Oxford, United Kingdom: The oromucosal administration of natural THC extracts temporarily reduces ocular hypertension in glaucoma patients, according to the findings of a pilot study to be published in the October issue of the Journal of Glaucoma.
Six patients diagnosed with ocular hypertension or early primary open angle glaucoma participated in the randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Investigators measured the impact of THC, CBD (cannabidiol), or placebo on patients' intraocular pressure (IOP) following single dose administration. Elevated IOP can cause damage to the optic nerve and is considered to be a leading risk factor for glaucoma.
"Two hours after sublingual administration of 5 mg [of] delta-9-THC, [patients'] IOP was significantly lower than after placebo," investigators found. "[Patients'] IOP returned to baseline level after the 4-hour IOP measurement."
Investigators further reported that a single dosage of CBD had no impact on IOP in low doses (20 mg) while elevating patients' IOP at high doses (40 mg).
Clinical trials performed at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1971 first reported that inhaled cannabis temporarily reduces ocular tension.
An estimated three million Americans suffer from glaucoma, which leads to blindness if left untreated.
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the study, "Effect of sublingual application of cannabinoids on intraocular pressure: a pilot study," appears in the October issue of the Journal of Glaucoma.