Marijuana smoking vs cannabinoids for glaucoma therapy

Arch Ophthalmol. 1998 Nov;116(11):1433-7. doi: 10.1001/archopht.116.11.1433.


Objective: To discuss the clinical effects, including toxicological data, of marijuana and its many constituent compounds on the eye and the remainder of the body. A perspective is given on the use of marijuana and the cannabinoids in the treatment of glaucoma.

Results: Although it is undisputed that smoking of marijuana plant material causes a fall in intraocular pressure (IOP) in 60% to 65% of users, continued use at a rate needed to control glaucomatous IOP would lead to substantial systemic toxic effects revealed as pathological changes.

Conclusions: Development of drugs based on the cannabinoid molecule or its agonists for use as topical or oral antiglaucoma medications seems to be worthy of further pursuit. Among the latter chemicals, some have no known adverse psychoactive side effects. Smoking of marijuana plant material for the reduction of elevated IOP in glaucoma is ill-advised, given its toxicological profile.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cannabinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Glaucoma / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure / drug effects
  • Marijuana Smoking*


  • Cannabinoids