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Getting high not the solution for glaucoma 1

Dr André Horak


It may come as a surprise to some, but smoking cannabis (marijuana) is not actually recommended for the treatment of glaucoma. Dr Sunita Radhakrishnan, research director of the Glaucoma Research and Education Group in the US, spoke at a recent gathering of ophthalmologists to warn against using cannabis, in spite of its growing legalisation. In the US, cannabis is legal in several states for recreational and/or medical use. While Federal law in Australia has recently permitted cannabis for medical use, it is up to the individual state to determine which patients, if any, will be able to access it.2

The pro

The cons

With other glaucoma treatments widely available, comprehensively studied and posing zero risk of addiction, any justification for recommending cannabis to patients simply does not exist. All ophthalmologists have a duty of care to make this clear to patients in light of the recent legalisation of cannabis for medical use by the Australian Government.

‘It [smoking cannabis to treat glaucoma] has been approved by public opinion, rather than regulatory process.’

Dr Radhakrishnan

Data do not support the contention that marijuana should be used to treat glaucoma3

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine

  1. https://www.odc.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis. Accessed online 23 February 2017.
  2. http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=6376. Accessed online 21 February 2017.


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