The abbreviation CBD stands for cannabidiol. CBD is a cannabinoid that is extracted from female hemp plants (commercial hemp) and is one of the main active ingredients of cannabis, along with THC.
CBD is defined by its non-psychoactive effects and its broad spectrum of benefits, which is driving further research. Since 20.11.20, the European Court of Justice has also declared therapy with CBD oil to be legally valid.
Why Only Use Cannabidiol (CBD) in Ophthalmology for the Treatment of Glaucoma?
We recommend our patients to take CBD in addition to conventional medical therapy. But I recommended it especially to glaucoma patients. It is offered as an oil and there are of course many manufacturers who offer it on the market.
I was all the more surprised by the article I read in an American newspaper a few weeks ago that CBD is not only very good for glaucoma, but also for macular degeneration.
According to the American Macular Degeneration Association, macular degeneration (MD) is the most common cause of vision loss. Currently, more than 10 million Americans of all ages are affected; here in Germany, there are about 5 million people.
The task of the “macula” is to focus the central vision of the eye. Degeneration causes deterioration of the central part of the retina, the inner back layer of our eye that first records images before passing it on to the optic nerve and brain.
It controls our ability to recognise colours, faces, etc. Because of the macula, we can also see details in objects. When the cells of the macula begin to deteriorate, the images are not received properly.
In the early and middle stages of the disease, blurred vision or rippling may occur. However, as macular degeneration worsens, central vision can be completely lost (although peripheral vision is preserved).
Does Cannabidiol (CBD) Also Help with Macular Degeneration?
Since no direct scientific studies have been conducted on cannabinoid therapy and macular degeneration, no one can say for sure how CBD oil can help with macular degeneration.
However, there are some interesting connections between certain features of cannabis’ healing power and the particular mechanisms of macular degeneration:
1. Cannabinoid receptors in the eye area
Cannabinoid receptors are located in the eye area. In a groundbreaking Finnish study on glaucoma conducted in 2002 and published in the journal Pharmacology & Therapeutics, researcher Tomi Järvinena and his team discovered that the eye area has cannabinoid receptors, which also makes this intricate area of the body a relevant part of the whole. We have a comprehensive endocannabiniod system (which helps balance and regulate all other body systems).
2. CBD (cannabidiol) can work against inflammation
CBD has an anti-inflammatory effect. Cannabidiol has been shown to be anti-inflammatory specifically for the retinal area, especially when that inflammation is associated with diabetes. Diabetes and macular degeneration often go hand in hand (especially due to low glutathione levels).
3. CBD (cannabidiol) can inhibit VEGF growth
Patients with the wet form of macular degeneration are familiar with the term VEGF. This is because they are given so-called VEGF inhibitors injected into the eye. The point of injecting drugs directly into the eye for macular degeneration patients is that these drugs are supposed to stop the progression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).
However, it has also been shown that cannibinoids can also help to influence VEGF growth. A mouse model study on gliomas (brain tumours) conducted in 2004 by researchers at the Comlutense University in Madrid, Spain, found that cannabinoids inhibited VEGF signalling pathways, slowing tumour growth in mice. The same effect was also observed in two glioma patients.
” Since blocking the VEGF signalling pathway is one of the most promising antitumour approaches currently available, the present results provide a new pharmacological target for cannabinoid-based therapies,” says the final report published in the journal Cancer Research.
Science may one day prove that cannabinoid therapy is a safe and effective treatment for millions of macular patients.