Treatment of Glaucoma with Medical Marijuana: Mechanism of Action & An Update

Dr. Michael Duplessie, FRCS Ophth (Glasgow), M.B., B.Ch., L.R.C.P. & S.I., B.A.O., B.A.

Treatment of Glaucoma with Medical Marijuana: Mechanism of Action & An Update

Glaucoma is a devastating disease that can cause permanent blindness. It arises due to increased intraocular pressure, leading to damage of the optic nerve and retinal ganglion cells, which eventually results in visual field dysfunction.

Despite the availability of intraocular pressure-lowering eye drops, some patients still experience progressive glaucoma. In addition to mechanical and vascular dysfunctions of the eye, oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, and excitotoxicity have been implicated in the disease’s pathogenesis.

Therefore, natural products with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may serve as a viable treatment option for glaucoma. This review examines recent preclinical and clinical studies of various natural products with neuroprotective effects on retinal ganglion cells, which could be effective in treating glaucoma.

For instance, baicalein, forskolin, marijuana, ginsenoside, resveratrol, and hesperidin can reduce intraocular pressure. On the other hand, Ginkgo biloba, Lycium barbarum, Diospyros kaki, Tripterygium wilfordii, saffron, curcumin, caffeine, anthocyanin, coenzyme Q10, and vitamins B3 and D have neuroprotective effects on retinal ganglion cells through various mechanisms, particularly antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptosis mechanisms.

Nonetheless, more extensive research is necessary to verify the safety and effectiveness of natural products as a complement to therapy for glaucoma.  Marijuana should not be considered a primary treatment for glaucoma.

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Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to breaking conventions and helping those in need. My passion for medicine began during my time working in refugee camps in Thailand, and since then, I have made it my mission to provide care and support to those who need it most.

As a pioneer in the field of ophthalmology, I have made numerous contributions and innovations in the field of corneal transplantation and laser surgery.  I am comfortable challenging conventions.

I have seen firsthand the positive impact medical marijuana can have on patients struggling with pain and anxiety. 

My experiences have shown me that medical marijuana can offer significant benefits with minimal side effects, providing patients with an alternative to traditional pharmaceutical medications. Despite its potential, the government’s stance on marijuana is outdated and in need of revision. 

Through my observations, I have seen prescription rates for pain, stress, insomnia, anxiety to name just a few, drastically decrease among patients who have obtained a medical marijuana card, and I believe that this is a testament to its effectiveness.

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