Doctors say medical marijuana is not a good treatment for glaucoma

Updated: Jul. 13, 2018 at 11:44 AM CDT
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Louisiana lawmakers passed a bill to legalize medical marijuana for a number of conditions including glaucoma. But optometrists and ophthalmologists are saying medicinal marijuana isn't practical for people with glaucoma.

"Because of the short duration of action and because of the, and the only, route of administration is smoking marijuana cigarettes and we know the effects of that," says Doctor Jon Yokubaitis with the Eye Clinic. Yokubatis says the bill is good for the future of medicine for glaucoma.

"Well, it's helpful that marijuana has been approved for the treatment of glaucoma in the sense that it stimulates interest in research and trying to find a solution," Yokubaitis says.

But right now, people would need to smoke the medicinal marijuana so much, the American Academy of Ophthalmology says it would leave patients too impaired to drive and operate equipment of function at the peak of their mental ability.

"Eight times a day, every three hours, even through the night, which gets to be a bit impractical," Yokubaitis adds.

Another issue; money.

Whether insurance will cover the medicinal marijuana is still up in the air. "The amount of marijuana per month is about 800 dollars," Yokubaitis says.

Yokubaitis says medicinal marijuana only treats the circulation of oxygen in the eye or the intraocular pressure and not other issues caused by glaucoma.

This, can lead to permanent damage of the eye and eventually blindness.

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