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December 5, 1980

No green light for grass in glaucoma

JAMA. 1980;244(22):2500. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310220010005

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What's new in the area of marijuana treatment for glaucoma?

Not much, said Keith Green, PhD, Regents Professor of Ophthalmology, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, in an interview with JAMA MEDICAL NEWS.

Green is engaged in an ongoing effort to screen the naturally occurring and synthetic cannabinoids, as well as the water-soluble molecular components of the marijuana plant, for their intraocular pressure-lowering effects by testing them in rabbits. (There is no good animal model for glaucoma, and even these rabbits have normal intraocular pressure.) But so far, Green says, "It looks as if we can't have the pressure fall without the euphoriant effect." Essentially, then, a patient who wishes to use a cannabinoid to control his intraocular pressure satisfactorily must stay "stoned" all day.

Other undesirable side effects of the cannabinoids include tachycardia, conjunctival hyperemia, respiratory and reproductive changes, and visual problems (for example, difficulties with color vision and dark