Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Marijuana Use with Glaucoma

A survey of patients with glaucoma showed that the perception of the legality and acceptability of marijuana use was significantly associated with intentions to use marijuana for the treatment of glaucoma, even though research has indicated it is of limited benefit, according to a study published by JAMA Ophthalmology. It is estimated that 2.2 million adults in the United States are affected by glaucoma. Many alternative therapies including acupuncture and marijuana are being explored but have not shown promise. Research has shown several limitations associated with the use of marijuana as a treatment for glaucoma. Driven mainly by public support, 21 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of marijuana, citing mainly the 1999 Institute of Medicine report that found possible therapeutic benefits for the use of marijuana in various debilitating medical conditions, including glaucoma. Given these legal changes, not infrequently, ophthalmologists are approached with patient inquiries about treatment of their glaucoma with marijuana. Researchers at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, evaluated factors associated with intentions by patients to use marijuana as a treatment for glaucoma. The study included a survey of patients with glaucoma or suspected to have glaucoma. The survey looked at demographics, perceived severity of glaucoma, prior knowledge about marijuana use in glaucoma, past marijuana use, perceptions toward marijuana use including legality, systemic adverse effects, safety and effectiveness, and false beliefs, as well as satisfaction with current glaucoma management and treatment costs. The data and results that the intent to use marijuana for glaucoma treatment was driven by perceptions of legality of marijuana use, false beliefs regarding marijuana, satisfaction with current glaucoma care, and relevance of marijuana and glaucoma treatment costs.

Clearly there is need for greater information and education based on the false perceptions of marijuana as having significant therapeutic value in glaucoma therapy.

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Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations in Glen Burnie at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061; in Gambrills at 2391 Brandermill Blvd., Suite 200, Gambrills, Maryland 21061 and in Ellicott City at Turf Valley Town Center, 11089 Resort Road, Suite 206, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042. Baltimore Washington Eye Center serves the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.