too much fluid builds up.
As the fluid continues to collect in the eye, it creates a lot of abnormal pressure. As a result, this pressure puts a strain on the optic nerve, which slowly damages the nerve over time. In more severe cases, glaucoma can cause total blindness.
Are There Any Known Causes of Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition that has been studied since 1862, and over the years, a lot has been uncovered regarding the cause of glaucoma. There are two different causes of glaucoma. To differentiate between these two causes, health professionals have categorized glaucoma into two distinct types.
The two types of glaucoma are:
- Closed-angle glaucoma
- Primary open-angle glaucoma
This type of glaucoma is also known as narrow-angle glaucoma when the iris is situated too close to the drainage angle. The drainage angle is basically the exit for fluid to leave the eye, which prevents a build-up of liquid from occurring.
When the iris is too close to the drainage angle, the fluid cannot drain out of the eye at a healthy rate, so there ends up being a back-up of fluid. As a result, the fluid paired with the off-centered iris leads to a lot of pressure in the eye. Eventually, the drainage angle will become entirely closed off, resulting in serious pressure that cannot be eliminated on its own.
This is a dangerous circumstance because it leads to a nearly instantaneous spike in eye pressure, which warrants immediate attention from ophthalmologists. This type of glaucoma can result in total blindness, especially if treatment is not sought out right away.
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
Primary open-angle glaucoma is the slower-moving type of glaucoma. Similar to closed-angle glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma results from too much pressure in the eye because the drainage angle is blocked.
However, with primary open-angle glaucoma, the pressure isn’t caused by the placement of the iris. Instead, glaucoma arises gradually and quietly due to genetics.
The Many Different Glaucoma Symptoms
Glaucoma creates a plethora of undesirable symptoms. The most noticeable side effect of glaucoma is the discomfort patients feel from the build-up of pressure in their eyes. The pressure against the optic nerve is hard to ignore, especially because many other unwanted symptoms result from the pressure.
In addition to eye pressure, a few examples of other glaucoma symptoms include:
- Red irritated eyes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Eye pain and dryness
- Dizziness or fainting spells
- Difficulty seeing clearly
- Blurred vision and myopia
- Total blindness in one or both eyes
- Intense headaches and migraines
- Physical pain in the eye socket
- Odd reflections of light in the visual field
- Seeing rainbows that aren't there
CBD and Glaucoma
When diagnosed with a condition such as glaucoma, it is human nature to seek a cure for health concerns. However, when considering CBD, it is essential to remember that CBD is not a cure, and research around CBD and Glaucoma is only in the early stages.
There is, however, ongoing research on the topic of Glaucoma and CBD. Recently published studies show mixed results around Glaucoma-related symptoms such as intraocular pressure (IOP). For example, in this study conducted on mice, CBD was found to increase intraocular pressure, which is not considered beneficial to Glaucoma.
A pilot study published around cannabinoids and intraocular pressure found that a dose of around 20 mg CBD did not reduce IOP, but at a 40 mg dose, found that CBD produced “a transient increase of IOP.” Interestingly, the same study found that THC lowered intraocular pressure.
Some studies suggest that cannabinoids may work with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) for therapeutic benefits. For example, this study states that “Increasing evidence suggests that modulation of the endocannabinoid system may show potential for the treatment of glaucoma. Administration of cannabinoids in experimental models can lower IOP and reduce RGC (Retinal Ganglion Cell) loss.”
However, the study also found that “a better understanding of the components of the ECS, their tissue-specific expression, and the functional role of the ocular ECS is still lacking.” This information will be essential in the future to developing treatments that may help with glaucoma.
So does CBD help with glaucoma or glaucoma symptoms? The research is just not there yet. Cannabinoids show potential for interacting with the ocular endocannabinoid system, but preliminary research indicates that CBD may increase intraocular pressure.
Other conditions related to glaucoma that may be helped by CBD include pain. CBD has shown promising results in recent studies around pain. In some animal studies, CBD has also shown promise for future treatment of various digestive issues.
Overall, If you have Glaucoma and are considering adding CBD to your routine, talk to your doctor before you begin. CBD may interact with certain medications and treatments.
CBD Safety 101: Is CBD Safe?
CBD is an all-natural substance extracted from hemp. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated in humans, and no physical dependence effects have been reported. Much more research is needed into the long-term side effects of CBD.
If you have any kind of health condition or disease, keep in mind that CBD may interact with certain medications, so always speak to your doctor if you are currently on medication. If you would like more information about CBD, possible side effects, and medication interactions, please visit the FDA’s website to learn more.
Can CBD Oil be used for Glaucoma Symptoms?
All in all, CBD may help people with glaucoma symptoms manage their pain levels. It’s essential to consult with your ophthalmologist. Your eye doctor is best equipped to assist you in weighing the pros and cons of CBD for glaucoma.
If your ophthalmologist ends up recommending CBD for you, consider purchasing your CBD products from Strength of Hope! You can find many different CBD products in our online store, ranging from CBD oils and creams to balms and sprays.
Our CBD Oil and Mints are great to add to a full-body self-care routine and are a simple way to see how CBD works for you. We also have an in-depth blog on our mints for those curious to learn more about this tasty option.
For those who prefer a topical option, our CBD Roll-On is great for relaxation and may help with tension headaches. It’s also perfect for those looking for relief from sore muscles and joints after a long day.
Our CBD products are formulated with natural plant extracts and soothing essential oils and are great for dissolving tension.