Recent statistics have shown that by 2020 alone, 80 million people have or had glaucoma at some point in their life. It is a sneaky condition that shows itself only when permanent blindness sets in so it is important to get regular eye appointments and monitor one’s IOP.
The condition is characterized by a high IOP so glaucoma can be treated by lowering it. Early research has proven that inhaled cannabis is effective in managing IOP levels but do cannabis components such as CBD imitate the same effects? CBD has many benefits but is it the answer? In this article we discuss what glaucoma is, how CBD oil might help alleviate some risk factors of glaucoma, and how can we use it.
So, without further delay, let’s get right into it!
CBD Oil and Glaucoma - What Is ‘Intraocular Pressure’ (IOP) and Why Does It Matter?
Our eyes are filled with a clear fluid called the aqueous humor which lubricates the inside and outside of the eye; it provides nourishment to the eye and also exerts pressure that keeps our eyes inflated. The measure of this pressure is called the IOP. During the day our IOP remains relatively steady because the fluid can flow into and drain out of the eyes easily; 10-20 mm HG is the normal range for the IOP in a healthy human.
Having normal eye pressure matters because it ensures that our eyes retain their shape that in turn safeguards the millions of optic nerves working in the eye. Essentially, a healthy IOP is crucial for healthy eyes and vision. Consequently, major fluctuations in the eye pressure level are an indicator of something being wrong with our eyes.
What is Glaucoma?
Symptoms and Risk Factors of Glaucoma
Glaucoma has been reported to be the leading cause of permanent blindness worldwide. Some people may show little to no symptoms before its onset and they can vary greatly among individuals. Symptoms may include:
- Blurry vision or loss of vision
- High eye pressure
- Seeing “halos” in the eyes under bright lights
- Redness in the eyes
- Eye pain
Although research shows that some people do not experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, not even a high IOP, anyone might suffer from this condition. Other causes that lead to glaucoma are still unknown but what we do know is that some people may be at a higher risk than others to suffer from it. Risk factors may include:
- Family history of glaucoma
- High blood pressure
- Aged 40 years and over
- Previous injuries to the eye
- Hypertension Myopic or “near-sighted”
What is CBD?
Cannabis has two components: Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is extracted from cannabis and does not have any psychoactive effects like THC. It is used to make CBD based products such as CBD oil and it has been proven to improve many medical conditions such as epilepsy, pain, seizures, and anxiety.
Does CBD Help With Glaucoma?
Studies in the 1970s revealed that inhaling cannabis showed a reduction in IOP which increased the popularity of medical cannabis among glaucoma patients; it was found that THC was responsible for this effect. But, THC lowered IOP only for about 3-4 hours and people were not fond of the psychoactive effects that it had because it hindered them from doing their daily business.
When the research was carried out on what effect does CBD have on IOP, it was revealed that CBD does not affect IOP levels if it is administered at a dosage lesser than 40 mg. However, more research is being carried out on the matter to determine why that happens. There isn’t much evidence that supports CBD oils use to directly treat glaucoma by lowering IOP but it has been proven that CBD oil improves symptoms and reduces risk factors associated with the condition. It helps to alleviate aspects that would aggravate glaucoma and hence, it is effective in indirectly helping glaucoma. Following are some examples of how CBD may be good for glaucoma:
CBD and High Blood Pressure
May Reduce Inflammation and Relieve Symptoms of Diabetes
Being diabetic means the person has insulin resistance. This contributes to chronic inflammation of the blood vessels in the eyes, constricting blood flow and hence, increasing blood pressure. Research has shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties which can act reduce the chances of developing glaucoma considerably.
Reduces Chronic Pain
How Much CBD Oil Should I Take For Glaucoma?
If used in the right quantity it can prove to alleviate many risk factors, such as high blood pressure, glaucoma, and even other diseases. However, every person is unique and people might have a different reaction to CBD oil so its dosage may vary; the percentage/concentration of CBD oil, one’s body weight, chemistry, tolerance, and severity of symptoms all determine the dosage one might take.
You should always start small with 10 mg and then slowly increase your dosage. On average dosage of 25 mg may be suitable for a majority of people and a dosage greater than 40 mg should be avoided. It is advised to keep a record of your symptoms such as IOP and blood pressure and then vary your dosage respectively.
How To Use CBD Oil For Glaucoma?
CBD For Glaucoma in Dogs
Glaucoma has many types and it is not only restricted to humans; dogs also can suffer from this eye condition. Glaucoma works the same way in dogs as it works in humans but there is little research on the effects CBD oil has on dogs with glaucoma. Studies in 2018 and 2019 showed that when dogs with osteoarthritis were given CBD, it considerably reduced their pain, inflammation, and increased mobility. Epileptic dogs that were given CBD experienced a significant reduction in seizures. But, because research is limited, it is difficult to give a verdict on whether CBD oil works for dogs with glaucoma, although it is pretty safe to administer.
Dogs can take CBD orally in the form of oils, creams, or capsules but again, there is limited research to give an accurate statement. Dogs that were treated for osteoarthritis and epilepsy were given 2 mg CBD for every kg of body weight. Just like for humans, dosage for dogs should be started with small amounts. And it is crucial to remember that CBD oil for dogs is not regulated so there is no correct way or amount to give it to dogs.
CBD oil does not affect IOP levels when taken in doses lesser than 40 mg so it does not cure glaucoma in any way. But, it has shown considerable effects on reducing symptoms and alleviating risk factors that are associated with the condition.
Due to its vaso-relaxant and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD oil may help with glaucoma. Also, CBD is non-intoxicating hence it is safe for regular use in terms of the fact that it won’t impact your judgment or actions. Although, there is little research on the matter and new studies are being carried out to explore more about the impacts CBD oil has on glaucoma.
FAQ’s About CBD Oil for Glaucoma
Question: Is CBD oil good for glaucoma?
Answer: There is little evidence to suggest that CBD oil treats glaucoma by lowering IOP but it may alleviate symptoms and reduce risk factors associated with glaucomas such as eye pains, headaches, and high blood pressure.
Question: Can CBD oil be used to treat glaucoma in dogs?
Answer: CBD oil has been shown to reduce pain, inflammation, and seizures in dogs with osteoarthritis and epilepsy but there is limited research on its effects on dogs with glaucoma.
Question: Does CBD oil alleviate eye inflammation?
Answer: There is considerable evidence to suggest that CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties so it may help reduce eye inflammation.
Question: Does CBD make glaucoma worse?
Answer: A recent animal study found that CBD increased intraocular pressure in mice, however, animal models can sometimes be misleading and we need more evidence to come to a definitive conclusion.