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Cannabinoids for treatment of glaucoma

Novack, Gary D.

Current Opinion in Ophthalmology: March 2016 - Volume 27 - Issue 2 - p 146–150
doi: 10.1097/ICU.0000000000000242
GLAUCOMA: Edited by Donald L. Budenz

Purpose of review The purpose of this article is to review the current status of cannabis in the treatment of glaucoma, including the greater availability of marijuana in the USA.

Recent findings The potency of marijuana, as measured by the concentration of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, has increased from ∼2 to 3% in the 1970s to ∼20% today. Many US states have passed laws allowing either medicinal or recreational use of marijuana.

Summary The pharmacology of marijuana and its effect on intraocular pressure has not changed since the research in the 1970s and 1980s. Marijuana is an effective ocular hypotensive agent. However, cardiovascular and neurological effects are observed at the same dose, and may theoretically reduce the beneficial effect of lowering intraocular pressure by reducing ocular blood flow. The clinician must be cognizant of this potential in diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy.

aDepartments of Pharmacology and Ophthalmology, University of California, Davis

bPharmaLogic Development, Inc., San Rafael, California, USA

Correspondence to Gary D. Novack, PhD, PharmaLogic Development, Inc., 17 Bridgegate Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903, USA. Tel: +1 415 472 2181; fax: +1 415 472 2183; e-mail:

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