Red, bloodshot eyes are one of the effects famously associated with smoking cannabis – in fact, they’ve become a pop culture marker for just about anything to do with marijuana. Often referred to as “red-eye syndrome,” it can be a dead giveaway that you’ve just enjoyed some of your favorite flower or cannabis oil.
One of the first things to know about post-cannabis eye redness is that it’s completely harmless. The redness of the sclera (which we know as the white of the eye) can be left untreated, and it will simply go away on its own. That being said, there are also some easy ways to get rid of red eyes – or even avoid bloodshot eyes altogether.
We’re taking a closer look at what causes your eyes to turn red after cannabis, arming you with some smart solutions to reverse this effect and keep your eyes bright post-smoke.
Why Do Your Eyes Get Red After Smoking Marijuana?
First, let’s dispel one of the most widely-believed cannabis myths out there: plenty of people still believe that redness is caused by the smoke from a joint (or a bowl). But actually, this is entirely false.
If you’re a seasoned cannabis consumer, you might have noticed that your eyes appear red no matter what kind of consumption you enjoy. Whether it’s smoking, vaping, dabbing, or even snacking on an edible, if you’re prone to redness, it can happen across the board.
This is because red eyes are caused by THC, not smoke.
One of the effects of THC is decreased blood pressure, which in turn, causes the expansion of blood vessels (including arteries, veins, and capillaries). In your eyes, the ocular capillaries dilate, taking in an increased amount of blood and leading to redness on the surface of the sclera. As THC reduces your blood pressure, it also causes your eye’s intraocular pressure to drop.
As an interesting side note, studies have found THC to be a potential option for treating glaucoma, an eye condition caused by increased intraocular pressure. There are early research indications that the THC in cannabis can help lower the pressure up to 30%. If further study is able to confirm this, cannabis may help fight the severe loss of vision and even blindness caused by untreated glaucoma.
Why not everyone experiences “red-eye syndrome”
You might have a friend that swears they’ve never dealt with post-smoking redness because it all comes down to a combination of luck, genetics, and consumption style.
Just like the effects of a specific strain, redness is completely dependent on factors such as genetics, overall health, sex, and consumption frequency (in other words, tolerance level). For some people, intensely red eyes are a given, while others don’t notice any redness at all.
The redness itself comes down to blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, THC isn’t likely to decrease it enough to make your eyes red. On the other hand, if your blood pressure tends to be low, you’ll probably experience some pretty dramatic redness.
Finally, a sensitivity to smoke in general could be what’s causing the redness – or at the very least, the severity of it – for individuals who have allergies.
How to Get Rid of Red Eyes After Smoking Cannabis
Now that you know that THC is a key factor in causing red eyes, it becomes a little easier to get rid of this often unwanted side effect. Here are the best ways to get rid of red eyes quickly and effectively:
Over-the-counter eye drops that are designed to alleviate redness, allergies, and itchiness are a simple solution for the effects of red-eye. Most of these eye drops contain tetryzoline, which will help your dilated capillaries to constrict and eliminate excessive redness. Keep in mind that relying on eye drops too frequently might not be the best idea (depending on the specific formulation), so always check the manual to be sure.
A sweet or salty snack
For an alternative to eye drops, you could also try eating some chocolate, sodium (salt), or even something with a boost of caffeine. These substances can also help constrict the blood vessels and return your eyes to their natural state.
Fact check: Drinking water will not help bloodshot eyes
It’s a common misconception that red eyes can be a sign of dehydration, which leads many consumers to assume that drinking more water will solve the issue. While it’s always healthy to stay hydrated, and it could help reduce dry mouth, it won’t make a difference for your eyes.
How to Not Get Red Eyes When Smoking Cannabis
There’s an old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and that absolutely applies when it comes to the best way to avoid red eyes after smoking.
Switching to a low-THC strain is often the most effective way to avoid bloodshot eyes. So, if your eyes are becoming a constant issue, it might be time to change up your go-to strains.
Low-THC doesn’t necessarily mean low enjoyment, especially not when you’re treating yourself to premium-quality flower and other cannabis products. In fact, you might just discover a completely new way to consume cannabis and expand your options for “going green” anytime, anywhere.
Enjoy Every Step of Your Cannabis Journey with Canna Provisions
Whether getting rid of red eyes is a top priority for you or now, the experienced guides at Canna Provisions are here to help you navigate the wide world of cannabis. We’re always happy to talk strains, products, and desired effects, making it easier to chart a route to your best-possible cannabis experience. From new explorers to experienced adventurers, all cannabis enthusiasts are welcome to join us at our dispensaries in Lee, MA and Holyoke, MA.
For more information about finding the right low-THC strain or any other cannabis product you need, make your way to Canna Provisions dispensaries today!
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