THC use has become a lot more prevalent over the last few years. That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, you want to be identified as a stoner just because you use CBD.
Even though having red eyes isn’t dangerous, it’s understandable that you’d like to know whether smoking or vaping CBD is likely to make your eyes red. Find out whether CBD will make your eyes red, and discover some of the key differences between smoking THC and smoking CBD.
Why do some cannabis products make your eyes red?
Since the dawn of stoner culture, having red eyes has been considered a telltale sign that you’ve recently partaken of reefer. Even though the average cannabis smoker has no idea why weed makes your eyes red, their bloodshot, swollen eyeballs have either been exhibited as objects of pride or desperately hidden from law enforcement officers.
Why does Cannabis sativa make your eyes red, though? Many cannabis smokers would guess that weed smoke gets in your eyes and makes them irritated. If that’s the case, however, why don’t cigarettes or campfires do the same thing?
To find the answer, we need to turn back time to the early days of the medical cannabis movement in the United States. American culture was far more averse to cannabis then than it is now, but voters and legislators were still swayed by the evidence that medical weed could help with serious conditions.
The role of glaucoma in medical cannabis
The first medical cannabis patients in California and other early-adopter states sought help with chemotherapy-induced nausea and terminal illnesses. In some cases, they also used medical cannabis for glaucoma, an ocular condition that causes swelling in the eyeballs.
Somewhat ironically, glaucoma can make your eyes red. There’s nothing funny, though, about the damage this condition dealsa to your optic nerves over time, potentially leading to blindness.
At the root of glaucoma is increased intraocular pressure, which is in turn caused by ocular hypertension. Wherever it occurs in your body, high blood pressure can wreak havoc and lead to severe medical conditions, and in the case of glaucoma, hypertension can take away your sight.
Early advocates of medical cannabis treatment for glaucoma didn’t recommend weed because it gets you high, allowing a brief blissful respite from sober awareness of your swollen eyeballs and deteriorating optic nerves. On the contrary, they suggested that cannabis might have vasodilatory properties.
Because THC makes your veins expand, it can reduce intraocular pressure and help with glaucoma. By widening the capillaries in your eyes, however, marijuana also allows blood to flood into your peepers, making your red ocular capillaries stand out more than usual.
So no, your eyes don’t get red after you smoke weed because you got smoke in your eyes or you have the munchies. It’s for the same reason that cannabis helps with glaucoma — THC is a vasodilator that increases blood flow throughout your body.
Does CBD make your eyes red like THC?
If THC makes your eyes red because it is a vasodilator, does CBD do the same thing? To answer this question, let’s take a look at research into the cardiovascular effects of CBD and note the anecdotal evidence on subject.
Quite a few CBD users have noted eye redness after smoking CBD or ingesting this cannabinoid in another way. In some cases, these symptoms can be attributed to ingesting CBD products that also contain THC.
Certain red-eyed CBD users insist, however, that they ingested CBD product types that only contain cannabidiol without THC.
The available evidence on CBD and intraocular blood pressure seems to conflict with this anecdotal testimony. While clinical research has been conducted into the potential vasodilatory effects of CBD, research indicates that this cannabinoid might increase intraocular blood pressure, not lower it.
So far, the evidence on CBD and intraocular pressure is too limited to reach any firm conclusions. Based on what we do know, however, it’s extremely unlikely that smoking CBD or ingesting this cannabinoid another way will make your eyes red.
Lots of things aside from CBD can make your eyes red, however. Allergies, illnesses, and other factors can irritate your eyes, and vasodilators aside from THC can also increase ocular blood flow.
These alternative factors might help explain cases in which people who used CBD experienced eye reddening despite the fact that this cannabinoid does not share the vasodilatory properties of THC.
Other differences between smoking CBD and THC
The eye redness associated with THC certainly occurs in tandem with this cannabinoid’s intoxicating effects. THC doesn’t make your eyes red because it gets you high, though.
If you want to avoid getting high and keep your eyes from getting red at the same time, you might want to try smoking CBD instead of THC. Unlike THC, CBD won’t get you high no matter how much CBD-rich hemp flower you smoke.
This means that smoking CBD also doesn’t cause anxiety or any other common side effects of THC. Existing research hasn’t found that CBD has any habit-forming properties, and it doesn’t even appear to give you the munchies.
In general, smoking CBD is a much more relaxing and mild experience than smoking THC. While THC provides you with an initial rush of euphoria, this sense of intoxication undeniably alters your mental state.
Smoking CBD, on the other hand, offers all the delicious aromas and flavors of Cannabis sativa without getting you high. Even better, CBD doesn’t appear to have any serious side effects, so you can enjoy this cannabinoid without worrying about damaging your health.
As if all these advantages weren’t enough, you’ve learned in this guide that CBD also won’t give you red eyes. Smoke CBD flower content in the knowledge that you won’t feel high and no one will accuse you of smoking weed based on the color of your eyes.
Will smoking CBD make your eyes red?
Your eyes might become red after using CBD even though this cannabinoid isn’t a vasodilator. By law, CBD flower can only contain negligible THC concentrations, but even that might be enough to cause ocular vasodilation in some people.
It’s also possible to be allergic to specific terpenes, flavonoids, or other compounds in hemp flower. In the end, you might just be the kind of person whose eyes are sensitive to smoke.
There doesn’t appear to be anything in this type of hemp product that will increase ocular blood flow. Still, we won’t 100% guarantee that CBD flower won’t give you red eyes.
THC is such a potent ocular vasodilator that it’s used for glaucoma to this day, but CBD doesn’t share these qualities. If you have any lingering questions about CBD making your eyes red, contact us, and check out our other guides in the Shared Secrets blog.
CBD eye redness FAQ
Still concerned about CBD making your eyes low? Check out these quick answers to popular CBD ocular questions:
1. Does CBD affect your eyes?
It’s possible that CBD might worsen existing cases of glaucoma. This potential side effect intriguingly delineates the differences between CBD and THC — while the medical cannabis movement was largely founded around the utility of THC for glaucoma, CBD might actually be counterproductive to glaucoma treatment.
It’s worth remembering, however, that only one study has shown CBD might lead to an increase in intraocular pressure in patients who already have glaucoma. These results haven’t been corroborated by followup research.
2. Is CBD good for cataracts?
There’s no scientific evidence that CBD might help with cataracts. The development of cataracts appears to be related to oxidative stress, and the impact of CBD on oxidative stress and inflammation has been well-researched. It’s unclear if CBD helps with the same types of oxidative stress involved in cataracts, however.
3. What are the side effects of CBD?
We’re still learning about how CBD affects the body. At present, no serious side effects of CBD have been identified, but this CBD might make you sleepy or experience digestive discomfort.
CBD can also interact negatively with certain prescription medications. Consider consulting with your doctor before trying CBD if you’re concerned about drug interactions.