Why Does Marijuana Make Your Eyes Red?

Why Does Marijuana Make Your Eyes Red?

How to Get Rid Of Red Eyes From Marijuana

Many benefits can be found from smoking weed, like better sleep and increased creativity… But why exactly does marijuana make your eyes red?

Maybe you’ve been smoking weed for years and just never thought to ask, or perhaps you are new to getting high and one look at yourself in the mirror has you online checking how  safe marijuana is.

The good news is, there’s no need to panic, it is a very common and natural side effect of smoking marijuana, and in this post, we will tell you exactly why it is happening, and what you can do to limit it. 

Marijuana And Red Eyes

Marijuana makes your eyes red, and there is a common misconception that this is due to the effects of smoke irritation on your eyes.

That’s not true. The culprit for the eye redness isn’t the smoke but rather a physiological response known as vasodilation.

Vasodilation is a process in which the eye’s blood vessels are relaxed and dilated so that more blood can flow through them.

That increased blood flow means more blood is available to the eye, which increases oxygen supply and circulation throughout the body.

THC is a chemical compound in marijuana that narrows your blood vessels and increases your heart rate.

Although these side effects are noticeable during marijuana use, they don’t last long after you stop smoking.

Why does marijuana make your eyes red?

Many people ask, “Why does marijuana make your eyes red?” The primary reasons for red eyes are two-fold. 

First, marijuana causes the muscles around the eye to relax.

This allows more blood flow to the capillaries, or small blood vessels, in and around the eye. Second, this increased flow of blood causes the vessels themselves to expand, or dilate.

The result is a red appearance of the white of the eye (sclera)

Marijuana has many different effects on the body, but the most commonly known is its psychoactive effect.

While there are various tell-tale signs of smoking cannabis, including dry eyes, irritation of the eye, dry mouth, the common side effect is undoubtedly the red eyes that accompany it.                          

It’s also a sign that marijuana might have medical benefits for glaucoma.

That’s because cannabis compounds seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the eyes, and inflammation is a major risk factor for glaucoma.

Treating glaucoma often involves controlling intraocular pressure (IOP), which is the amount of pressure in a patient’s eye. As a medicine, medical marijuana works by relaxing blood vessels and reducing pressure.

In some cases, the use of medical marijuana for glaucoma treatment may actually reduce IOP and slow the progression of the disease, hence an effective treatment for this condition.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

When smoked or ingested, THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in your eyes that control blood vessels and capillaries.

In the eye, it has an effect on ocular capillaries, causing them to dilate which lowers intraocular pressure. The dilation of blood vessels causes red-eye.

This is beneficial for glaucoma patients who have abnormally high intraocular pressure; however, it can be harmful to individuals who already have normal or low intraocular pressure.

THC also interacts with the optic nerves and can cause a temporary loss of vision called visual disturbances.

How long do red eyes last?

Everyone knows that bloodshot eyes are a dead giveaway of cannabis use.

However, it is not always a guaranteed symptom of marijuana consumption. 

This is because each strain has a different amount of THC, which causes the varying intensity of red eyes.

It’s most noticeable when a person has been smoking a high THC strain, but hardly appears when you consume a low THC strain.

When a person with naturally low blood pressure consumes cannabis, red eyes are more likely because their blood pressure decreases even further. 

There is a lot of speculation about whether or not people with high blood pressure are more likely to experience red eyes than those with low blood pressure. 

Again, If you have an allergic reaction to smoke or marijuana, you run the risk of having red eyes – perhaps severely so.

The appearance of bloodshot eyes also depends on the dosage.

The higher or more frequently you smoke marijuana, the more likely you are to experience weed eyes.

When a person with naturally low blood pressure consumes cannabis, red eyes are more likely because their blood pressure decreases even further. 

Smoking marijuana makes your eyes red, but it may not affect your eyes at all.

If you notice red eyes after smoking marijuana, they will typically wear off in a couple of hours.

However, cannabis users with certain eye conditions such as narrow or small pupils are at greater risk for more prolonged eye dilation. 

That can lead to potential adverse effects on their eye health if they continue to smoke regularly.

How to fix red eyes from smoking marijuana

Red eyes are among the common side effects of cannabis use. Not only can they be irritating, but they can also make you look high or cause damage

If you’re trying to pass as sober and don’t want to attract attention, red eyes might make that difficult. 

Fortunately, there are some strategies to reduce the severity of redeyes after using marijuana.

Keep reading to learn more…

Top 6 Tips For Dealing With Red-Eye

1. Drink cold water

The most common cause of red eyes is dehydration. 

This can be because your body is not getting enough water or from taking certain medications that dry out your body (such as some antihistamines, sedatives, and diuretics). 

You could drink multiple glasses of water to keep a proper balance of fluids in the body.

2. Use a cold compress

You can hold a cold compress against your face.

For this you can use a bag of frozen peas or an ice pack across your eyes while closed. (If the compress is too cold, wrap in a tea towel first).

This will constrict blood vessels and reduce blood flow to your nose, mouth and eyes.

You may have to re-apply it several times after the smoke session because it will warm up over time.

3. Use Eye Drops

Consider using eye drops for red eyes or even cooling eye gels.

It is best to use these products prior to usage so that your eyes can adjust to them over time and not become irritated upon first contact.

Over-the-counter eye drops come in two forms – Antihistamines and Vasoconstrictors

Antihistamines temporarily reduce blood flow to your eyes, while vasoconstrictors block histamines to ease redness. 

Although some people swear by decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (found in many OTC cold medicines), they only work until the medicine wears off — usually less than four hours.

4. Plan Your schedule

Try to plan your marijuana usage for the morning or afternoon when you do not need to be at work or seeing anyone socially after consumption. 

Your body needs at least a few hours to get rid of the THC in your system before the symptoms of red eyes will reduce.. 

It can even take up to 24 hours for some individuals, depending on how much they consumed and whether they have built up a tolerance over time.

5. Go for low-THC strains

Smoking marijuana regularly will lead to red eyes, as THC binds with cannabinoid receptors in the eye. 

So regular marijuana users should be careful about the choice of cannabis strains they use, because different strains have different effects on the red eye color.

Cannabis products with high THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) will make your red eyes much more noticeable than a low THC product

The higher the THC content, the worse the red-eye problem would be.

So, if you want to reduce or avoid this red eye problem, then it is a good idea to choose a low THC strain.

6. Try natural home remedies

Trying natural home remedies such as drinking coffee or eating dark chocolate might help to constrict your blood vessels and make your eyes less red. 

Of course, if this doesn’t do the trick, there is always a cold compress or a pair of sunglasses as a last resort.

Why Does Marijuana Make Your Eyes Red? The Bottom Line

It’s no secret that marijuana makes your eyes red. The short answer lies in the drug’s chemical makeup. 

Pot contains an active ingredient called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which binds to cannabinoid receptors throughout the body’s endocannabinoid system

First, understand why red eyes occur after smoking pot in the first place.THC is a vasodilator, meaning it widens blood vessels. 

When blood vessels widen, blood flows more freely through the vessels and into surrounding tissues.

In the case of your eyes, more blood flow means more bloodshot eyes.

Tetrahydrocannabinol’s ability to widen blood vessels also increases blood flow to the capillaries around your eye.

Increased blood flow causes redness.