Consuming cannabis comes with various side effects. The most common side effect most users want to get rid of is the red-eye syndrome. The fact of this syndrome, as will be discussed, is that it is not a dangerous side effect of using weed. This effect shows that cannabis is working its medicinal purpose. However, there are also cases when this side effect does not appear. The use of strain and the side effects that comes with it affects people differently. As for the side effects, there are various possible factors that cause it and ways to reduce and lessen them.
The Cause of Weed Induced Red Eyes
Often, the cause of red eyes is associated with irritation from smoke from the weed. This is one valid factor but is not completely true. Many people believe this but there is a medical explanation to the redness of the eyes on cannabis consumption.
Cannabis contains numerous cannabinoids including Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. This psychoactive cannabinoid decreases the blood pressure causing an increase in blood flow and expansion of the blood vessels including the eyes. The ocular capillaries of the eyes expand and take in more blood causing it to appear red
Case to Case Basis
The volume of the redness may vary from person to person. As any effects of a strain, it varies from the person’s age and gender to their overall health. The redness of the eyes, for example, may vary from one’s blood pressure and the potency of the THC content. With higher blood pressure, you will need enough THC content to reduce it. In this case, higher THC content will have a higher red eye side effects especially on people with lower blood pressures. In addition, the intraocular pressure (IOP) of the eyes is reduced at the same time. Higher IOP causes may cause ocular hypertension which risks the development of glaucoma that leads to permanent blindness. According to studies, THC can reduce IOP by 25% to 30%.
Other probable factors that can cause red eyes, still varying with each user, includes the type of strain, user’s tolerance, genetics, and hydration. Some may say that dehydration is completely out of the context but staying hydrated can still reduce various weed induced effects. While the listed factors are unlikely, each is valid and probable causes depending on the person.
The components of strains differ in each type. As already discussed, higher THC content will have greater effects. Still, some strains may cause redder eyes even with low THC content from its interaction with other components. This may still vary depending on the person’s tolerance. For users who have been consuming marijuana for a long time may have developed tolerance in contrast to those who are new to the drug.
In some instances, there are some whose genetics just causes them to have red eyes when using. There are also those who are easily irritated by the smoke getting redder eyes. In this case, it can be controlled with proper ventilation to lessen the contact of smoke to your eyes.
Getting Rid of Red Eyes
Red eyes usually come with smoking weed. Most users always come with eye drops.
Over-the-counter eyedrops are mainly and most commonly used when users want to alleviate their red eyes. Since eyedrops are made to treat eye conditions such as allergies and itchiness and, of course, red eyes, it is the primary option to get rid of the weed induced effect. The tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride in most eyedrops counters the effects of THC on the eyes. While THC expands the vessels in the eyes, this component narrows them. Using eyedrops may also help in the dryness some may experience when using weed.
Caution is still necessary when treating with eyedrops. For an alternative to this treatment, users can consume food or drinks that contain caffeine, chocolate, sodium, and licorice.
Caffeine, a recognized vasoconstrictor, can be found easily in our daily life. Coffee is the best example. It is well-known to reduce the size of the blood vessels, forcing the blood out. This also affects headaches and migraines caused by the enlarging of blood vessels. On another hand, high-sodium content and licorice root can raise the blood pressure which acts as an antagonist to the THC. Salted and smoked food, as well as canned entrees, is well known for its high-sodium content. If that is not up to your taste, you can also flavor up your cooking with licorice.
Both methods are effective but are temporary in continuous use of marijuana. Unless you build up a tolerance to THC, the redness induced by smoking is constant. Since the redness only lasts a couple of hours, you can cover it up if you really must go out or wait it out. Red eyes are normal effects but if it bothers you, you can always plan out the times you use marijuana.