How Cannabis Affects the Eyes

Haute Health / Introduction / How Cannabis Affects the Eyes

Red eye and cannabis come hand in hand, how many times have those glossed over red eyes got you into trouble? Cannabis has many effects on the eyes from the infamous red eye to helping relieve specific eye conditions and diseases. Cannabis effects various aspects of the body and the eyes are no different. Here we’ll look at why do eyes get red when high, how to get rid of red eye and marijuana effects on eyes.

Cooking With Cannabis

Why Do Eyes Get Red When High

Cannabutter

It’s usually the reason you first get caught by your parents or worse a cop when you smoke weed, glossed over red eyes. It can come as a surprise for rookie smokers who instantly begin to get paranoid wondering why do your eyes get red when you’re high, but after a quick google search they realize that marijuana red eyes are extremely common and it poses no serious risks to your eyes after smoking weed. It doesn’t matter what cannabis product you have consumed, it can be an edible, dab or joint, they are all guaranteed to make your eyes red. This is due largely to the cannabinoids within the plant you are consuming, cannabinoids are what give your cannabis its medicinal benefits, when consumed both blood pressure and heart rate increases temporarily, then 5-10 minutes later both heart rate and blood pressure begins to lower. While the blood pressure begins to lower there is a dilation of blood vessels and capillaries, this leads to an increase in blood flow to the eyes, which inturn makes the eyes turn red and reduce intraocular pressure. This is due to cannabis providing a relief in intraocular pressure in the eyes, this also is what makes cannabis a relief for glaucoma. It is also note worthy that the more THC you consume, the more likely your going to get weed red eyes. Some think it’s the physical smoke itself that creates marijuana red eyes, but it comes down to the percentage of THC in the weed you are consuming.

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How To Get Rid of Red Eyes

​So your eyes after smoking weed are beet red, no need to worry, your marijuana red eyes wont last. Weed red eyes only typically lasts a few hours if you aren’t in a rush to get rid of the redness, but for those who don’t want the world to know they are stoned and are wondering how to get rid of red eyes, you don’t have to look far for instant relief. The most common tool used when getting rid of red eye instantly is over-the-counter eye drops, these drops are designed for allergies and dry eyes but are perfect for weed red eyes. These drops contain an ingredient known as tetryzoline which is known to help blood vessels constrict, which is the opposite of what happens to your eyes when you consume weed. These eye drops can reduce red eye substantially providing no redness and clear white eyes in minutes, the use of eye drops is also relatively safe and is the best option for getting rid of marijuana red eye.

To avoid red eyes you can also choose to smoke a strain with low levels of THC or strains high in CBD. As mentioned before, the more THC found in your cannabis the more red your eyes will become. We recommend heading over to our Haute Health CBD section to check out CBD based strains, edibles and oils. 

Don’t be fooled by some myths out there on how to get rid of red eye, specifically that hydrating yourself will reduce redness in the eyes. Many thing red eye is down to dehydration but that is not the case. Drinking water will not help with reduce your red eyes whatsoever.

Other Marijuana Effects on the Eyes

Cannabis Cooking Oil

​Aside from the common red eye, marijuana can have other effects on the eyes after smoking weed. Some effects can be beneficial while others can be a hindrance, let’s have a look at what other effects cannabis has on eyes after smoking weed. Some who consume cannabis can have the unfortunate experience of an allergic reaction in the eyes specifically after smoking cannabis, this can come from a few difference scenarios. You may have an allergy to the smoke itself, an allergic reaction to the residual molds or the actual cannabis plant. The reaction can vary from itchiness, redness, inflammation, tearing or dryness. It has even been studied that allergies to cannabis can be compared to Hay Fever which is an irritation of the eyes and nosed when interacting with smoke, pollen and other plants. Interestingly enough there have been studies done that suggest cannabinoid receptors found in the endocannabinoid system help our eyes respond to light. When consuming THC it connects with those receptors which is believed to increase our ability to see in low light situations. Those more studies would need to be done, small sample studies suggest that this in fact is true and valid.

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Cannabis and Eye Problems

Common Cannabis Cooking Mistakes

Cannabis does cause red eye, but that’s not all, it can all affect your eyes in other ways. Studies suggest that the cannabidiol compounds found in cannabis may help in the support of vision and protect against certain eye diseases. The effect cannabis has on our eyes and our vision comes from the cannabidiols compounds found in cannabis and how they interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). When it does interact it can affect different elements of the eyes such as the visual system, tissues of the eye, optic nerves and the natural pathways that store visual information.

The ECS is a network of receptors found throughout the body that interacts with the body’s tissues and organs. The receptors become activated by natural cannabinoids found within the ECS and also cannabinoids found in cannabis. The eyes contain one of the most common cannabinoid receptors known as CB1, when cannabis is consumed those receptors are triggered in different areas of the visual system which is how cannabis and the eyes interact.

Cannabis and Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye condition that effects the optical nerves in the eye causing damage and if left unattended can lead to blindness. Glaucoma is when the intraocular pressure is too high in the eye, this leads to a fluid build up which then damages the optic nerve. The most common form of treatment is medicated eye drops which lowers the intraocular pressure to the correct levels. In general glaucoma cannot be cured only controlled. When taking cannabis for glaucoma there have been promising signs, one in particular is THC lowering blood pressure, in studies cannabis has shown a reduction in IOP by as much as 30%, but there is a caveat, the reduction in IOP is only a short-term effects and would require patients to consume cannabis on a very frequent basis, around every 4 hours. This has doctors weary on the use of cannabis for glaucoma as it can lead to creative a habit of using cannabis and impaired you throughout the day. Cannabis however in the later stages of glaucoma is more recommended by doctors, during the later stages of glaucoma it becomes less about targeting the IOP and the glaucoma itself and more about managing the accompanying symptoms.

Cannabis and Neurodegenerative Blindness

Research has indicated that cannabis can help slow down neurodegenerative blindness, specifically due to cannabinoids which prevent the death of photo-receptors in people who have retinitis pigmentosa. Studies on rodents showed that during a three month period the rodents who have been given cannabinoids had more then 40 percent photo receptors then to the rodents who were not given cannabinoids. This points towards cannabis being an option to slow down the speed of ocular degeneration in neurodegenerative blindness.

Cannabis and Diabetic Retinopathy

Retinopathy is not caused by a side effect of diabetes, which is when the retinas blood vessels become damaged. When suffering from diabetic retinopathy the eyes nerve cells begins to die which effects overall eyesight. Studies however have shown that CBD which is a cannabidiol from the cannabis plant can help to protect diabetes eyes. CBD is extremely rich in antioxidants leading to a reduction in the retinas toxicity which is the main reason for degeneration.

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