Weed is known for causing red eyes, but what about CBD? We take a look at how this cannabinoid affects the body, and whether it causes this side effect. Discover whether CBD will make your eyes red or if THC found in cannabis is the true cause of red, bloodshot eyes and how to treat red eyes.
Does CBD Cause Red Eyes? Scientifically Explained
Most of us are familiar with the “stoner” stereotype that’s so commonly portrayed in movies and on T.V. shows. It’s usually a long-haired slacker burnout with bloodshot eyes that look like they’ve fallen victim to a spray or two of concentrated pepper spray.
Despite the cliché, however, red, watery, inflamed eyes are indeed one of the most common side effects of cannabis use. But that side effect is commonly associated with marijuana that’s high in THC.
So what about cannabidiol? Does CBD cause red eyes too? In a nutshell, no, it doesn’t. But of course, the answer isn’t quite as simple as that. Keep reading for all you could ever want to know about cannabis, marijuana, THC, and whether CBD causes bloodshot eyes.
Cannabis, CBD, and Bloodshot Eyes
There is little denying that cannabis has the potential to help ease a litany of medical conditions and symptoms. Of course, cannabis plants can differ wildly in terms of their chemical profile. As far as effects on the human body are concerned, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are typically regarded as the two compounds that are best known to influence our physiology.
As far as red eyes in particular, however, THC seems to be the sole culprit. When THC enters the body, it lowers blood pressure and thereby dilates blood vessels. This includes tiny blood vessels that rest behind the eye.
When the vessels dilate (widen), blood flow to the eyes increases rather substantially. This helps to lower built-up pressure and is coincidentally the reason why high-THC cannabis is often used for glaucoma. And that goes for any THC consumption. Things like high-THC edibles and oils will produce equally bloodshot eyes as smoking can.
Things like high-THC edibles and oils will produce equally bloodshot eyes as smoking can.
Unfortunately, the increased flow of blood to the eyes also results in the red, puffy, watery, irritated-looking eye look that’s become so stereotypical of marijuana users over the generations.
CBD does not produce these same kinds of effects, so if you’ve been asking the question ‘does CBD cause red eyes,’ the answer is a fairly resounding ‘no.’ Of course, users could still experience watery eyes from a reaction to the smoke (or some other allergen), but it shouldn’t be the CBD itself that’s causing the irritation.
[If you’re still learning the basics of cannabis, read on below to find out more about what CBD is, what type of cannabis it comes from, and how it differs from THC].
CBD: What Is It?
Although there are hundreds of compounds in marijuana, CBD is one of the main components. As we discussed above, CBD is short for cannabidiol. CBD is found in most strains of cannabis, though in differing amounts.
For example, in potent, THC-heavy strains, CBD may only be present in trace amounts. In high-CBD strains, however, it can account for as much as 20% or more of the plant’s dry weight.
CBD’s chemical structure is quite similar to that of THC. The difference lies in one critical element: CBD contains an extra combination of hydrogen and oxygen. This subtle change enables CBD to work without disrupting cognitive processes.
By most accounts, CBD is cited as safe to use in a variety of forms. A recent report by the World Health Organization corroborates this by stating that CBD “exhibits no effects indicative of abuse or dependence potential.” The report also says, “there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
How CBD Works
The body must keep processes such as temperature, mood, memory, and movement in balance, which is called homeostasis. The endocannabinoid system, also known as the ECS, plays a massive role in this endeavor.
The ECS is abundant in both the peripheral and central nervous systems. It consists of a network of receptors and endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are made in the human body. The cannabinoids that are found in cannabis plants are called phytocannabinoids. CBD and THC, of course, are both phytocannabinoids.
While THC directly binds to endocannabinoid receptors, however, (thereby galvanizing cognitive changes), CBD acts in a more indirect manner. CBD doesn’t appear to bind directly with any receptor. Instead, it seems to influence a variety of receptor-independent pathways and ion channels to produce a range of beneficial effects.
The dilation of blood vessels is not included among this ‘range of beneficial effects.’ For this reason, we can more or less dispel the myth that CBD causes red eyes.
So CBD Doesn’t Cause Red Eyes… But is it Legal?
After the passing of an updated version of the U.S. Farm Bill back in 2018, many people assumed that CBD became fully legal in the United States. This was because the Farm Bill legalized hemp, which is a distinct cultivar of cannabis that contains high levels of CBD and minimal THC.
The exact legal implications of CBD use under the Farm Bill are a little more complicated than this general assumption. The reality is that hemp-derived CBD products are widely available in most parts of the United States – even in states that do not have medical cannabis programs. Due to their lack of intoxicating effects, consumers use CBD products for their potential therapeutic benefit rather than as recreational substances.
Due to their lack of intoxicating effects, consumers use CBD products for their potential therapeutic benefit rather than as recreational substances.
Individuals are finding that CBD may be an alternative option for things like stress, anxiety, pain, and trouble sleeping. The FDA-approved drug Epidiolex, which is a CBD-based prescription-only medication, is used to treat epilepsy.
Marijuana, on the other hand, is still, of course, a Schedule I substance in the USA. Its use and possession is barred by federal law. However, many individual states have chosen to legalize it in some form or another.
Some states, for example, allow only for the medicinal use of marijuana. Other states permit recreational use. Users must keep advised on the particular laws of their state.
The Science Behind Cannabis and Red Eyes (CBD Isn’t the Culprit!)
A fascinating presentation by Dr. Denise A. Valenti highlights the opposing effects that THC and CBD appear to have on intraocular pressure of the eye (IOP).
In the presentation, Dr. Valenti states that while cannabis is often used to lower pressure in the eye, this is only due to the presence of THC. CBD, she argues, actually works to “spike the pressure in the eye.”
Her claims were further backed up by a 2008 human study that examined the effects of various THC and CBD doses on six glaucoma patients. The results of the study showed that while a 5 mg dose of THC lowered intraocular pressure, a 40 mg dose of CBD actually raised it, while a 20 mg CBD dose had no effect.
While the specific physiology for these reverse IOP effects is not well-understood, it is quite clear that when it comes to red eyes, CBD and THC appear to have opposite effects.
Getting the Red Out
If you do have red eyes from cannabis use, rest assured it’s not too complicated to resolve. Methods for both the avoidance and mollification of marijuana-induced bloodshot eyes include proper hydration and the use of quality eye drops. Or, changing strains from a high-THC strain to a high-CBD/low-THC one may do the trick as well.
All in all, we hope that this article has helped to address the question of whether or not CBD causes red eyes. If you want to use cannabis but aren’t too keen on the irritated eye look, the responsible consumption of quality CBD products may provide an opportunity to experience beneficial effects without suffering from puffy, watery, red eyes.
Does CBD Make Your Eyes Red? – Stop Worrying About Bloodshot Eyes!
Most people are familiar with the red, bloodshot eyes caused by marijuana. However, many of you also wonder, does CBD make your eyes red?
The good news is that you can stop worrying about whether consuming CBD or cannabidiol results in bloodshot eyes. The cannabinoid is highly unlikely to cause reddening of the eyes.
Why Does Cannabis Cause Bloodshot Eyes?
You have probably watched the iconic Cheech & Chong movies where red eyes are a hallmark sign of smoking cannabis, and you might wonder how much of it is true.
So, does CBD make your eyes red? This is something that a lot of people want to know, especially those outside of the cannabis-using community looking to try out CBD.
CBD is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It does not cause red eyes.
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the cannabinoid responsible for causing red eyes among cannabis users. When consumed, THC binds with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors to cause various effects such as euphoria, increased heart rate, dry mouth, memory loss, and red eyes.
THC lowers the body’s blood pressure, diluting the blood vessels in the eyes and leading to redness.
How Does CBD Affect the Body?
Just like THC, CBD also binds with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors, but in a much different fashion. CBD creates a more beneficial and soothing balance without causing any of the cognitive disruptions or unpleasant side effects (such as red eyes) of THC.
Does CBD Cause Red Eyes? It’s a Big ‘No’!
Many users buy CBD gummies online and enjoy the experience, but they also fear getting bloodshot, red eyes. If the question ‘does CBD make your eyes red?’ is swirling in your head, you’ll be happy to know that you can breathe a sigh of relief. You will experience no bloodshot eyes when using any kind of CBD products.
Interestingly, CBD might actually counter reddening of the eyes. Redness is often caused by dryness when the meibomian gland, located behind the eyelids, fails to produce sufficient oils. The lack of the fatty substance causes the water in the eyes to evaporate. The subsequent dryness turns the eyes red..
Research has shown that CBD topicals can actually improve the meibomian gland’s oil production to reduce dryness in the eyes.
How to Reduce Red Eyes After Cannabis Use
It is true that smoking cannabis causes red eyes in many users. Although bloodshot eyes do not usually hurt, many people don’t want to walk around with the discoloration.
Here are four ways to reduce red eyes after cannabis use:
- Consume a vasoconstrictor such as coffee or chocolate to help constrict the eyes’ blood vessels and reduce redness.
- Use over-the-counter moisturizing eye drops to ease dryness and relieve inflammation.
- Wait for some hours for the redness to go away.
- Avoid going out in the sun, which can lead to a deepening of the redness and an increase in irritation.
Treatment for Short-Term Red Eyes
Sometimes you just get red eyes even if you don’t use a THC-laden cannabis product. If you have red eyes after using CBD, then you’ll need to look elsewhere for the cause of the red eyes, such as lack of sleep, dry eyes, eye infection, or excessive drinking or smoking.
Once you pinpoint the cause of the red eyes, you can focus on treatment. Here are four common scenarios:
- Dry eyes: If your eyes are simply dry, then an over-the-counter eye drop will usually bring much-needed relief.
- Eye infection: If you have an infection, such as conjunctivitis, you’ll need to consult a physician to obtain medication to treat it.
- Lack of sleep: If you have simply been burning the candle at both ends too much, then getting some much-needed shuteye will typically ease your red eyes.
- Smoking or alcohol use: Avoid using nicotine products and excessive alcohol consumption.
Treatment for Long-Term Red Eyes
Some medical conditions can lead to long-term red eyes, such as thyroid disorders. Also, eye strain, allergies, contact lenses, and naturally dry eyes can redden your eyes over long stretches of time.
To treat long-term red eyes, you’ll need to meet with your physician to discuss the underlying causes. If you have a thyroid disorder, then restoring hormonal balance can solve the problem.
If you are frequently undergoing eye strain, then you might want to schedule an appointment with an optometrist to obtain prescription eyewear or contacts.
Determining the cause of your allergies can give you a clue on how to prevent allergic red eyes. Using Benadryl or some other allergy medicine can help eliminate the redness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does CBD cause red eyes and affect your vision?
Does CBD make your eyes red? It alone does not do so. If you experience redness of eyes after using CBD, then it could possibly be due to high levels of THC. As the law dictates, CBD products cannot contain more than 0.3% THC. It is not a sufficient amount of THC to cause redness in the eyes.
Full-spectrum CBD gummies contain all of the cannabinoids found naturally in the cannabis plant, including very low levels of THC. However, they do not have a sufficient amount of THC to cause redness in the eyes.
You may wonde r how many CBD gummies should I eat if I want to avoid red eyes. Don’t worry about it. Simply follow the dosage instructions on the label of the CBD gummies. The product does not contain enough THC to make your eyes red.
The use of CBD also does not impact your vision. Many things can make your eyes red, but CBD does not cause it.
Does CBD treat cataracts?
You are aware that THC can help treat glaucoma. However, many people wonder if CBD can treat cataracts. As of now, we don’t know if CBD can treat it, but studies are underway.
Does CBD Make Your Eyes Red? Now You Know!
As we discussed in this article, CBD does not make your eyes red. However, there are many things that can discolor your eyes and give them a red hue. You should not ignore them.
If you experience red eyes while using CBD, then you should make a list of probable causes not related to CBD to determine the cause. Once you figure it out, you can work to correct the problem. Meanwhile, you can continue using CBD without any fears about its impact on your eyes.