Glaucoma is an eye condition in which the optic nerve becomes damaged over time, first reducing peripheral vision before possibly leading to total blindness. One cause of optic nerve damage in glaucoma is higher-than-normal eye pressure (intraocular pressure or IOP). In Maryland and Delaware, medical marijuana is recognized as a treatment option for glaucoma by the state. It is one of several qualifying conditions that allow you access to medical cannabis.
If you have been diagnosed with glaucoma and are interested in obtaining medical marijuana, schedule an appointment with one of our Maryland or Delaware MMJ doctors to see if it is right for you.
What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S. with more than 3 million people suffering from the illness. There are two types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. Each has its own unique symptoms. Let’s look at both to understand how medical marijuana can help with glaucoma.
Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma
Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is the most common type of glaucoma. POAG is a slow progressing form of glaucoma. It happens gradually; where the eye does not drain fluid as well as it should (like a clogged drain). As a result, eye pressure builds and starts to damage the optic nerve. This type of glaucoma is painless and causes no vision changes at first.
Some people have optic nerves that are sensitive to even normal eye pressure. So, they would be at even greater risk for nerve damage from glaucoma.
Angle-closure glaucoma occurs when someone’s iris is located very close to the drainage angle in their eye. This can result in the iris blocking the drainage angle of the eye. When the drainage angle is completely blocked the pressure in the eye can increase dramatically.
Many people with angle-closure glaucoma develop it slowly. This is called chronic angle-closure glaucoma. There are no symptoms at first, so they don’t know they have it until the damage is severe or they have an attack.
Current Glaucoma Treatments
Unfortunately, glaucoma is a chronic condition that has no cure. However, there are traditional pharmaceutical treatments that are given for glaucoma. Depending upon the type and progression of the glaucoma, many may receive pills or eye drops to control pressure. Some glaucoma patients may require surgery to make a new opening for fluid to escape their eye, or laser trabeculoplasty to lightly burn and stretch the drainage holes.
There are many different topical prescriptions used in treatment. The eye drops work by either decreasing fluid production or increasing fluid outflow in the eye.
There are severe cases of glaucoma where both medications and surgical options are not effective in reducing eye pressure. Ultimately, in these types of cases a patient will progress towards blindness.
Medical Marijuana For Glaucoma
Like traditional medications, medical marijuana does not cure glaucoma. However, it can help with some of the symptoms associated with glaucoma. Marijuana can create a 25 percent IOP reduction in 60 to 65 percent of people with or without glaucoma. What exactly causes this within cannabis is unknown. Some studies have shown medical marijuana can reduce IOP for up to four hours.
It also may act as a neuroprotectant, which potentially inhibits the advancement of glaucoma. Patients who are looking to help treat their symptoms from glaucoma should dose themselves every few hours to ensure consistent relief.
Reducing Glaucoma Symptoms With Medical Marijuana
There are many symptoms for glaucoma, but some of the most common symptoms include pain, anxiety, headaches, blurred vision, nausea, and vomiting. Medical marijuana has properties that can help treat or relieve many of these symptoms. Medical marijuana is a great alternative if you have tried the traditional glaucoma treatments and you feel as if you need something more. It can help you find relief from your everyday symptoms without bringing on any additional unwanted side-effects.
Let us look at them to see how it can help with some of the most common symptoms of glaucoma.
One of the most common things medical marijuana is used to treat is chronic pain. Many use medical cannabis for chronic pain relief including glaucoma patients. In fact, some can use medical marijuana as an alternative to traditional pain medications such as opioids.
Another common side effect of glaucoma is headaches. Many utilize medical marijuana for treatment of headaches and migraines. The pain killing abilities is one way that it helps with headaches. A second way that it has been shown to help with migraines is due to the targeting of some of the same signaling pathways as triptans, a class of medications primarily used in the treatment of migraines and cluster headaches. This supports the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in the treatment of migraines and could make it helpful with your glaucoma induced headaches.
Nausea And Vomiting
One of the most powerful properties of medical marijuana is its ability to help with nausea and vomiting. Many cancer patients utilize medical marijuana while they are undergoing chemotherapy to help with the nausea and vomiting. These same properties that help cancer patients can also help those experiencing these symptoms due to glaucoma.
How To Get Medical Marijuana for Glaucoma
In the state of Maryland and Delaware, people diagnosed with glaucoma qualify for their medical marijuana certification. If you are ready to take the next step towards bettering your health, you can schedule an appointment with one of our Maryland or Delaware medical marijuana doctors. After being evaluated by one of the Maryland or Delaware state-certified providers at Green Relief Health, if you qualify you will receive your Maryland or Delaware medical marijuana certification.
Living with glaucoma can be difficult, but medical cannabis can help make things better. With plenty of different methods of consumption to fit every individual’s needs, there really is something for everyone. Take the first step to bettering your life by contacting us at Green Relief Health today to schedule a time to speak with one of our medical marijuana doctors about your Maryland or Delaware medical marijuana certification. You won’t regret it.