Widespread publicity about marihuana as a possible treatment of glaucoma has generated interest in this subject among glaucoma patients and their physicians, as reflected in recent inquiries to the National Eye Institute (NEI). Reports of marihuana's effectiveness in reducing intraocular pressure in a few such patients under carefully controlled experimental conditions may have led to serious consideration of this drug as a possible alternative to conventional therapy, particularly in patients who do not respond well to existing medications. These reports have also encouraged some glaucoma patients to assume that smoking marihuana may be beneficial for treating eye disorders.
Since no definitive clinical studies have been completed, this assumption is misleading and could result in serious ocular damage, systemic side effects, and legal hazards for the patient.
Although scientists studying marihuana and derivatives of its major active component (tetrahydrocannabinol) have demonstrated that these drugs can lower intraocular pressure in laboratory animals,