Marijuana has long been studied and used to manage various eye conditions, like glaucoma. Historically, THC has been the primary cannabis agent that folks have been looking to. But now, doctors, scientists, and common peeps like us have been turning their peepers in the direction of delta-8.
Can this newly harnessed cannabinoid bring relief — and maybe tears of joy? — to people dealing with ocular issues? And, more broadly, what’s D8’s impact on overall eye health and vision care?
We’ll take an eye-opening gander at the interplay between delta-8-THC and the eyes.
Delta-8, D8, delta-8-THC. Even “diet weed” and “weed light.” This nouveau chic cannabinoid goes by many names.
Delta-8-THC is a relative of delta-9-THC (what you most likely think of as “THC”). While D8 shares the same chemical components of THC, it’s a different molecule with its own unique properties. Delta-8 is known for its gentler high and having fewer undesirable side effects than THC.
D8 naturally occurs in cannabis plants. But the amounts are so tiny that it’s not a commercially-viable source. So, more often than not, delta-8 is lab-created from either THC or CBD. When made from hemp-derived CBD that contains a max of 0.3% THC, delta-8-THC is federally legal in the US.
As a newer cannabinoid on the market and in the halls of medicine, there isn’t a towering stack of studies scrutinizing D8’s effects. That said, existing research is promising and ongoing. Similar to other cannabinoids, delta-8 may harness your endocannabinoid system (ECS) to produce diverse and numerous health benefits.
Pro tip: Want to learn more about all things D8? Head to our blog, where we have an entire section dedicated to delta-8.
While these questions aren’t exactly on-topic about eye health and vision care, they’re definitely at the junction of Eyes and Delta-8-THC. Plus, they’re uber common and deserve to be lightly touch upon. The people have spoken — and they want to know!
You might lump these inquiries into the “Possible D8 Adverse Reactions” category. Most of the time, side effects are mild and go away as the delta-8 leaves your system.
Some people have reported dry eyes as a result of taking delta-8-THC. It’s one of the most frequent and known potential side effects. Staying well hydrated may mitigate this issue. Rewetting drops can soothe parched eyeballs.
This can go hand-in-hand with dry eye. Likely, if your eyes are dry, they’re irritated, which can lead to them getting red. Alternately, bloodshot eyes may occur in response to your blood pressure lowering from the D8. Indicators point to red eye occurring when D8 is consumed in large quantities. If you experience rose-colored eyes sans tinted glasses, try: moisturizing eye drops, hydrating, cool compresses.(1) Slowing your consumption of delta-8-THC may also reduce the redness reaction.
This was a common-enough search question, but — truth be told — we couldn’t find any D8-specific info on this. So, what we can tell you is that dilation does sometimes happen with the consumption of marijuana. The research on this is pretty thin, though, and how and why eyes may dilate isn’t understood.(2)
It’s possible. Some sources state that muscle spasms may occur when consuming D8. And there are plenty of queries and anecdotes about this on Reddit and the like. You have many of muscles in the eye region so it stands to reason that — in some people — D8 will cause them to tic.
Cannabis has been used around the world for centuries to address a vast array of physical and mental health concerns. And, since the 1970s, researchers have been exploring the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids for eye diseases — most notably, glaucoma. One of the cannabinoids under investigation is delta-8.
OK, here’s the part where we reiterate that the body of research on delta-8-THC and the eyes is limited and still emerging. So, we’ll share what concrete, science-backed info there is on D8+eyes specifically and any relevant research on cannabis/cannabinoids+eyes in general.
Bonus: Interested in the back story? Then you should seriously consider reading up on Robert Randall — a dude who had early-onset, treatment-resistant glaucoma and discovered by happenstance that marijuana helped — and his role in opening the West back up to medical cannabis. It’s a fascinating story and pivotal to cannabis’s place in today’s society!(3)
Glaucoma is an eye condition that damages the optic nerve. Up to 67 million people worldwide are affected by glaucoma and it’s the second leading cause of blindness — so, yah, it’s a big prob.(4) It’s usually linked to the build up of excessive pressure in the eye and often runs in families. Current conventional treatments include medications, laser procedures, surgery, or some combo of these.(5)
Over the years, many studies have shown that delta-9-THC and delta-8-THC can have positive impacts on glaucoma. D8 does this by:
And, according to an animal study from way back in 1992, delta-8-THC demonstrated an “intense and long-lasting IOP-depressant effect.”(7)
When it comes to cannabinoids as a treatment for ophthalmic disorders, its use for glaucoma is probably the most and longest studied. But, there is plenty of scuttlebutt — and research — related to cannabis for other eye conditions. Let’s take a quick look-see:
Delta-8 may ease these conditions by addressing some of the underlying causes, symptoms, or risk factors — such as reducing corneal inflammation and blood pressure.
You don’t need to wait for a problematic sitch to “ar-eyes” before taking steps to care for your eyes. The better, sooner, and more regularly you tend to your organs of sight, the longer they’ll be healthier (hopefully!). Eyeballs and vision are wondrous things — so do what you can to preserve them!
As you probably know, your optic orbs benefit from all the usual good wellness habits and tactics — like eating nutritious foods that are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals, getting plenty of quality sleep and exercise, destressing, hydrating adequately, etc. But, there may also be a place for delta-8 in your eyes self-care plan.
So, how is it that cannabinoids are so effective — or, at least, of so much interest — when it comes to eye care?
It has to do with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS exists throughout the body and is involved in the regulation of many biological systems and functions. Due to the research on cannabinoids for conditions like glaucoma, it was discovered that there are tons of ECS receptors (the bits that intercept the cannabinoids to effect changes in the body) in the eyes.(13)
If you’re interested in giving D8 a go, be smart about it:
If you have a medical condition or take medications or supplements, it’s best to check with your doctor prior to trying delta-8-THC. Together, you can determine if D8 is appropriate for your needs and health profile.
While cannabinoids can be helpful for improving various aspects of ocular health, its cardiovascular and neurological impacts could reduce the benefits to your eyes.(14) However, there may be ways of neutralizing potential undesirable side effects so that you can still take advantage of the therapeutic benefits.(15)
Starting in the 1970s, a lot of research has been done on the effects of cannabinoids (in general) on the eyes. Evidence is showing cannabis has proven benefits for various eye conditions, like glaucoma. Most notably, cannabinoids may reduce pressure and inflammation related to these disorders.
Studies on delta-8 and eye health are significantly rarer — but are in the works. Keep your peepers peeled for emerging specifics regarding this particular cannabinoid and its therapeutic potential for the eyes.
If you’re interested in delta-8-THC for your vision or eye care needs, consult with a doctor to make sure it’s appropriate for your personal situation. Assuming you get the green light, only consume the highest-quality D8 products on the market — your eyes and whole body deserve the best!
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