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CBD Effects on Eyes

Posted on August 19th, 2020

Think about your average day: you probably put a lot of products into or on your body. Some products may seem harmless, but some may have an adverse effect on your body–if not immediately, then gradually, over the years. As we become increasingly conscious of this fact, we also see customers looking for natural products with fewer side effects. And, in this environment, CBD has emerged as a natural product that can address a wide variety of conditions without triggering significant side effects. What is o ne group of people exploring CBD and its possible applications? Individuals who suffer from eye problems such as poor eyesight. Interested in learning more? In this piece, we’ll look at the possible effects of CBD on your eyes. We’ll especially explore the potential of CBD eye treatments, so read on!

What Is CBD?

For years, using the cannabis plant or any of its products was illegal in the United States. Then came the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the use of CBD products, so long as they were derived from industrial hemp plants and contained less than 0.3% THC.

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is mostly touted for its potential health benefits such as alleviating symptoms of anxiety and pain, among others.

The cannabis plant has two main active components: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); these are just two of hundreds of compounds, known as cannabinoids, contained within the plants. Both compounds produce various benefits, but THC produces mind-altering effects, while CBD doesn’t. Hemp varieties of cannabis plants contain high concentrations of CBD and low concentrations of THC, whereas marijuana plants are the opposite.

Both these cannabinoids interact with a crucial system in your body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a regulatory system that regulates a host of bodily functions and helps maintain internal balance (homeostasis). Your body creates its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, that strive to restore balance when you’re stressed, depressed, anxious, or feeling pain. Adding external cannabinoids, like CBD, may help expedite this process by supplementing endocannabinoids and boosting their function to restore balance quickly. Now that we have a better understanding of CBD, let’s explore its effects on the eyes.

What Are the Effects of CBD on Eyes?

By 2050, experts predict that the number of people affected by age-related macular degeneration in the United States will increase to more than five million people . For cataracts, that number is expected to hit six million by 2050 . Glaucoma is an example of age-related macular degeneration and can be quite severe when it progresses. So, can CBD be used to help manage symptoms of Glaucoma and other eye problems?

You may be concerned about using CBD if you have eye problems since eye redness is one of the side effects of high-THC products. But here’s the story: you usually develop bloodshot eyes when small blood vessels become dilated. And, since CBD may help decrease blood pressure, it actually tends to constrict blood vessels, reducing redness.

But wait, there’s more: CBD eye drops have shown progress in the treatment of corneal pain and inflammation. The drops appear to trigger the ECS receptors that reduce the pain and eye irritation. Therefore, with more time and testing, CBD eye drops may prove to be an effective treatment for eye inflammation.

CBD’s Anti-inflammatory Properties

CBD also appears to have anti-inflammatory properties. This is beneficial, especially for your eye’s retina, which can become inflamed if you have diabetes or endotoxin pressure. There is a massive correlation between these conditions. When you have low glutathione levels, you can develop both diabetes and macular degeneration. In early studies, CBD has been found to mitigate both these conditions.

CBD and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor

CBD also appears to inhibit VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), a substance that encourages new blood vessel growth that can also lead to tumor development. Many people get regular drug injections in their eyes to suppress VEGF, but early research suggests that a CBD supplement could provide the same function. In fact, a study at Complutense University in Spain found that cannabinoids inhibit VGEF pathways, also slowing tumor growth in mice. Similar effects were also seen in glioma patients.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that results in fluid pressure elevations in your eye. If not treated promptly, glaucoma can lead to loss of vision and even permanent blindness. It can occur at any age, but it is more common with older people.

According to the Glaucoma Foundation, around three million people in America currently suffer from glaucoma. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the US and, until recently, people believed that CBD could be used to treat Glaucoma. However, in recent years, eye doctors began warning against this possibility. Why is this so?

CBD Oil Concerns With Glaucoma

According to new research, CBD raises your eye pressure. This is a cause for concern since glaucoma impacts your eyesight because of high-pressure levels. The high pressure from the optic nerve causes damage to the nerve. And since its job is to transmit visual information to the brain, this damage leads to permanent vision loss.

While anyone can develop this eye condition, certain factors increase your risk. These include:

  • Eye injuries
  • Eye surgery
  • Old age
  • Illnesses such as hypothyroidism.
  • Ethnic background. For example, Hispanics, East Asians, and African-Americans are at a higher risk for glaucoma than Caucasians.

There are several forms of glaucoma, including:

Open-Angle Glaucoma

This is commonly known as the “sneak thief of the night,” since it does not show any significant symptoms until vision loss has occurred. It is the most common type of glaucoma, and it develops because your eye’s drainage canals get clogged with time, increasing pressure, which is referred to as IOP. IOP, or intraocular pressure, increases as the fluid fails to properly drain out of the eye.

Angle-Closure Glaucoma

Also known as acute or narrow-angle glaucoma, this sporadic condition occurs when your intraocular pressure rises rapidly without warning. Hence, your drainage canals get blocked and your iris appears less wide than in a person with a healthy eye. Symptoms include headaches, eye pain, blurred vision, and nausea.

Other types of glaucoma include:

  • Traumatic Glaucoma
  • Congenital Glaucoma
  • Secondary Glaucoma
  • Normal-tension Glaucoma
  • Pigmentary Glaucoma
  • Neovascular Glaucoma
  • Iridocorneal Endothelial Syndrome(ICE)

CBD Oil for Glaucoma

As we mentioned earlier, the latest research regarding CBD oil as a treatment for glaucoma is not promising. CBD appears to increase eye pressure–according to a rat study in Indiana, CBD actually raised eye pressure by 18% for at least four hours after drops were administered. In contrast, when testing THC eye drops, researchers noted that eye pressure decreased by up to 30% within eight hours of the dose.

While this research eliminates CBD as a glaucoma treatment, it does establish THC and, by extension, marijuana, as a potentially effective option. Just remember, THC is psychoactive and can give you a high, so many people may prefer to avoid this treatment option.

Benefits of Using CBD Oil

Even though CBD oil won’t alleviate glaucoma symptoms, you can enjoy its other benefits. Many users who suffer from symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, and pain find that CBD offers analgesic and anti-nausea properties, so it provides them with relief.

Also, in certain cases, studies show CBD lowering intraocular pressure in the eye, although more research is necessary given the conflicting findings.

As research progresses, however, we may find that CBD can lower your IOP and help protect the retinal cells. CBD may also help alleviate fear and anxiety before or after eye surgery. At this time, however, CBD eye drops are still a work in progress. Do not attempt to switch or replace your prescribed eye medications without talking to your doctor.

What is one group of people exploring CBD and its possible applications? Individuals who suffer from eye problems. So what are the effects of CBD on eyes?

The Best CBD Eye Drops

If you think that there is a way to put CBD everywhere on your body, you’re pretty much right.

There are awesome CBD oils for vaping, as well as edible snacks. You can get a jar of CBD-infused manuka honey, luxurious CBD-infused body lotion, or even a sweet-smelling CBD bath balm. There are even CBD suppositories.

Basically, CBD in the right shape and form can go all over your body—even in your eye. Not just any oil can be dropped onto your eyes, but now there are actual eye drops that include CBD. When we went on the hunt for the best CBD eye drops on the market today, we found some important information to share with you.

What CBD Eye Drops Can Do

Eye drops aren’t just for beating hay fever or reducing a bout of red eye. For people with glaucoma, eye drops can be an essential way to relieve the resultant pressure and save your vision.

Initially, it was marijuana that was introduced as a potential treatment for glaucoma in 1971. Now that we know more about the cannabis plant and its counterparts, CBD has earned a coveted spot on the miracle-treatment list.

But are CBD eye drops as effective for glaucoma as CBD is for helping manage pain, inflammation, and anxiety?

Potential Dangers of Even the Best CBD Eye Drops

As it turns out, there are some dangers to using even the best CBD eye drops if you have glaucoma. The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that CBD may actually contribute to eye pressure, thus spelling worse news for glaucoma.

Interestingly, THC had the opposite effects and did provide relief for glaucoma. However, in order to get the proper dosing to manage eye pressure daily, you would have to smoke dangerously high amounts of marijuana 8 to 10 times a day.

Positive News for CBD Eye Drops

Studies into how marijuana affects the eyes are still underway. Slowly but surely, we’re collectively learning what effects, both short and long term, it can have on eyesight.

Though some studies have already proven that using CBD eye drops is not the best idea for eye health, the research has just begun. The neuro-protective, anti-inflammation, antioxidant properties of CBD are well known, and there’s hope that science can figure out a way to apply it to eye health.

Until then, it’s too early to recommend any CBD eye drops. The research is, at worst, a strong case against CBD eye drops, and, according to Alex Straiker, PhD., contradictory at best. We’ll be sure to update you with our choices for the best CBD eye drops once these products are refined and safe to use.

Removing hemp and CBD from the list of illegal drugs in the United States is a positive stepping stone for attaining more knowledge on the plant and its active chemicals.

With today’s decreased legal constrictions, scientists are scurrying to explore the potential of industrial hemp and cannabis.

Are Even the Best CBD Eye Drops Dangerous?

While the World Health Organization maintains that CBD has no identifiable risk of dependence or abuse, there is still no certain answer whether or not CBD eye drops are dangerous.

CBD in all other forms exhibits an overall good safety profile, with only mild side effects such as sleepiness, dizziness, and nausea. When it comes to dropping it directly onto your eye, the resounding advice is reconsider.

Because of the warning signs that came from testing eye drops, very few of even the most adventurous CBD brands carry any sort of CBD eye drops.

At the moment, the only one that’s easily accessible is the C Better Daily from the ProTeam Brady Team (named for one of the founders, not for Tom Brady). The online CBD Hemp Super Store sells CBD eye drops made with chamomile hydrosol, Eye bright, NAC, and CBD.

Chamomile Hydrosol is fragrant, floral water believed to have its own anti-inflammatory properties. Whether that’s true for eye care is questionable, but initial reviewers reveal that the CBD drops have helped them recover from eye surgery or injury.

Eyes Wide Shut

While some field evidence seems to suggest CBD eye drops may help some people in some situations, it’s probably best to steer clear until study results start to provide positive reinforcement.

Keeping your eye on CBD industry updates is a good idea if you want to keep ahead of the wellness curve. However, putting CBD in your eyes, at this point, is something you should try to avoid—no matter which company claims to have the best CBD eye drops.

Luckily, there are countless other ways for you to get a dose of CBD for plenty of other reasons.

If you’re looking for the best CBD eye drops, you may want to reconsider. What to know and beware of when considering CBD eye drops.