Saturday, March 24, 2012

Glaucoma and Medical Marijuana

A recent front page article in the Connecticut Post highlighted the attempts of a 90 year old woman to treat her glaucoma with marijuana. The story was front page because the Connecticut legislature is currently considering the legalization of “medical” marijuana for the treatment of many ailments.

I am not a medical professional but the glaucoma case caught my attention because I too suffer from the disease. Glaucoma is a disease that causes irrecoverable damage to the optic nerve. The only treatment is to reduce the fluid pressure in the eye by medication or surgery. No treatment will repair the damage to the optic nerve or improve vision. Successful treatment can only reduce the pressure in the eye in order to slow down or retard further damage to the eye.

In the article the woman claimed that the eye drops needed to treat glaucoma were not doing the job, and that she was reluctant to undergo laser surgery. However, the article never mentioned what success the lady had achieved by smoking her marijuana cigarettes. I checked with my eye surgeon and he indicated that marijuana does reduce the pressure but only for about an hour. People with glaucoma need permanent, round the clock, pressure reduction. Does anyone think it would be healthy for grandma to smoke 24 joints a day?

Glaucoma is serious business, and marijuana is not a quick fix. Anyone suffering from this disease should consult a glaucoma specialist. In my case the glaucoma had progressed so far that eye drops were no longer doing an adequate job. On investigation I discovered that laser surgery was also not the best answer but that there was another surgical procedure that could and did do the job. ###

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