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cbd hemp oil and macular degeneration

What’s known as early macular degeneration is consistent with medium-sized drusen, but because the disease is still in its infancy, vision loss does not occur.

Because of its rise in popularity, coupled with the fact that it’s legal to buy and use throughout the country—unlike marijuana—CBD has become a popular topic of conversation for those suffering from these types of ailments.

Types of macular degeneration

“Other possible applications of cannabinoids in ophthalmology could be explored,” the researchers wrote. “Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in the United Kingdom. Perhaps the potent antioxidant properties of the cannabinoids may be beneficial in AMD, offering a possible alternative to established antioxidant supplements.”

One particular Canadian study from 2016 did find that by manipulating the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in monkeys, it may be possible to protect the retina and restore normal vision. As a reminder, CBD influences the ECS by binding with the CB2 receptors in the immune system. Since it is non-toxic, there’s no reason for users to fear getting high like they would with THC.

Earlier this year, the American Academy of Ophthalmology reported that CBD oil may worsen glaucoma. While that report didn’t touch specifically on CBD for macular degeneration, it does underscore the reality that we’re still learning about how and why CBD works in our bodies.

According to the American Macular Degeneration Association, macular degeneration (or MD) is the leading cause of vision loss in the country, currently affecting more than 10 million Americans of all ages, more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. Considered an “incurable disease,” MD is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, i.e. the inside back layer of our eye that first “records” images before they are sent to the optic nerve and brain, where they are translated into scenes we can comprehend. The job of the “macula” is to focus the central vision of the eye. It controls our ability to read, drive and recognize colors and faces. We are able to see details in objects because of the macula as well.

Was it the CBD oil that caused the macular degeneration in Fabi’s right eye to reduce so dramatically in such a short time? Since no studies have been done on cannabinoid therapy and MD directly, scientifically, no one can say for sure. However, there are some interesting correlations between certain characteristics of the healing power of cannabis and the particular mechanisms of macular degeneration:

What is Macular Degeneration?

“The eye doctor treating me for macular degeneration couldn’t believe the photo of the macular,” Fabi said in a recent Facebook post about the visit. “The leaking in the blood vessel that causes lesions, bumps, swelling, etc. (which causes the loss of vision) was mostly gone.”

Fabi is a small business owner and active part of the tiny, artist community of Taos, New Mexico. About a year ago, Fabi contracted a tick-born disease. At the suggestion of a friend, Fabi began using a straight CBD oil that she was able to obtain at her local herb store for the condition. She started using the CBD oil internally as instructed by the trained herbalist on staff there.

Fabi wrote (and confirmed later in a brief interview with UPG), that the only thing she had changed over the course of the three weeks prior to her doctor’s appointment was the introduction of taking CBD oil sublingually (under the tongue). Fabi says that her right eye has gone down from an “Intermediate MD” to an “Early Stage MD” diagnosis. She is now excited to keep up with her CBD oil protocol, which she is confident will clear up the right eye even more and begin to work its magic on the left as time goes on.

At present, it is considered an incurable disease. But what is happening in the eye to cause MD?

CBD can also reduce cytokines, which are proteins that cause inflammation. Those proteins can cause retinal thickening and aid in the degeneration of the macular.

Macular degeneration (MD) is the highest cause of vision loss in the U.S., affecting over 10 million Americans.

Both THC and CBD have properties that some studies have shown can slow down or block the causes of macular degeneration, including VEGF. A 2004 study on brain tumours, for example, showed that THC can block VEGF pathways. This slows down the abnormal blood vessel growth in the eye brought on by VEGF.

MD is a deterioration of the central part of the retina, the back layer. That layer, called the “macula,” records images and sends them back to the brain. It’s in charge of focusing vision and helps humans read, recognize faces and many more important things. Without a functioning macula, the center of the field of vision is blurry, becoming worse over time.

Another study from 2008 showed that CBD can block “diabetes- and endotoxin-induced retinal damage,” which includes macular degeneration in addition to other diseases such as glaucoma.