Glaucoma, Cannabis, and Medical Marijuana

Published study suggest cannabis helps ease intra-ocular pressure by 25% in glaucoma patients

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness, damaging the optic nerve, which is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain. High pressure within the eye is one of the main risk factors for this optic nerve damage.

There currently is no cure for glaucoma. Marijuana helps relieve the pressure within the eye, thus preventing damage.

Although other drugs are considered first-line glaucoma treatments, some patients and physicians have found marijuana useful when conventional drugs fail. One of the three patients who still receive medical marijuana from the federal government – Elvy Musikka – is a glaucoma patient, who also successfully argued in a Florida court case that marijuana was medically necessary to maintaining her vision.

(1) J.E. Joy, S.J. Watson, J.A. and Benson, Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base (National Academy Press, 1999).

“In a number of studies of healthy adults and glaucoma pressure, IOP (intra-ocular pressure) was reduced by an average of 25% after smoking a marijuana cigarette that contained approximately 2% THC — a reduction as good as that observed with most other medications available today.””

by the Marijuana Policy Project