Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a
There are two kinds of AMD: wet and dry. Dry AMD is more common, but not as treatable as wet AMD. Currently, treatments for wet AMD include anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) eye injections and light therapy, while treatment for dry AMD includes taking specific nutritional supplements and using low visual aids.
Research suggests that cannabis, especially CBD, could one day be a promising treatment for AMD. But more research is needed. Currently, CBD is not a recommended treatment option for AMD. There is not enough science to support its use.
Some people with AMD have reported anecdotal benefits from CBD use, so you may see it recommended in blogs, forums, or on social media. However, there’s not enough medical research on CBD and AMD to support CBD as a treatment for this condition.
Although some people may have found that CBD helps reduce AMD symptoms, the evidence is currently very limited. Here’s what we know so far.
For instance, CBD oils aren’t the right consistency to be made into eye drops.
CBD is known to have an effect on eye pressure, which could be a meaningful benefit for acute or chronic eye conditions.
For example, glaucoma is an eye condition that can lead to permanent vision loss but has a different cause than AMD. It’s often caused by a buildup of eye pressure on your optic nerve (it sends visual information from your eyes to your brain). Lowering eye pressure could potentially lower the risk of glaucoma and help treat active cases.
These tentative findings and theories are interesting. However, there’s not enough evidence to support CBD as a treatment for eye pressure or as a way to lower the risk of either glaucoma or AMD. Results are conflicted.
In fact, a 2018 study found that CBD (cannabidiol) eye drops increased eye pressure in rats. But the same study found that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) eye drops reduced eye pressure by up to 30%.
Treatment of AMD and glaucoma isn’t the only possible eye-health-related use of CBD. Research is also being done into the use of CBD to help treat:
- diabetic retinopathy
- eye inflammation
- corneal inflammation
- eye pain
Additional research is needed to determine if CBD or THC could be used in glaucoma or AMD treatment and prevention. Right now neither is approved for managing these conditions.
Traditional, scientifically backed AMD treatment regimens depend on the type of AMD you have.
Anti-VEGF injections are the most common treatment for wet AMD. These injections stop the growth of eye blood vessels and can prevent — and it some cases, reverse — vision loss. Sometimes, a type of light therapy called photodynamic therapy is used to target and destroy blood vessels as well.
There’s no cure or specific treatment for dry AMD. Dry AMD occurs when a part of your retina, called the macula, deteriorates. Dry AMD often progresses slowly, and the symptoms of AMD get worse over time.
Although there isn’t a cure, taking
Low vision aids can help with any vision loss you experience due to either form of AMD or another condition. Low vision aids are an essential tool in managing dry AMD. An eye doctor can help you determine the best options for you.
Some common aids include:
- wearing glasses
- using a magnifying glass
- picking large print materials or increasing text size on devices
- using brighter lighting
- downloading computer programs, apps, or browser extensions that can adjust device interfaces
Additionally, some preventive measures — such as the ones in the following section — can help support overall eye health.
AMD can be caused by multiple factors, many of which you can’t control, such as age and genetics (heritability). However, you can practice habits to support good eye health, which benefits your eyes lifelong.
- getting regular eye exams
- not smoking or quitting smoking
- eating a healthy and well-balanced diet
- following a diet that’s low in cholesterol
- getting regular
Learn more about the best foods for eye health.
Overall, CBD has many of the relaxing and pain relieving benefits of THC without having any psychoactive effects. There are many reported health and wellness benefits of CBD, including preliminary anecdotal and scientific reports that it may be a promising treatment for AMD.
Research into CBD’s medicinal benefits overall is ongoing. It’s possible that a scientifically backed CBD treatment for AMD could be developed and made available someday. Currently, there isn’t enough research on CBD and AMD to support CBD as a treatment for this condition or others such as glaucoma. It isn’t endorsed by most medical professionals.
Gold standard management and treatment for AMD still consists of anti-VEGF injectable medications and laser therapies for the wet kind, and nutritional supplements and low vision aids for the dry form.