The primary cause of optic nerve damage is increased intraocular pressure (IOP), often due to poor drainage of fluid in the eye or high blood pressure around the eye vessels. This elevated pressure can harm the retina and optic nerve, resulting in glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness affecting over 60 million people worldwide. In 1971, the first research associating cannabis smoking with a reduction in intraocular pressure was published . Since then, glaucoma has become one of the leading qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.
What is Glaucoma?
There are two main types of glaucoma: open-angle and closed-angle . The most common type of glaucoma, known as primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), is a slow-progressing condition that gradually damages the retina and optic nerve, leading to visual impairment and eventual sight deterioration. Primary open-angle glaucoma involves the loss of retinal ganglion cells due to optic neuropathy, and elevated intraocular pressure may or may not be present. When intraocular pressure is present, it is typically highest in the morning. Many treatments aim to reduce IOP to slow glaucoma progression, with latanoprost and timolol eye drops being a common combination that lowers IOP in over 73% of patients by more than 30%.
Is Medical Marijuana for Glaucoma Effective?
Humans have two types of endocannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, with only CB1 receptors found in eye tissues . Activating the CB1 receptor may influence IOP, suggesting a potential role for cannabis in glaucoma treatment. Several studies have demonstrated that when smoked, inhaled, or ingested, THC can lower IOP by up to 40% . However, the reduction in IOP from cannabis is not long-lasting which has led to criticism of its use.
While the benefits of THC for glaucoma may be limited, the use of medical marijuana for glaucoma is ultimately a decision that needs to be made between patients and doctors. With that in mind, here are some cannabis strains to consider if you are a glaucoma medical marijuana patient.
Best Cannabis Strains for Glaucoma
When it comes to glaucoma, CBD products and hemp flower will not be beneficial since benefits rely on the activation of CB1 by THC. This also means psychoactive effects cannot be avoided. Patients may experience less disruption from the psychoactive effects of THC as they build tolerance after regular use. Patients will also want to consider that intraocular pressure is often the worst in the morning. This means that an energizing sativa strain or hybrid may be the best option to avoid sedative effects that make you want to go back to bed.
The sativa strain Tangie was born from a cross between California Orange and Skunk 1, resulting in a cultivar that has gained widespread acclaim for its vibrant tropical citrus flavors and robust invigorating effects. The enticing flavors of Tangie owe their existence to a blend of myrcene, terpinolene, and pinene terpenes. With typically high THC content, often exceeding 20%, and its pronounced energizing properties, Tangie is best suited for seasoned cannabis enthusiasts. If you’re seeking a cannabis strain to spark motivation, ward off fatigue, or lift your spirits, Tangie stands as an excellent choice.
Clementine, a sativa-dominant strain brimming with energy, emerges from the union of Tangie and Lemon Skunk. This strain is cherished for its delightful sweetness and a citrusy fragrance, a gift from the dominant terpenes terpinolene, pinene, and myrcene. Clementine proves to be an ideal choice for a vibrant wake-and-bake. The Clementine strain experience beautifully melds the uplifting and relaxing aspects of both indica and sativa influences, although it tilts noticeably toward the sativa side. It commences with a euphoric and invigorating wave that imparts a sense of happiness, focus, and motivation. This initial burst is complemented by a gentle, pervasive relaxation that cradles your entire body, inducing a profound sense of calm and tranquility. These effects, combined with its formidable THC content, render Clementine particularly valuable for medical cannabis users grappling with conditions such as depression, chronic fatigue, migraine or tension headaches, chronic stress, and nausea.
- Cinderella 99
Cinderella 99, also affectionately known as “C99,” “Cindy,” and “Cindy 99,” represents a sativa-dominant hybrid cannabis strain born from the crossing of Jack Herer and Shiva Skunk. Cinderella 99 is celebrated for the enchanting and euphoric cerebral high it imparts, effortlessly elevating one’s mood. Within the medical marijuana community, this strain is often considered beneficial for alleviating fatigue and stress. Yet another reason behind the enduring popularity of Cinderella 99 lies in its delightful sweet and fruity flavors. These delightful flavors find their roots in the dominant terpenes of limonene, caryophyllene, and myrcene, which not only enhance its taste but also contribute to its blend of invigorating and calming effects.
- Golden Goat
Golden Goat is a fortuitous creation in the world of cannabis, resulting from an accidental pollination event where a male Hawaiian-Romulan hybrid crossed paths with a female Island Sweet Skunk. This serendipitous encounter gave birth to a strain celebrated for its diverse flavor profile, encompassing sweetness, sourness, and a hint of spiciness, along with tropical fruit undertones. While Golden Goat leans towards sativa dominance, it offers a well-rounded body experience with a subtle infusion of energy. If you have an affinity for strains like Durban Poison, you’re likely to find Golden Goat exceptionally pleasing. The terpene profile of Golden Goat prominently showcases terpinolene, caryophyllene, and myrcene, contributing to its unique character.
- Agent Orange
Agent Orange is a unique hybrid born from the marriage of Orange Velvet, also known as Melvin (a rare and discontinued strain), and Jack the Ripper (a blend of Jack Cleaner and Space Queen). When it comes to flavor, Agent Orange delights the palate with hints of herbal and tart fruit, exuding a delightful aroma that combines citrus and herbal notes. This captivating sensory experience is attributed to the abundant myrcene, terpinolene, and pinene found in Agent Orange’s terpene profile. As for its effects, this cannabis strain can impart a slightly stimulating sensation. It boasts potency without the sedative qualities, making it a suitable choice for daytime consumption. Some of the potential medical benefits associated with the Agent Orange strain include pain and inflammation relief, mood elevation, appetite stimulation, and nausea relief.
The Gelato cannabis strain is a harmoniously balanced hybrid. It boasts a rich abundance of caryophyllene, limonene, and humulene terpenes, contributing to its delightful sweet, fruity, and creamy flavor profile. Gelato, also referred to as Gelato 42 and Larry Bird, is the result of a careful crossbreeding of its parent strains, Sunset Sherbet and Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies. These cannabis buds showcase captivating purple hues and glisten with an abundance of trichomes. This potent strain bestows an uplifting and soothing body high that induces feelings of euphoria. Medical cannabis users have reported that Gelato may promote restful sleep and provide relief from bodily discomfort. However, individuals new to cannabis should approach it cautiously, given its formidable potency.
Biscotti, a cannabis strain meticulously cultivated by Cookies Farms, emerges as the product of a union between Gelato 25 and Sour Florida OG. This high-potency strain initiates with cerebral effects that gracefully transition into a comprehensive and encompassing sensation. Biscotti is renowned for its “creeper” nature, gradually manifesting its effects before delivering a potent impact. Prominently featuring caryophyllene, limonene, and myrcene as its dominant terpenes, this strain offers a delectable blend of cookie and honey flavors, subtly accompanied by diesel undertones. The harmonious fusion of these flavors, coupled with its exquisite, trichome-covered buds, has solidified Biscotti’s status as a favorite among cannabis enthusiasts.
- Hepler, R. S., & Frank, I. R. (1971). Marihuana smoking and intraocular pressure. Jama, 217(10), 1392-1392. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/338934
- MacMillan, K., Keddy, A., & Furlong, J. (2019). Cannabis and glaucoma: A literature review. Dalhousie Medical Journal. https://dalspace.library.dal.ca/bitstream/handle/10222/78955/9830-17586-1-SM.pdf
- Passani, A., Posarelli, C., Sframeli, A. T., Perciballi, L., Pellegrini, M., Guidi, G., & Figus, M. (2020). Cannabinoids in Glaucoma Patients: The Never-Ending Story. Journal of clinical medicine, 9(12), 3978. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7763320/