Categories
BLOG

eye drops for red eyes weed

Why does weed make your eyes red?

Copy article link to clipboard.

Link copied to clipboard.

Contents

  1. Under pressure: lower blood pressure and dilated capillaries
  2. Do edibles make your eyes red?
  3. The redder the better?

Among the most common effects of marijuana use (and telltale signs you’ve recently partaken) is red, bloodshot eyes. It’s to be expected, sure, but that doesn’t answer the mysterious question pondered by generations of stoners: why does weed make your eyes red?

For weed novices, the onset of bloodshot eyes could cause a panic-induced internet search asking “ can smoking weed damage your eyes? ” Thankfully, as those who regularly consume cannabis can tell new users, there are no serious health risks associated with your sudden red-eyed circumstance. You’re probably not experiencing an allergic reaction or some bigger complication. Some might poke fun or chastise you for sporting your so-called “ weed eyes ” in public, but otherwise, it’s a completely natural occurrence that transpires after smoking cannabis.

In fact, your eyes turning red has nothing to do with the act of smoking at all.

Under pressure: lower blood pressure and dilated capillaries

After consuming a cannabis-based product (flower, concentrate, edible, etc.), users generally experience an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. This effect is due to the plant’s cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds responsible for some of the therapeutic and medicinal benefits of cannabis, and their initial interaction with the body. This rise in blood pressure and heart rate is comparable to normal physical activities like exercise or sex.

It generally takes about five to ten minutes for users’ heart rates to return to normal and for blood pressure to begin to decrease. As the blood pressure lowers, the blood vessels and capillaries dilate, including the ocular capillaries . The dilation of ocular capillaries causes increased blood flow to the eyes, which results in your eyes turning red and also reduces intraocular pressure.

The dilation of ocular capillaries causes increased blood flow to the eyes, which results in your eyes turning red in the process, and also reduces intraocular pressure. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Image lightbox

In fact, according to Dr. Melanie Bone, a board-certified OB-GYN who practices in West Palm Beach, Florida, “It’s cannabis’ ability to reduce intraocular pressure in the eyes that makes it a potentially viable treatment for glaucoma , a group of eye disorders that causes damage to the optic nerves which can eventually lead to blindness. It also happens to explain why your eyes become bloodshot after smoking cannabis.”

Evidence that the THC found in cannabis can lower intraocular pressure (IOP) is a major reason why many glaucoma patients have attempted to use medical marijuana to treat and relieve symptoms of the disease. It’s important to know that some studies have contradicted or added a caveat to the claim that cannabis is beneficial for glaucoma. For instance, a 2018 study conducted at Indiana University found that cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in marijuana, could potentially worsen the condition by increasing eye pressure . More research into the use of cannabis for glaucoma treatment is needed.

Do edibles make your eyes red?

Similar to smoking cannabis, ingesting edibles could also make your eyes turn red. Again, this depends on the amount of THC consumed. Remember, it’s not the smoke itself that makes your eyes red, but rather the ability that cannabinoids have to lower blood pressure, causing blood vessels and capillaries to dilate.

The redder the better?

The amount your blood pressure is lowered and how red your eyes become depends on the amount of THC you consume.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most common cannabinoid in the plant, is responsible for the intoxication associated with smoking cannabis. The greater the concentration of THC in a cannabis product, the stronger the effects and the redder your eyes become.

The greater the concentration of THC in a cannabis product, the stronger the effects and the redder your eyes become.

Image lightbox

So, red eyes can act as a sign that your cannabis has a high cannabinoid content (i.e., it’s potent). In other words, if your eyes are noticeably bloodshot after consumption, there’s a good chance you’ve landed yourself some highly potent weed.

Other than being a dead giveaway that you’ve recently consumed cannabis, you have no reason to be concerned about the redness of your eyes. Cannabis-induced eye redness will typically only last a few hours and can easily resolve if you have the right tools at your disposal.

It isn’t a bad idea to have eye drops (or some sunglasses) on hand. Look for eye drop brands that are specifically designed to reduce eye redness. There are other methods that could potentially help combat cannabis-induced bloodshot eyes, including staying hydrated, washing your face and eyelids with cold water, or simply consuming cannabis products with lower THC levels.

Ever wonder why using marijuana or cannabis makes your eyes red or bloodshot? Discover why weed gives you bloodshot eyes.

Why cannabis makes our eyes red and how to get rid of it

The infamous red eyes syndrome, and what you can do to prevent this side effect of marijuana

Article Sidebar

Share this Story: Why cannabis makes our eyes red and how to get rid of it

Copy Link

  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Trending

    Article content

    Before we get into the specifics of the red-eye syndrome, I just want to say that the redness of the sclera (also known as the white of the eye) is a completely non-dangerous side effect of cannabis consumption, so if you’ve found this article to check if you’re in any immediate danger, do not fret, everything is quite alright.

    On the other hand, if you want to get all the facts about red-eye stay tuned, as we’re going to cover all there is to know about this classic pot-lover giveaway.

    Why cannabis makes our eyes red and how to get rid of it Back to video

    Why do your eyes get red when you’re high?

    Even though many people still believe that red eyes are caused by the smoke from a joint (or a blunt or a bong), this is completely untrue, because no matter what type of consumption a person chooses, ranging from smoking, edibles, dabbing or vaping, your eyes will turn red. The reason behind the redness is actually THC.

    One of the many ways tetrahydrocannabinol affects us is by decreasing our blood pressure. One of the effects of decreased blood pressure is the expansion of our blood vessels (which include arteries, veins, and capillaries). In the case of our eyes, the ocular capillaries become dilated and take in more blood, and the expanded blood vessels on the surface of the sclera make eyes appear redder.

    Advertisement

    Article content continued

    Tetrahydrocannabinol (by reducing blood pressure), also reduces the intraocular pressure of the eye. Increased intraocular pressure is the key factor for all glaucoma diseases, and lowering the IOP (or intraocular pressure), is the only way for us to battle glaucoma, which when left untreated can result in a severe loss of vision, and ultimately blindness. One of the first studies conducted on this correlation showed that high THC strains can lower the IOP in the range of 25% to 30%.

    The main issue with treating glaucoma with marijuana is that the IOP needs to be constantly lowered in order for the eye to function properly (edibles are best for this because of their extended duration), while the second issue is that the users who constantly consume large quantities of THC can experience some side effects in their everyday life.

    Bloodshot volume: It varies from person to person

    If you and the people around you regularly consume cannabis, you probably already noticed that the same strain has different effects on different people. These differing effects happen due to a number of key factors which include genetics, sex, overall health and frequency of consumption (increased frequency causes cannabinoid tolerance). You also might have noticed the same thing about the eyes. Some people get really intense bloodshot eyes, while on others the difference is barely visible, or even non-existent.

    The redness is completely dependant on the person’s blood pressure. For instance, if you have high blood pressure, THC won’t be able to decrease it enough for your eyes to become really super-red. I myself actually have a completely opposite problem, as my blood pressure is rather low, so when I consume a potent THC strain, I literally look like the Terminator.

    Advertisement

    Article content continued

    Besides the redness, when the session includes several joints/blunts I can also experience weakness in the legs and symptoms like feeling faint. This, of course, isn’t only a result of a low blood pressure but is brought about from a complex equation of factors I previously mentioned like age, sex, health, genetics etc.

    Allergies can also play a factor in the overall “bloodshot volume”, as there are many people who are very sensitive to smoke in general. Another possibility for increased redness is cannabis allergy, but for users who have this unfortunate issue, red eyes are the least of their concerns.

    How to get rid of red eyes after smoking weed

    The most common way to alleviate your red eyes is, of course, through various over-the-counter eye drops that are designed for eye allergies, redness and itchiness. Pretty much all variations contain tetryzoline (also known as tetrahydrozoline), which is an alpha agonist that causes dilated blood vessels to constrict. As previously mentioned, THC makes our blood vessels and capillaries to dilate (directly causing the redness), so the eye drops reverse this effect and return our eyes to a normal state.

    These types of medications are generally quite safe for use, but I strongly recommend that you always carefully read the manual that comes with the drops. There are a few alternatives to eye drops which can also constrict the blood vessels in our body, such as caffeine, chocolate, liquorice, and sodium.

    Advertisement

    Article content continued

    A common misconception is that increased hydration can be used for reducing the redness of the eyes, which is unfortunately entirely false. People frequently perceive the redness as a sign of dehydration, because they associate it with the accompanying sensation of dry mouth.

    One of the many ways cannabis influences us is by activating the endocannabinoid receptors that are found in our salivary glands. Once excited by cannabinoids from weed, they slow down the fabrication of saliva, which causes us to feel like there’s a desert where our mouth used to be.

    Greencamp.com is an educational website dedicated to shedding the light on many unexplored sides of medical and recreational cannabis. Aside from informing people of safe cannabis use, Greencamp also provides technology for finding optimal cannabis treatment.

    Share this article in your social network

    Share this Story: Why cannabis makes our eyes red and how to get rid of it

    Copy Link

  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Cannabis Post

    Sign-up to receive Cannabis Post your one-stop summary of all of the news and analysis you need to make informed decisions about your investments and your business.

    Thanks for signing up!

    A welcome email is on its way. If you don’t see it please check your junk folder.

    The next issue of Cannabis Post will soon be in your inbox.

    We encountered an issue signing you up. Please try again

    When you consume or smoke marijuana products, high eyes or red eyes are a common side effect. Don’t worry, we have the remedy. ]]>