Glaucoma and Marijuana

Dr. Kisling glaucoma Leave a Comment

Is Marijuana Proven To Be OK For Treating Glaucoma?

From This Eye Doctors Perspective The Answer is No

Your Eyes Need Constant Eye Pressure Lowering effects to treat glaucoma and prevent blindness.

Besides the known issues of needing dosing every 2-3 hours, especially at night when pressures tend to rise there are other reasons why it is not a good idea. Current prescription medications are more efficacious without the impairment to motor skills. How marijuana interacts with blood flow to the optic nerve is largely unknown at this time. This is vital to understanding for glaucoma treatment, since your eye doctor may find normal pressures but any impairment of blood flow to the optic nerve can cause glaucoma even when the pressure is normal.

Medical and Eyecare studies are not as reliable as media hypes  them to be

A widely quoted study several years ago by Dr. Donald Tashkin of UCLA determined that smoking pot did not increase the incidence of lung cancer.  Unfortunately this may not be true.  Marijuana smoke contains known carcinogens. Smokers inhale and hold the smoke as long as they can greatly extending the exposure to the lungs.  Multiple studies have shown marijuana smokers show alterations to epithelial cells (surface cells in their lung tissue, These are changes that normally increase the risk of lung cancer and pulmonary disease.

Dr.  Tashkin’s  study relied on self reported information for much of data. This was not a true double blind study, the gold standard of medical research. Unfortunately,  it would not be ethical to undertake such a study. There is a flaw in the logic of using patients already with lung cancer and a control group without. The population with the disease is not really a completely valid group. It would require starting with two cancer free groups, users and non users and following them over several decades. While a widely used and well accepted  method was used, there is a flaw in comparing these two groups. Genetically the groups were not evaluated for consistency.  Self reports introduce a significant variation, especially between a sick population and one that is healthy. The statistical analysis has not shown that smoking  marijuana does not cause lung cancer, it only negates the hypothesis that marijuana smoke has a correlation with an increased risk of cancer. While it seems like a trivial difference it is not.  THC may inhibit the cancer formation but it is too early to conclude that there is not an increase cancer or lung disease risk. A very small study (again flawed even more) last year  showed a dramatic increase in people who smoked pot and cigarettes. Studies have shown marijuana smokers  have more frequent  chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infections. The study was a good preliminary step but could turn out to be completely untrue over time.

At this stage, it is irresponsible  to state that marijuana is free of risk to the lungs and risk the health of our children and young adults, or anyone for that matter.

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