Conjunctivitis, mostly referred to as pink eye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva that covers the white part of the eyeball. When the small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed, they are more visible and hence make the eye appear pink or reddish. Where as in adults viral causes are common, bacterial causes are more common in children.
About 3 to 6 million people get conjunctivitis each year in the United States. It can affect either both or only one eye and typically people get better in one or two weeks. But in severe cases where there is visual loss, significant, sensitivity to light, signs of herpes, or a person is not improving after a week, further diagnosis and treatment may be required.
Some forms of conjunctivitis are highly contagious through contact and can easily spread in schools and at home. While conjunctivitis is usually a minor eye infection, sometimes it can develop into a more serious problem which requires medical attention.
When the eye is inflamed, it will appear pink or reddish, pain during scratching caused by itchiness. In addition, the affected eye may have increased tears or produce a sticky discharge that obstructs eye opening in the morning. Swelling of the white part of the eye may also occur, a gritty feeling.
The major causes of pink eye are bacterial or viral infection or an allergic reaction. The conjunctiva can become inflamed as a result of an allergic reaction due to a substance such as pollen or dust mites. On the other hand, the most common causes of acute bacterial conjunction are Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Haemophilus influenza.
Other causes include the eye coming into contact with things that can irritate the conjunctiva, such as shampoo, chlorinated water, perfumes, cosmetics, smoke, and eye drops or a loose eyelash rubbing against the eye also known as irritant conjunctivitis. It can also be spread through direct or indirect contact with the eye secretions of someone who’s infected.
Medical marijuana and Conjunctivitis
The conjunctivitis experience can be hard to bear given the discomfort of constant itch, which gets even worse after itching, pain, swelling and obstructed vision due to inability to open the eyes properly. According to research on medical marijuana, it has been found to provide palliative care by reducing inflammation and relieving pain, hence easing the course of the disease, and speed up recovery.
As an anti-inflammatory, research on medical marijuana and evidence has shown it to alleviate inflammation in the digestive system and the skin. Conjunctivitis swelling of the eyelid lining can be lessened with medical marijuana. In fact, on several occasions, it is prescribed for inflammation with reasons unclear.
Previous studies have shown medical marijuana as a pain reliever. One of the most infuriating symptoms if conjunctivitis is pain. The affected eye becomes tender to the touch and may ache, even when no pressure is applied.
With medical marijuana’s healing properties, sensitivity to pain can be reduced especially that caused by inflammation. Studies by the University of California, San Francisco showed drastic reduction in pain relieving doses of opiates in patients who were taking their medication with medical marijuana.
In addition, marijuana and itching have been found to be enemies with experiments related to eczema treatments suggesting that cannabis-based ointments are easing itch effectively by 38%.
NOTE: One of the side effects commonly associated with cannabis smoking is bloodshot eyes and irritation. Therefore, if marijuana treatment is to be prescribed, one must carefully choose the means of ingestion.
Although it is not a complete solution to pink eye, medical marijuana sure offers simple but effective solutions to patients with the ailment. And with more research, it could even totally get rid of conjunctivitis.