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Glaucoma and Medical Marijuana

Glaucoma and Medical Cannabis

Image from http://mycompassion.org/PatientGlaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of disorders that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in loss of vision or blindness. The damage is done when the intraocular pressure (inner eye pressure, or IOP) rises to a point where eye fluid cannot be drained, this clogs up the drainage channels leading to your eye, and damages the optic nerve. Glaucoma disorders can be divided into two main categories: open-angle” and “closed-angle” (or angle closure) glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common of the two categories and is marked by slow onset and often a diagnosis after a loss of vision is noticed. Closed-angle glaucoma is more likely to appear suddenly and be painful. Although this type of ‘attack’ is considered a medical emergency, the pain associated with this type of glaucoma typically causes patients to seek help before permanent damage occurs. Because lost field of vision cannot be recovered, most glaucoma treatment is aimed at slowing down progression of the illness.

Luckily, the human eye expresses high levels of CB1 cannabinoid receptors – making medical marijuana a successful complementary therapy to conventional treatment that includes eye drops, laser treatment, and surgery. Although the Glaucoma Research Foundation does not support the use of medical marijuana in lowering IPO because of its relatively short effective period (4 hours), and because of it’s psychoactive properties, for years studies have shown cannabis has a positive lowering effect on IPO. In an interesting note, the 3-4 hour effective period, which is quoted in multiple expert sites including the Glaucoma Research Foundation, dates to a 1980 study which used 2% marijuana. To the 2.2 million Americans who are living with glaucoma, and the suspected 60 million worldwide, medical marijuana with today’s 16-22% THC content might be a much more effective treatment than suspected.

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from glaucoma certain cannabis strains may alleviate symptoms better than others. Cannabigerol (CBG), one of the 480 cannabinoids found in cannabis, has been found to be highly effective in lowering IPO, and breeders are now selecting for strains high in this compound to help glaucoma patients.  According to self-submitted answers on Leafly.com, hybrids between indica and sativa strains seem to work best at regulating eye pressure.  Some of the most popular strains for glaucoma treatment are Lemon Wreck, Shoreline, Hawaiian Snow and many Diesel varieties.

About Michael Mayes

As Chief Executive Officer for Quantum 9, Inc., Michael has assisted in funding some of the largest commercial cannabis projects in the world. Michael has been a cannabis investor since 2009 in Colorado’s first legal for-profit cannabis market. As the co-founder and CEO of Quantum 9, Inc., Michael has spent years designing technology and collaborating with countless consultants on the forefront of the cannabis industry. Collaborating with the brightest minds and contributing to world-class organizations has been an incredibly enlightening and rewarding experience for him. Also, he has amassed a comprehensive and award-winning team engaged globally for public policy best practices through the prioritization of environmental sustainability and patient care. Michael is a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS), contributor to Marijuana Business Daily, quoted in the Chicago Tribune, Tampa Tribune, Yahoo Finance, Tampa Tribune, Sativa Magazine, CBC and the Daily Herald. His media appearances include several CBS and WGN appearances and international presence on BNN Commodities in Canada. On the public policy front, Michael and his team were instrumental in their work of drafting the Kentucky Medical Marijuana Bill for Senator Perry Clark. Most recently, Michael taught a class for the International Pharmaceutical Academy in Toronto, Canada. He spoke on Cannabis Pharmacology, and the effects cannabis has on the endocannabinoid system.

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