Bloodshot eyes are a common symptom of cannabis use for many, but, not everyone who consumes cannabis will display bloodshot eyes. The endocannabinoid system is different in every individual and the effects of cannabis will vary from person to person. In some, cannabis may even cause blurred vision. There is much research to be done within this realm of cannabis and its effects on the human body. So, why does cannabis make your eyes red? Find out more below.
The Science Behind Bloodshot Eyes
The consumption of cannabis lowers blood pressure, which, results in the dilation of blood capillaries and blood vessels throughout the body.
When blood capillaries in the eyes dilate, increased blood flow to the eyes occurs due to an intraocular pressure decrease. The expanding blood vessels in the eyes are why they may get red from cannabis use.
This effect is seen as helpful for patients with glaucoma as it decreases the pressure in the eye area and may bring relief from the pain associated with this ailment.
According to a 2015 study from the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, exposure to cannabis may induce a rare allergic reaction due to pollinosis for a few people. This may also cause eye irritation and redness, but, more research is needed in this area.
It has been proposed that cannabis with higher THC content will produce redder eyes.
Will Cannabis Edibles Make Your Eyes Bloodshot?
Cannabis edibles also have a very different effect on the human body than smoking does, but, cannabis edibles can also make your eyes red. Depending on your own personal endocannabinoid system and how you react to cannabis, marijuana edibles may also produce this common reaction.
Cannabis edibles contain the same cannabinoids as regular cannabis and these cannabinoids are what causes the blood pressure to lower and vessels and capillaries to enlarge.
An individual who may exhibit bloodshot eyes after edibles may not experience the same effects when smoking and vice versa.
Do Cannabis Concentrates (Dabs etc) Make Your Eyes Red?
The consumption of cannabis concentrates through dabs (or other means) will also produce bloodshot eyes. The concentrated THC found within cannabis concentrates such as shatter, rosin, kief, etc may even produce bloodshot eyes in people who do not usually get them from consumption of cannabis flower.
How to Reduce Red/Bloodshot Eyes from Cannabis
While bloodshot eyes may be harmless, a lot of people do not want to walk around with red eyes in public. Here are some helpful remedies for relieving bloodshot eyes from cannabis use.
Stay Hydrated: Adequate hydration is recommended in general, not just while consuming cannabis. Staying hydrated will help keep your entire body hydrated, including the area around the eyes that tends to dry out when consuming cannabis.
Try a Strain With Lower THC Content: The THC cannabinoid is what causes blood pressure to lower and will enlarge the blood vessels and capillaries in the eye area. The higher the THC percentage, the more likely some people are to get bloodshot eyes.
Allow Adequate Ventilation: Hot-boxing (smoking in a non-ventilated room) may cause eye irritations, such as itchiness, leading to redder eyes than normal.
Eye Drops: Eye drops are a go-to item for many cannabis consumers.
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- Canadian Association of Optometrists. (2019). How Does Marijuana Affect Vision?
- Cherney, K. Pietrangelo, A. (2017). The Effects of Marijuana on Your Body. Healthline.
- Gudgel, D. Turbert, D. (2019). Does Marijuana Help Treat Glaucoma or Other Eye Conditions? American Academy of Ophthalmology.
- McVean, A. (2018). It’s Not the Smoke from a Joint That Makes Your Eyes Red. McGill Office for Science and Society.
- Ocampo, T. L. Rans, T. S. (2015). Cannabis Sativa: The Unconventional ‘Weed’ Allergen. Annals of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology.
- The University of Maryland. (2013). Marijuana: Profile. Center for Substance Abuse Research.
- Yazulla S. (2008). Endocannabinoids in the Retina: From Marijuana to Neuroprotection. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, 27.