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MMJ & Glaucoma | Health

In the United States, glaucoma affects more than 3 million Americans.  Glaucoma is an eye disease that can cause irreversible blindness and is considered incurable. It is caused when the small blood vessels around the eyeball undergo high blood pressure resulting in an increase in pressure in the fluid around the eye eventually damaging the optic nerve which then leads to vision loss and eventually total blindness. However, glaucoma is the number one eye disease that is preventable.

Glaucoma can be diagnosed early by eye doctors at routine eye exams and this early detection can help save vision. Glaucoma can be present in families. People of Asian, Black or Hispanic ethnicity are more at risk of developing glaucoma as are older people, those with family members who have glaucoma and people who have diabetes.  At the eye exam, the pupils are dilated (so you have to wear those dark sunglasses afterward) and the blood pressure of the eyes is measured. Any increase in pressure can signify glaucoma. Glaucoma can develop in one or both eyes. The most common type of glaucoma is called open-angle glaucoma which is slow to progress to vision loss. Another type of glaucoma which is a medical emergency because it can rapidly lead to blindness is: angle-closure glaucoma. A person who has this will have eye pain that came on quickly with a headache, nausea and red eyes, seeing halos or rainbows around lights and blurred vision. Anyone having these symptoms needs to get to the hospital immediately so that the vision can be saved- it is a medical emergency!

Interestingly, there is a link between glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease. One out of every four  (1:4) Alzheimer’s patients has glaucoma as well.

Currently, there is no cure for glaucoma. Traditional treatment options are: prescription eye drops or pills, laser surgery and other more complicated surgery. Some of the side effects from using the eye drops are stinging and burning red eyes, headache and sensitivity to light. The goal of treatment is to lower the eye pressure and preserve the vision. However, some glaucoma patients experience their glaucoma remaining stable and not worsening by their use of Cannabis. In fact, the first ever medical marijuana patient who was prescribed marijuana by the government was a glaucoma patient 42 years ago.

“In November, 1976, a Washington, DC man, Robert Randall, afflicted by glaucoma employed the little-used Common Law Doctrine of Necessity to defend himself against criminal charges of marijuana cultivation (US v. Randall). On November 24, 1976, federal Judge James Washington ruled Randall’s use of marijuana constituted a ‘medical necessity…’ Randall was the first American to receive marijuana for the treatment of a medical disorder.

Most glaucoma patients seen at All Greens Clinic come into the office wearing sunglasses, have red, irritated eyes and sometimes a headache or eye pain. Many of their eye doctors recommended MMJ to them for the treatment of their glaucoma. The oldest patient ever seen at All Greens Clinic was in recently to get certified for medical marijuana due to the patient’s long history with glaucoma. This 98 year old patient was nearly blind but had hope in what the plant can do to help with glaucoma.


I can see you I see what you are saying You look beautiful

My eyes adore you What a sight you are My eyes behold the glory of you

These eyes have seen a lot I look at the sunsets I see the birds fly, flowers grow, my children’s art

Dear Lord, what did I just see? May my eyes be blessed To see future days and nights

I look to the moon in all of her shapes I gaze at the stars I watch with patience

I love the way your smile looks It is food for my eyes My eyes can see your soul

To read more articles from Dr. Landino, click here.

Kimberly Landino is currently practicing at

All Greens Clinic in Surprise, AZ where she certifies qualifying patients to receive their Medical Marijuana card and experience the therapeutic benefit from using medical marijuana to treat their health conditions. Before this, she practiced family medicine for 16 years in Phoenix, Tempe, Flagstaff and in Tuba City on the Navajo reservation. 



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