Marijuana for Glaucoma, any validity for this?

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by Vic Martinez, Nov 21, 2003.

  1. Vic Martinez

    Vic Martinez Guest

    .....or is this just an excuse for these people wanting to get 'high'?
    Who started this 'recommendation' for this particular condition? Just
    curious about this, I don't want to see anyone suffer, and if smoking
    'weed' helps their condition I say let 'em use it in the privacy of
    their home. I also read that Marijuana is also helpful for patients
    undergoing chemotherapy. I don't know about that, but in College it just
    made me hungry.
    Vic Martinez, Nov 21, 2003
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  2. Vic Martinez

    LarryDoc Guest

    Aside from the politics of marijuana, if you want to discuss the medical
    uses of marijuana, there are plenty of studies that support the
    treatment effects. Here's info about glaucoma and cannabis and
    somethiing that happened in my office:

    THC, one of the chemicals present in cannabis, can have a marked effect
    in lowering the intraocular pressure in people with open angle glaucoma.
    It also appears to have a neuro-protective effect in that there is an
    increased blood flow to the sensory retina. It is no significant effect
    on normal eye pressure and is not clinically effective in treating
    closed angle glaudoma. (That means it might lower the pressure, but not
    enough to matter.) It does not necessarily provide the same lowering
    effect for all persons at all times. And the same applies to any
    pharmaceutical treatment. Whether or not is legal, it is probably not a
    good treatment because the dose and associated effect is not always
    predictable and most of us like to monitor drug-protection effect and
    adjust dosage to appropriate levels to keep the eye healthly.

    Here's an interesting case:

    50ish male, regular but "light", but consistent user of marijuana.
    Measured pressures, year after year over 10 years were within the normal
    range. Last year, optic nerve looked somewhat suspicious with larger
    than previously noted cupping. Pressures still fine, visual fields
    normal so I let it go. This year, pressure measured clearly in the
    gluacoma range, optic nerve looked significant for glaucoma and there
    was a slight visual field loss. So I ask: has there been anything
    different in your life-style lately. (Trying to be subtle about asking
    about his drug use.) His reply was that he started on high-blood
    pressure meds and quit smoking the weed about six months prior to the

    So I asked if he'd smoke a little and come back in for a pressure test
    the following morning. Pressure measured normal! Checked later in the
    day, it was a little higher but still within the normal range. Checked
    the next day and it was higher still, but not alarming. Checked the
    following day and it was seriously elevated.

    Here's an example of someone who was successfully, albeit unknowingly
    treating his own glaucoma. But he stopped, and that resulted in damage
    to his retina and a slight loss of vision. He did, by the way, choose
    standard Western medical treatment for his glaucoma condition because he
    did not want to rely on cannabis for treatment-----a good choice in my
    opinion, for reasons I wrote earlier.

    I had two other patients that used cannabis to control eye pressure. One
    was quite successful for many years (and then we lost contact) and the
    other was not and ultimately chose appropriate prescribed


    Dr. Larry Bickford, O.D.
    Family Practice Eye Health & Vision Care

    The Eyecare Connection
    larrydoc at m a c.c o m
    LarryDoc, Nov 22, 2003
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  3. Oh, so you guys are selling marijuana now? USP, or street quality? Do
    you deliver?
    Richard Schumacher, Nov 22, 2003
  4. Richard Schumacher, Nov 22, 2003
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