How Medical Marijuana Treats Glaucoma—A Brief History
Posted by Al Byrne | December 02 2011 | 2028 views | Comments ↓
Research since the 1970 has proven that medical marijuana helps patients with glaucoma to see.
(Click to enlarge)
Only since the early 1970s has cannabis been recognized as an effective treatment for glaucoma.This revelation was an indirect result of law enforcement. Did cannabis use cause pupil dilation, was their question? If it did, the cops had a sure fire detection device. Research of Dr. Robert Hepler of UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute conducted these studies in 1970 and soon found that “smoking” cannabis actually causes a slight pupillary constriction.
Over the next five years, Hepler and team continued to explore cannabis effects upon the eye, especially the effect on intraocular pressure (IOP). The data indicated that for 80% of patients studied, the reduction in IOP was very significant—up to 50% of baseline pressure.
Glaucoma occurs when elevated fluid pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure) damages the optic nerve. The precise actions of the pressure remains elusive, but all treatment for glaucoma—medical or surgical—centers on reducing IOP. Cutting the pressure in half by smoking a street grade cannabis was eye opening to ophthalmologists.
The first symptom of glaucoma is usually a slight blurring of vision. I experienced that blurring within 24 hours of being struck in my right eye in a construction accident. This is followed by reactions to light, in my case, a “white out” look. Like looking at a blank white piece of paper. The IOP at this point is elevated to a level that light entering the eye diffuses. This lasted about three days during which I was blind in one eye.
"The problem is," said my doc, “glaucoma in one eye caused by trauma transfers to the undamaged eye.”
21 is the magic number of IOP. Above is bad, below is good. I started out in the 40s in my damaged eye and about 20 in the good one. I talked it over with my doc. We agreed that I should smoke cannabis a lot. I did. My pressure dropped dramatically and quickly. In 24 hours I was at 20 in the damaged eye, 14 in the good one. At 48 hours, both were at 14 and holding. I never did get glaucoma in my undamaged eye and my skilled surgeon built me a plastic/parts of my eye that gives me 20/20 vision after 22 years of
Hepler's research supported the conclusion of a teacher named Robert Randall that cannabis use was saving his sight. That was after a 1975 arrest for cannabis cultivation in DC. Dr. Hepler did extensive in-house studies of Randall and concluded that without cannabis, Bob would go blind. Randall's primary physician after reviewing the study results concluded that it would be medically unethical to deprive Randall of therapeutic access to marijuana.
Randall went on trial in July 1976 in DC. His argument: any sane man who knew marijuana could help to regain his sight would break the law to obtain the cannabis he medically required.
In May 1978 Randall became the first legal cannabis patient in the U.S. In 1996 he wrote, "…I have been able to eliminate several far more dangerous glaucoma control agents, including timolol and oral diuretics, while still retaining stable control over my ocular pressure.”
Glaucoma and cannabis use will be a discussion at “The Seventh National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics” - April 26-28, 2012 in Tucson.
More info at www.medicalcannabis.com/
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Thursday, 01 December 2011
Article by Al Byrne, on Dec. 2nd 2011