Glaucoma — Disease Profile
Glaucoma is a term used to characterize a cluster of diseases that erodes your eye’s optic nerve and could result in partial or absolute vision loss. Your optic nerve is indispensable when it comes to communicating information to your brain. If the optic nerve gets damaged due to intraocular pressure (IOP), deterioration happens. And since the path between your nerve receptors has most likely been damaged and has caused a disruption, it could lead to a partial or full loss of sight.
When this damages the optic nerve, deterioration happens, and since the path between nerve receptors has most likely been damaged, that disruption may lead to visual impairment. There are two types of glaucoma — find out more about glaucoma here.
Glaucoma symptoms can include:
- Blurred vision
- Seeing halos around lights
- Vision loss
- Redness in your eye
- Eye that looks hazy (particularly in infants)
- Upset stomach or vomiting
- Eye pain
If you notice any of the above symptoms, seek medical care as soon as possible, with early detection and treatment, you have a better chance of saving some if not all of your eyesight.
Although glaucoma can be inherited, there are other causes that you should be aware of. There is a mesh-like channel that helps with the flow of fluid inside your eye, which is called aqueous humor.
When this mesh-like channel is blocked or too much fluid is being produced, this causes a build-up which may lead to the start of glaucoma. Experts don’t know what causes this blockage, nor do they know exactly why glaucoma happens.
Alternative Medicine — A Treatment for Glaucoma?
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is used to describe medical practices and services used by Naturopathic doctors and other doctors in holistic medicine. Holistic medicine could consist of:
- Herbal remedies
- Ayurvedic medicine
- Traditional Chinese medicine
Numerous claims of successful results using CAM remedies in treating glaucoma have been reported. Unfortunately, CAM therapies seem to be devoid of comprehensive controlled clinical trials. Regardless of the paucity of evidence, studies show that more than 40% of Americans have reported adopting CAM treatments and 5% of patients with glaucoma utilize alternative medicine practices in assisting with the management of their glaucoma condition.
Cannabis and Marijuana — Medical Profile
Oftentimes, people confuse marijuana and cannabis as being one. However, this is not the case at all. Let’s decipher the difference here:
- Cannabis: pertains to anything extracted from the cannabis plant and contains roughly 540 chemical stimulants
- Marijuana: refers to sections from the cannabis plant that contain considerable amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is a substance that’s primarily responsible for the effects that marijuana causes.
There are three types of Cannabis:
- Indica — Produces a body high and is more relaxing. May be good for insomnia
- Sativa — Produces a cognitive high that is more energizing. Could promote productive energy.
- Hybrid — A combination of indica and sativa strains and can produce a body and head high. Comes in various variations.
Ask your dispensary about which strains are preferred for glaucoma, headaches.
The Role That Marijuana Plays In Relieving Glaucoma
Back in the 1970s, studies were conducted that indicated that cannabinoids may be able to minimize symptoms related to glaucoma, and it was found that intraocular pressure (IOP) could potentially be lowered as well as neuroprotective actions. In fact, the study, conducted in 1971 concluded that consuming cannabis could have lowered their IOP by at least 25-30%.
Virtually every facet of our health depends on the ECS including:
- Our immune response
- Pain modulation
One of the body’s most critical physiological systems is the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Marijuana-based medications could be of vast usefulness in the treatment and possible prevention of glaucoma as it pertains to neuroprotection and inflammation.
Marijuana receptors could play a large role in your ocular tissues (responsible for controlling IOP) and medications derived from cannabinoids could possibly be formulated to help fulfill two roles for protecting the retinal cells and lowering the IOP.
Two of the cannabinoid receptors are anandamide and WIN55212-2 including several other cannabinoids inclusive of CBD and CBG. CBD and CBG may be considered good candidates for developing therapeutic agents. In fact, they may be well tolerated when administered topically to the eye, according to the NCBI at NIH.
Medical Marijuana and Glaucoma — How The Future Looks
With the development of marijuana-derived medications, the future looks hopeful in potentially having new methods for treating and/or managing glaucoma as well as other chronic type illnesses. However, whether cannabis/marijuana is a great treatment or not is still up for debate. Some people may swear it’s been the best thing for managing their pain since sliced, buttered bread. Others use marijuana for therapy, but not as a primary means of treatment.
Marijuana/cannabis could possibly feature a multitude of healing factors. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis may reduce some pain and damage caused by glaucoma by potentially relieving optic nerve pressure. Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that could help to alleviate IOP by increasing fluid drainage in the eye.
Increasing numbers of states are now recognizing glaucoma as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.
If you’re living with glaucoma, and are open to alternative wellness for glaucoma management and chronic pain, or if you simply have questions about how alternative medicine can help you, schedule your visit with Transformative Health today. We look forward to helping you feel better and live your best life in the most natural way possible.
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