Along with the ringing in of the new year, Glaucoma Awareness Month is upon us once again. Marijuana Doctor would like to take this opportunity to make Floridians aware of the fact that glaucoma is one of the qualifying conditions for a Florida medical marijuana card.
Many Florida glaucoma patients are turning to medical marijuana to help them alleviate their condition and deal with its symptoms including pain and nausea that sometimes accompany advanced cases of glaucoma.
What is glaucoma?
Often called the "silent thief of sight", this condition is the number one cause of blindness in the U.S. The number of glaucoma cases in the U.S. is greater than three million. Moreover, more than 120,000 Americans have lost their sight to glaucoma.
Glaucoma is actually a neurodegenerative disease. It has been connected to other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. In fact, one out of four Alzheimer’s patients will contract glaucoma. Many glaucoma patients also suffer from other eye diseases such as cataracts or macular degeneration.
This disease of the human eye is characterized by excessive pressure of fluids within the eyeball which can cause permanent damage to the optic nerve. This, in turn, can potentially lead to total blindness.
Although the condition is not curable, its progression can be slowed or stopped if caught early enough. In fact, over the past few decades, the risk of blindness from glaucoma has been cut nearly in half.
How medical marijuana is helping glaucoma patients keep their eyesight
Studies dating back to the 1970s suggest that the active components of cannabis might slow the progression of the disease by lowering the pressure of the fluid within the eyeball.
Although it’s not fully understood how medical marijuana helps to temporarily reduce eye pressure, it is known that the tissues that are responsible for regulating eye pressure have an abundance of cannabinoid receptors.
Another less direct route by which cannabinoids affect eye pressure is the ability of these compounds to modulate the production and uptake of a naturally occurring human endocannabinoid known as anandamide which has also been shown to play a role in regulating eye pressure.
Cannabinoids and glaucoma
Marijuana produces several distinct cannabinoid compounds. One cannabinoid, in particular, known as cannabidiol, or CBD, has been shown to temporarily reduce intraocular pressure. However, many experts believe that THC, the intoxicating cannabinoid produced in marijuana can also play a role in addressing neurodegeneration.
For patients who would rather limit their THC intake, low-THC, high-CBD marijuana strains offer a safe and effective alternative to the usual high-THC strains. Alternatively, THC-free, hemp-derived CBD oil can be purchased online without a medical marijuana card.
Other ways medical marijuana helps glaucoma patients
It’s also important to point out that in the advanced stages of glaucoma, patients can experience symptoms such as pain and nausea, two conditions that are likewise commonly treated with medical marijuana. Moreover, the human endocannabinoid system, or ECS, plays a vital role in neuron health throughout the body.
Be aware that most experts in eye health view cannabis therapy as an adjunct to standard treatments for glaucoma — such as medications and surgery — and not as a replacement.
More studies are needed to determine just how medical marijuana use affects eye pressure and neural health, and to determine the role it may play in cutting the incidence of glaucoma, slowing its progression, and preventing blindness.
Getting a Florida medical marijuana card for glaucoma
Glaucoma patients who are interested in using marijuana are strongly advised to seek the counsel of a medical marijuana doctor who is experienced in the use of cannabis by glaucoma patients.
Making an appointment with one of MarijuanaDoctor.com’s board-certified physicians is simple. Schedule a risk-free in-person appointment online at www.MarijuanaDoctor.com or by calling us at (844) 442-0362.
Our board-certified physicians will evaluate a migraine patient to determine if the patient qualifies for a Florida medical marijuana card. And our helpful staff of Patient Care Specialists will also assist the patient in registering with the Florida Department of Health and locating nearby medical treatment centers (MMTC).
Once a patient receives a Florida medical marijuana card, they can consult the experts at their local dispensary to determine the most appropriate options for strains, products, and delivery methods for their condition and lifestyle.