Glaucoma is an eye disease characterized by increased pressure in the eyeball, which leads to damage of the optic nerve. "Aqueous humor" is the name given to the clear fluid in the eye between the cornea and the lens.
This fluid usually drains without any problems, but sometimes the amount of fluid builds up to a point where it cannot drain properly. This fluid build-up is what causes the eye pressure to rise. Over time, the damage to the optic nerve will cause blindness. In fact, glaucoma is near the top of all medical conditions that cause blindness.
Once vision loss is complete, it cannot be reversed. Glaucoma has no warning signs and most cases come on so gradually that people are unaware of the problem until it is in an advanced stage.
Regular eye exams to measure eye pressure will often catch glaucoma in the earliest stages, before permanent damage can occur. Those with more advanced cases of glaucoma will spend the rest of their lives trying to maintain low eye pressure.
There are two types of glaucoma:
- Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common form. Eye pressure builds gradually and damage to the optic nerve is slow and steady.
- Angle-closure glaucoma is an emergency in progress. The iris blocks the drainage angle and the eye pressure rises rapidly . Eye pain, headache, blurry vision, and feeling sick to the stomach are all warning signs that one should heed and head to the ophthalmologist immediately.
Because glaucoma is not curable, the main treatment is to keep the pressure in the eyes low through the use of various medications.
Cannabis and Glaucoma
With decades of research and studies behind them, doctors can honestly say that cannabinoids do help lower eye pressure. Cannabis protects the nerve cells against damage, degeneration, or further impairment of function by dilating the blood vessels, which decreases overall blood pressure.
The endocannabinoid receptors in the eye (CB1 and CB2) form and produce the aqueous humor. Cannabinoids in cannabis, especially THC, activate the endocannabinoid receptors in eye. Cannabinoids effectively lower eye pressure.
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