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January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

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Glaucoma is an eye condition caused by high eye pressure that affects the optic nerve. It is the leading cause of blindness for adults over the age of 60. Other high risk groups other than those over the age of 60,  include a family history of glaucoma along with various other medical conditions. These conditions include diabetes and high blood pressure. Physicians recommend regular eye screenings for those at risk, as there are often no early symptoms of most types of glaucoma. Unfortunately blindness induced by Glaucoma is an irreversible condition. However, if it noticed in its early stages, prevention and slowing of vision loss are possible.

Types of Glaucoma

  • Chronic (Open Angle)

    • The most common type of glaucoma, where eye pressure is caused by aqueous fluid draining too slowly from the eye. There are often no symptoms.

  • Normal Tension

    • Characterized by unusual sensitivity to normal levels of pressure. This can be caused by reduced blood supply to the optic nerve.

  • Acute (Angle Closure)

    • Characterized by sudden increase in eye pressure and serious symptoms including blurred vision and severe headaches, eye pain, nausea and vomiting. Not everyone with this type of glaucoma experiences symptoms.

  • Secondary

    • The result of another eye disease or condition, such as a tumor, trauma or inflammation.

Cannabis and Glaucoma

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may help reduce pressure in the eye by dilating the blood vessels, often relieving the pain associated with glaucoma. THC also can help reduce nausea, a symptom patients experience during glaucoma attacks. Strains known for often relieving eye pressure include the indica Blueberry - also known for relieving pain and insomnia. Another strain being the sativa Maui Wowie, which is also known for potentially reducing anxiety, depression and pain. In terms of reducing pain, the sativa-dominant hybrid Jack Herer has pain, inflammation, and stress relieving effects. Durban Poison is a sativa-dominant strain that can provide relief from nausea and vomiting, while often keeping patients uplifted and energetic.

Cannabinol or CBN has been found to be another potentially helpful cannabinoid for patients with Glaucoma. CBN is a product of oxidized THC that typically occurs in only trace amounts in cannabis. As harvested cannabis ages, THC will gradually be converted to CBN. CBN is mildly psychoactive and in addition to helping with symptoms of glaucoma, is known to be particularly useful for potentially reducing pain and muscle spasms, as well as aiding sleep. CBN reduces intraocular pressure in the eye (similar to THC), so it can be used in the treatment of glaucoma without the psychoactive effects of THC. CBN is synergistic with THC for treatment purposes.

**It is important to note that everyone reacts to strains differently, and a consultation with a medical professional or medical consultant is recommended before beginning a new form of treatment.

Sources:

Glaucoma - Mayo Clinic

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glaucoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20372839

Glaucoma - Medical Marijuana Research Overview

https://www.marijuanadoctors.com/conditions/glaucoma/

Prevent Blindness - Different Types of Glaucoma

https://www.preventblindness.org/what-are-different-types-glaucoma

Leafly - What is CBN and What Are the Benefits of this Cannabinoid

https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/what-is-cbn-and-what-are-the-benefits-of-this-cannabinoid

BioSpace - Exploring the Lesser Cannabinoids - The Happy Accident of CBN

https://www.biospace.com/article/releases/exploring-the-lesser-cannabinoids-the-happy-accident-of-cbn/