What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is caused by a group of conditions that damage the optic nerve. Glaucoma is considered to be common, with over 200,000 new diagnosis every year in the United States alone. The condition usually involves an increase of pressure in the eyeball, which causes the loss of sight gradually in those effected. The increased pressure is caused by a build up of fluid in the eyeball from overproduction of the fluid or the drainage system failing to function properly.
According to Mayo Clinic, this condition is the leading cause of blindness in those over the age of 60. This condition can occur at any age and is treatable when early interventions are made. There are several types of glaucoma and varying symptoms can include eye pain, headaches, nausea, blurry vision, tunnel vision and patchy blind spots. It is important to have regular eye exams to detect the conditions. Health problems like diabetes or high blood pressure and family history are all risk factors that increase the chances of developing glaucoma.
What is CBD? What Does it do in the Body?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid compound found in the hemp plant. It isn’t psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t adversely effect mental processes. With therapeutic dosing, people don’t risk the potentially serious side effects associated with many other medications. Cannabidiol interacts with a physiological system in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS works to create and maintain homeostasis, or internal balance, within the body. The ECS utilizes cannabinoids to fuel itself, interacting with two receptors: CB-1 and CB-2. CBD is highly effective as it can be utilized with both receptors, unlike other cannabinoids. The ECS works to balance mood, immune functions, sleep patterns, pain management and cognitive functions.
How can CBD Support with Glaucoma?
There have been decades of studies that indicate that cannabinoids are an effective treatment for this condition. A study in 1979 found that the inhalation of whole plant cannabis lowered the intraocular pressure (IOP) in the eyeballs of individuals with open-angle glaucoma. Another finding was the blood pressure lowered in these individuals, especially if they had high blood pressure to begin with. The results lasted between 3-4 hours. The same group of researchers teamed up with additional colleagues in 1980 noting that the blood pressure and IOP drop occurred within 60 to 90 minutes of inhalation. With concerns of the psychoactive effects of marijuana, many ophthalmologists are resistant to marijuana use, especially through smoking. Smoking has shown unstable intraocular pressure, which can lead to further damage or increase the rate of vision loss. Doctors are also concerned with the frequency an individual needs to use cannabis in order to maintain lowered IOP, which could lead to a use disorder or dependence.
CBD is very effective in interacting with the cannabinoid receptors in the eyeball. Glaucoma is associated with the loss of retinal ganglion cells (RCG), even when IOP has been decreased. Studies show that CBD prevents the death of RCG cells, slowing the progression of the condition. Additionally, CBD decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines and increased the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines.. With neuroprotective benefits and the powerful capability to reduce inflammation in the eye, cannabidiol has sparked the interest of researchers to discover more effects on those suffering with glaucoma.