Manage episode 326523805 series 2878842
Although the image of red eyes after marijuana use is recognized, there is cannabis for eye health.
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Compounds in cannabis take advantage of the cellular communication system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), interacting with cell receptors found at the ocular level.
The eye and the ECS
The human eye expresses especially high levels of a receptor for cannabinoid, CB1, which is part of the nervous system of our body, both central and peripheral.
Some preclinical research has even suggested that this network plays a fundamental role as far as our vision is concerned.
A study carried out with primates in 2016 and published in Neural Plasticity made an interesting finding in which, by modifying the interaction with the ECS receptors, a change was produced in the waves measured in an electroretinogram.
The recording and measurement of these electroretinographic waves are the manifestations of the eye's electrical response to a light stimulus, with which the researchers discovered that these receptors had an influence on the way the eye responds to light.
While the ways in which cannabis affects vision, through its interaction with the ECS, requires more research, the changes that have been seen after using marijuana are as follows:
That many times it can be an indicative telltale of marijuana use is due to the fact of the reduction of intraocular pressure induced by cannabis, which leads to a vasodilation of the ocular capillaries, giving rise to that recognized redness.
This side effect could be useful for those who suffer from increased intraocular pressure, as is the case with glaucoma.
Improved night vision
Some findings have suggested that some compounds such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) bind to ECS receptors, which could cause this night vision enhancing effect.
It has been almost for the last three decades speculation about this effect of cannabis. Since, in 1990, a pharmacologist realized that fishermen in Jamaica who ingested a cannabis preparation demonstrated an "extraordinary ability to see in the dark," according to his words.
A study conducted in 2004 with three Moroccan subjects who used the traditional Kif, a mixture of cannabis and tobacco, showed a relationship dependent on the dose of marijuana consumed and the improvement in night vision.
Visual information processing
The evidence has shown a curious finding: the endocannabinoid system collaborates in the development of vision at the brain level.
This was demonstrated in a joint study between the University of Waterloo, the University of Auckland, and Brown University, whose tests aimed at measuring visual processing in babies who had exposure to cannabis in utero were significantly higher compared to babies whose mothers drank alcohol.
This is a reaction that some marijuana smokers experience. The allergy can be triggered by the substances present in the smoke or substances present in the plant itself.
Typical clinical manifestations include: tearing, redness of varying degrees, itching, and dry eyes. These signs and symptoms related to cannabis allergy have been reported to be very similar to hay fever in patients exposed to smoke, plant matter, and pollen, which are the main allergens in this reaction, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
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