In light of January being Glaucoma Awareness Month, the Dispensary Permits team would like to raise awareness about the benefits of medical marijuana for those suffering from Glaucoma, in hopes of improving their quality of life.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition of increased pressure within the eyeball, which causes damage to the optic nerve and gradually decreases eye sight. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness for people ages 60 years and older, but blindness from Glaucoma can be prevented with early treatment.
How can patients who are suffering from Glaucoma benefit from Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana has been shown to improve the symptoms of Glaucoma in various studies. It has demonstrated that it can reduce intraocular pressure, function as a miotic to constrict the pupil, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is known to soothe nausea.
Learn about types of medical marijuana that benefit specific medical conditions with our Patient Education Plan Template.
A Glaucoma Medical Marijuana Patient Story
After suffering a significant traumatic brain injury, Erin Delaney was diagnosed with Multiple Mechanism Glaucoma, a type of optic nerve damage with several difficult factors that make it hard to treat. With the help of her glaucoma specialist, she has explored every avenue to manage her condition’s symptoms.
Like many people managing chronic conditions, Erin’s medication list grew considerably over the years. At one point Erin thought to herself, “I’m too young to be on so many pills.”
The conventional treatments weren’t as effective as Erin’s care team had hoped, and after further study the team concluded that the same brain injury that provoked the condition was overriding the treatments. A significant pressure attack brought Erin to her glaucoma specialist for a conversation about a new treatment plan.
Once cleared by the state, Erin made an appointment at a local dispensary. “If you had told me two years ago that I would be on medical marijuana, I would have laughed you out of the room,” Erin said. “Like many, I thought it was just a bunch of ‘potheads’ looking for a legal loophole.” Her sentiment has since changed.
After considering her options, Erin decided to try the vaporizer oil cartridges with a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD. “I wanted to start light, a decision my pharmacist respected,” said Erin. “Initially I was concerned about mood alterations and possible side effects; I’ve got a 7-year-old to keep up with!”
Within a few minutes of consuming the oil, Erin can feel the pressure easing. She has even measured a 7-point drop in her optic nerve pressure at her doctor’s office. Erin has been able to keep her optic pressure readings low enough on the oil to qualify for additional surgical procedures to treat her glaucoma.
Erin notes that medical marijuana is not a cure nor a replacement – but rather it is a key component in her integrated care plan that has helped her reduce the number of her prescribed medications by 50 percent. “For treating the secondary symptoms of my pressure attacks, I now vape for nearly instant relief. Before I would have taken pills that would take time to go into effect and still leave me with stomachaches and ulcers. Medications are expensive already, but add in the side effects and over time you question their true value to your quality of life.”
While her glaucoma will continue to progress, Erin is happy with her newfound relief. “I didn’t know what to expect in terms of outcomes, but I am surprised by what a difference it makes,” said Erin. “It’s an investment, but at the same time when I add up what I was paying for all my meds (even with copays), medical marijuana winds up being cheaper. It’s less harmful to my body and definitely has improved my quality of life.”
How do I become a Medical Marijuana patient?
If you or someone you know is suffering from Glaucoma and is interested in this alternative form of medication, check here to see what you can do to become a patient in your state.
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