Red Eyes can be a normal reaction of eyes to the dry air, dust, or fumes in the surrounding air. It can also be due to a lack of sleep, strains, fatigue, or eye allergies. However, red eyes can also be a symptom of serious eye problems like glaucoma, eye infections, or even eye ulcers.
It can also be a possible side effect of a prescription drug, or an effect of consuming intoxicating or psychoactive products like alcohol or marijuana.
So, if you are consuming CBD you will be wondering,” If marijuana causes red eyes, does CBD make your eyes Red too?”
So, before going to the reasons for red eyes and the effect of CBD on it, let us briefly understand some basics about CBD.
What Is CBD?
CBD, the short of cannabidiol, is one of the two major compounds of a cannabis plant, the other being THC. Marijuana and Hemp are the two most popular plant sources of both these compounds.
Marijuana is well known for its psychoactive effects. For this reason, until recently all the cannabinoids present in marijuana plants were considered to have psychoactive properties. However, several scientific studies have evidently reported that it is the THC and not CBD or another cannabinoid that is responsible for giving a feeling of high while using marijuana. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also reported that CBD does not exhibit any effects indicating its abuse.
The medical studies carried out to understand the effects of these compounds have also identified a reason for the difference in their characteristics. It is a slight difference in the chemical structure of the two compounds that make them connect to the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) differently. The structure of CBD does not allow it to interfere with human cognitive processes and hence it doesn’t give you a high.
How CBD Works?
Homeostasis helps in synchronizing and balancing different body processes like temperature, memory, motor function, appetite, and mood. The ECS plays a vital role in balancing these important body functions.
The human body produces natural cannabinoids, which are called endocannabinoids. ECS comprises several endocannabinoids and many cannabinoid receptors throughout the peripheral and nervous systems of human physiology.
The cannabinoids like THC and CBD derived from the plant are called phytocannabinoids. When consumed, these phytocannabinoids interact with these receptors and influence different body functions. THC due to its chemical structure bind with the receptors directly and thus affects cognitive behavior. On the other hand, CBD indirectly influences the body functions to produce many health benefits.
What are the reasons for the Eye Redness?
Dilation of tiny blood vessels of the eyes causes redness in the eyes. There are many factors that can cause this condition of expanding blood vessels.
- Eye allergies and strains are the most prevalent reasons for swollen blood vessels. Besides, allergy towards any food item or drug can stimulate the tiny vessels and cause them to expand, and in turn, cause redness.
- Excessive strain including the digital strain caused by spending too much time watching TV or cell phone and working on computers can cause similar effects.
- Dryness of eyes is also one of the major reasons for red eyes. This can also be caused due to excessive strain.
- The surrounding environmental conditions can also cause red eyes. Excessive exposure to sunlight, dust, fumes, fire or cigarette smoke, and other air pollutants can cause irritation and thus redness in the eyes.
- Lack of sleep has also been observed to be a major factor contributing to eye redness.
- Consuming intoxicating substances is a self-created red eye condition. Consuming Alcohol lead to bloodshot eyes, so does consuming psychoactive substances like THC.
Why Does Consuming THC Make Your Eyes Red?
There can be many reasons for the red eyes caused by consuming THC.
Allergy and Smoking
In a few cases, it can be the allergy with the cannabis itself that can cause a red-eye effect. Allergy with the cannabis pollens can cause excessive sneezing, irritation and itching eyes and nose, and breathing troubles. These conditions may eventually lead to bloodshot eyes.
If you are smoking Marijuana, the smoke can cause irritation and lead to expanded blood vessels and, in turn, red eyes.
Interaction with ECS
However, even the non-smoking methods of consuming THC cause bloodshot eyes. And it is the unique chemical structure of THC that causes the redness of eyes in the non-smoking oral consumption of THC.
The human ECS has got many receptors and CB1 and CB2 are two of the most known receptors of the system. When you consume marijuana, THC interacts with these receptors and causes an increase in blood pressure. The brain and a large portion of the human eye have several CB1 receptors. Binding of THC with CB1 causes the eyes to start becoming red.
After some time of consuming THC, the rate of pumping of the heart comes back to normal and the blood pressure also decreases. The CB1 receptors signal ECS to reduce the overall blood pressure of the body. This lowers down the intraocular pressure, as well, and causes blood vessels to widen up and dilate. Dilated blood vessels will increase the blood flow to the eyes. This increased blood flow, in turn, causes the redness in your eyes.
THC and Glaucoma
The redness of eyes is not considered a good symptom in most of the cases. However, some studies carried out on THC suggest that the lowering of intraocular pressure can be beneficial to glaucoma patients. This serious eye disease is caused by the damage of the optic nerve due to high intraocular pressure.
Does CBD Make Your Eyes Red?
Like CBD, THC also interacts with the receptor of the body ECS. However, its method of interaction is not like THC. While THC directly binds with the receptors, CBD indirectly influences the homeostasis of the body in balancing various physiological functions.
So, as CBD does not bind with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it does not cause any increase in the heart rate and the blood pressure.
Now, as the heart rate and the blood pressure do not change in the first place there is no need to normalize these body parameters. So, no signal is released by CB1 receptors to reduce overall blood pressure. The blood vessels, thus, remain normal and do not dilate. So, no redness of eyes is observed. This is the reason why CBD does not make your eyes red.
It is important to note here that though treating glaucoma is one of the health benefits of THC, there is no evidence of CBD having the same effect in treating the disease that is caused by the high intraocular pressure. It is an indirect way to infer that CBD does not make your eyes red.
Does CBD Cause Dryness of Your Eyes?
Dryness of eyes is one of the many reasons for bloodshot eyes. To know if CBD can cause dry eyes, let us find out the reason for the condition.
The functioning of Meibomian glands
There are Meibomian glands located behind the eyelashes. These glands produce some oily material that hinders the vaporization of tears. That causes tears to remain in the eyes and keep them lubricated.
If for some reason the Meibomian glands do not produce enough oil, it will allow tears to evaporate. Therefore, the reduced quantity of tears will not be enough to keep the eyes lubricated. This will eventually cause dryness of eyes.
Meibomian glands and CBD
There is no clinical evidence to prove that CBD reduces the production of oily substance in the meibomian glands in any way. However, there are some studies that report that the topical application of CBD can repair meibomian glands and help in healing dry eyes problem.
Does CBD help reduce Red Eyes?
Now, it is pretty clear that it is the THC that binds with the receptors in the ECS and triggers many physiological changes including heart rate, blood pressure, and intraocular pressure to cause red eyes. CBD, on the other hand, does not bind with the receptors to cause any such changes and therefore, is not responsible for the eye redness.
Many studies, in fact, suggest that CBD neutralizes the effect of THC by preventing it to bind with the endocannabinoid receptors. In the process, it also reduces the psychoactive effects of the THC. The intensity of the effect depends on the strength of both these two compounds. In fact, the popular Full Spectrum CBD utilizes this phenomenon of entourage effect to also check the psychoactive effects of THC, besides obtaining the combined health benefits of all the compounds.
So, it is quite evident that the higher the strength of THC, the higher will be its binding with the receptors. And the higher the binding, the more powerful will be the psychoactive effects of THC. Stronger psychoactive effects will trigger the same chain reaction as explained earlier and will eventually lead to red eyes.
So, if there is a prolonged redness in the eyes, it signifies a stronger dose of THC.
How to Prevent Making Your Eyes Red?
There is a possibility of consuming THC while taking CBD. It may be because of the incorrect labeling on the product showing less than the actual content of THC in the product.
Now as you know the basic reason for red-eyes and also clear about the fact that the widening of blood vessels causes the condition, you can take the right countermeasure to get rid of the side effect.
- To reduce or eliminate the effect of itching and red eyes caused by consuming THC you can use the eye drops that can contract the swollen blood vessels. Using vasoconstrictors eye drops can provide quick relief from the red eyes.
- You can also use some natural materials to reduce redness. Caffeine can be quite helpful for the purpose.
However, taking the eye drops or caffeine pretty often is not advisable as they can cause other side effects. Therefore, you should also take some preventive measures to avoid the condition to recur.
- The first and foremost is to buy your CBD product from the reputed brand. A renowned brand will not use the inferior substance in their products.
- Besides, you should always check the label on the product package. Never buy a product that does not have the label or does not display the content of the product.
- Furthermore, you should also ensure that you are not allergic to any of the contents used in the product. Those ingredients can also cause redness of the eyes.
- You should also keep yourself hydrated to avoid fluctuations in your blood pressure.
- Besides, avoiding exposure to air pollutants like dust, fumes, smoke, and pollens, etc. can also prevent you from the condition.
- If you are wearing contacts remove them for some time to allow your eyes to relax.
- A good night’s sleep or a relaxing daytime nap can also help you reduce the redness and irritation of your eyes.
It is advisable to consult your physician in case the symptoms of irritation and red eyes remain for a longer period.
From all the above analysis, you would have got the answer to your query, “Does CBD make your eyes red?” It is clear that it is not CBD but THC which causes the redness of the eyes.
So, CBD products that do not contain any traces of THC cannot cause red eyes. So, if you observe redness in your eyes after consuming CBD, it only signifies that the CBD that you are using is having high THC content in the product.