I live in Washington State, one of the first states to usurp federal law and usher in legal “recreational” marijuana. Yet even before recreational marijuana we had “legalized” medicinal marijuana, the intricacies of which I do not understand, and I’m too lazy to research.

What’s interesting is that medicinal marijuana was already available in a prescription pill, Marinol, but the crowd that favored various legalized forms of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) said it was a poor pharmaceutical agent. The argument was that THC, being insoluble in water, was better inhaled than taken orally. Still, where I live the prevailing regional recreational interest, according to the local newspapers, is marijuana candies, brownies, etc. So much for the necessity of inhalation.

There is a question that lingers in my mind. Just what are the conditions better treated with “medicinal marijuana” than other drugs already available?

It seems that in cancer victims, loss of appetite is well managed with marijuana. Okay. Got no problem with that. As I understand it Marinol just doesn’t work. Right? Not my field.

But, there is a disease I deal with directly or indirectly every day for which marijuana has been championed. What is the disease? Glaucoma.

Glaucoma has to do with eye pressures. You see, the eyeball has a pressure just like a basketball. We measure it not in PSI, but like blood pressure, mmHg. The only way to treat glaucoma is to lower IOPs, and marijuana does lower IOPs quite well – sometimes dramatically.

 So you have to be asking, “Well isn’t that treating the glaucoma?” The short answer is, “No!”

 The condition you battle in glaucoma is having enough “blood force” to push the blood into the tiny internal eye capillaries against the internal eye pressure, i.e. the IOP.

 The complication with marijuana is that it reduces “blood force” with far greater efficiency than it reduces IOPs, so even though marijuana does lower the IOPs it doesn’t lower enough to offset the reduction in “blood force.”

 There is another complications with marijuana and glaucoma. Let’s say for the sake of argument that in some people marijuana does an adequate job of IOP reduction and blood force is not an issue. Marijuana reduces IOPs effectively for about eight hours. Glaucoma is a 24 hour. This means three joints a day. These special people we’ve just contrived may not have problems with their intraocular pressures, but they might have difficulty with functionality, maybe even consciousness.


Photo credit: Cannabis Training University [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons