Cataracts

Can medicinal cannabis help people who are suffering from symptoms of cataracts? Read below to find out more. 

What is a cataract?

A cataract develops when the eye’s lens becomes foggy. Light passes through a clear lens behind the iris for the eye to see correctly. The lens focuses the light so the brain and vision can work together to process information into a picture. When a cataract clouds the lens, the eye can’t focus light, leading to blurry vision or even total vision loss

How common are they? 

Cataracts are prevalent among the older adult population. Over fifty percent of people aged 80 or older have cataracts.

Who do they affect?

People commonly start getting cataracts around age 40, with symptoms occurring around 60. In rare cases, babies can be born with cataracts due to a congenital disability.

Cataract development may occur if you:

  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Live around harmful air pollution
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Have a family history of cataracts

Signs & Symptoms

Cataracts are a standard part of the eye’s aging process that can cause the following symptoms: 

  • Cloudy, blurry, foggy vision
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Glare, especially when driving at night with oncoming headlights.
  • Sudden nearsightedness.
  • Double vision.
  • Need more light to read.
  • Difficulty seeing at night.
  • Changes in identifying colors.

Diagnosis & Treatment

An ophthalmologist can perform a complete exam if a person has potential cataract symptoms. They will typically dilate the pupil to see inside the eye. During this test, special eye drops widen the pupil so the eye doctor can check the eye’s health. For mild cataracts, a patient may simply need new glasses or a contacts prescription. Cataracts often worsen over time and can require surgery eventually. 

Can medical marijuana help? 

There is no direct evidence that cannabis can help with cataracts. It may be possible that cannabis edibles and tinctures other could benefit various aspects of cataracts. However, this research is currently in the preliminary stage. Medical marijuana has been proven to reduce inflammation and pain, which are symptoms of the condition after surgery.

Inflammation

Medical marijuana is commonly found to possess significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help with chronic pain management reasonably quickly. Cannabinoid receptors bind to the brain and peripheral nerve cells and help regulate how you see and feel the pain to reduce symptoms. Medical cannabis, therefore, as opposed to other drugs, appears to be an excellent alternative to treat and manage pain due to inflammation. 

Recent studies from medicine and health sciences professionals suggest that certain cannabis products may effectively treat an overactive immune system. It can connect with the cannabinoid receptors of the body to combat the proinflammatory t-cell responses needed. It has been used to treat rare skin conditions, Crohn’s disease, neuropathic pain, particularly autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel disease, acute psychosocial stress, and many other conditions. 

The Canna Research Group, led by Joanna and Robert Zieger, surveyed 1,200 athletes across various sports. Their findings showed that many athletes use cannabis for relief and performance. This survey assisted in studying the positive and negative effects of marijuana use from a neutral standpoint. Their findings showed that cannabis use could benefit inflammation, pain, and insomnia. Only a few participants experienced adverse side effects, such as loss of concentration and heightened anxiety.

Chronic Pain

THC and CBD have well-documented histories of being effective for a host of medical conditions. Used together, a well-balanced formula of both can be a powerful weapon against chronic pain — and with minimal negative effects. The World Health Organization reports that approximately 2.5 percent of the global population uses cannabis annually.

CBD and CBG have anti-inflammatory qualities, can reduce pain, and even fully treat chronic pain in some patients. It is also an antioxidant and can help reduce long-term inflammation. CBD contains cannabinoid receptors that can block chronic pain signals in the brain and trigger an increased immune response.  

Last Updated: July 25, 2023

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