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How to Prevent Red Eyes After Consuming Cannabis

Tuesday January 7, 2020

T here’s nothing wrong with smoking some weed every now and then to chill yourself out or make your daily routine a little more fun. As long as you’re not operating heavy machinery, performing surgery, or running point on a hostage negotiation, you’re usually all good. Still, it’s better to stay discreet when possible. Being stoned is pretty fun, but there are few thoughts that will harsh your experience faster than “Everyone around me knows that I’m high.”

Of course, you already know the basics of how to cover up a quick toke. You can hide the smell by smoking outside, minting up your breath, changing your clothes, or using a dry herb vape. However, the one thing that’s hardest to hide is a case of red eyes. There’s a reason that it’s one of the most well-known signs of having indulged in some herb.

While some smokers never have to deal with red eyes, they are a lucky few. (They probably never get cottonmouth either.) Others deal with red eye their first few times smoking weed and then never again. Other consumers deal with it every time as though it’s some type of curse.

Whether or not you get red eye has a lot to do with your genetics, the strain being smoked, and other factors. For example, the more often you indulge, the less prominent the red eye will be. Much like time perception, your body seems to get used to it and adjust the more you do it.

What Causes Red Eyes After Smoking Cannabis?

Despite what you may think, it’s not the irritants in the smoke wafting up from your bowl or your joint that give your peepers that “Just went through a wind tunnel” look. It’s not from the coughing either. One of the effects of THC, the cannabinoid molecule doing most of the heavy lifting in marijuana, is that it can lower blood pressure. Unfortunately, where this effect is most noticeable is in the windows to the soul, your eyes.

As the pressure lowers in your inner eyeball, the small capillaries and blood vessels running through the whites of your eyes have more room to stretch out – thus, they become much more visible.

On the plus side, this is exactly why cannabis has been used as a medicine to treat glaucoma for years. By lowering intraocular pressure in the eye, it alleviates impaired vision by increasing the flow of nutrients into the ocular nerves. There’s even evidence that cannabis can help treat a number of symptoms of eye problems, and may help to prevent long term retinal damage.

How to Prevent or Get Rid of Red Eyes

Red eye from smoking cannabis will go away on its own after a couple of hours. But if you’re in a situation that you can’t just wait out, there are a couple of options that can help you recover faster so that you don’t have to blame a fake diagnosis of dual pink eye.

Eye Drops

This is of course, the standard red eye relief. Whether the owners of eye drop brands like Visine know it or not, stoners have helped to put their kids and grandkids through college since the 1970s. (They know).

If you know you’re going to be burning one down before attending a social gathering, it’s best to put a small bottle of eye drops in your pocket or purse (there’s a reason they’re sold in travel size). If you forgot yours at home or need it one the fly, they’ll be available in any drug store, grocery store, convenience store, or gas station (there’s a reason for that too). Just one or two drops and your Incredible Hulk-sized blood vessels will shrink back down to Bruce Banner proportions in no time. Only use the recommended amount, though.

Drink Some Water

Sometimes red eye can be caused by dehydration from other issues, such as drinking too much caffeine or not staying hydrated on a hot day. A glass or two of water may help clear your whites out a little. It’s also a healthy choice for your body and may help with any dry mouth you’re experiencing.

Cold Compress or Ice Pack

If you’re near a refrigerator, or even a sink with frigid water, a cold compress can make a big difference. Like some other body parts, blood vessels shrink down when they get cold. This should hide the red and also wake you up a little.

Get a towel or cloth wet, put some ice in it if it’s available, and hold it onto your closed eyes for about 5-10 minutes. When you no longer look like you stared into a wind tunnel, take off the compress and go on with your day.

Low-THC Strains

If red eyes are a regular issue, then the solution might be to decrease the amount of THC that you are consuming when you smoke up. Since THC is the main culprit, avoiding it should fix the problem. Low THC strains don’t necessarily mean less of a good time. There are still plenty of cannabinoids and terpenes that combine through the entourage effect into a fantastic experience.

Sunglasses

Look, if you can’t get to some eye drops or a cold compress, your options are already pretty limited. You can either lie about having just watched a particularly emotional episode of This Is Us, or you can throw on some shades and be the coolest person in the room, or at least the most mysterious. If you’re outside and the sun’s out, even better.

Red eye is not a huge deal and something that can be easily taken care of with a little planning ahead or a little triage in the moment. Like dry mouth, it’s a minor annoyance that comes with indulging the herb. And like dry mouth, a little preparation can go a long way towards enjoying your high and the rest of your day.

Do you have any tips for avoiding red eyes after consuming cannabis? Share your thoughts and experiences with other readers in the comments below.

Everyone knows that consuming cannabis poses the risk of having red eyes in return. Luckily, there are several ways to prevent getting red eyes after smoking weed. Learn the top tips and tricks for making sure your eyes don't turn red after consuming marijuana.

How to Get Rid of Red Eyes After Smoking Weed

Weed will give you red eyes, whether you choose smoking, edibles, dabbing or vaping. This post from GreenCamp highlights why cannabis makes your eyes red and how to get rid of it.

Before we get into the specifics of the red eye syndrome, I just wanted to say that the redness of the sclera (also known as the white of the eye) is a completely non-dangerous side effect of cannabis consumption, so if you’ve found this article to check if you’re in any immediate danger do not fret, everything is quite alright.

On the other hand, if you want to get all the facts about the “red eyes condition” stay tuned, as we’re going to cover all there is to know about this classical pot-lover giveaway.

Why do your eyes get red when you’re high

Even though many people still believe that red eyes are caused by the smoke from a joint (or a blunt or a bong), this is completely untrue, because no matter what type of consumption a person chooses, ranging from smoking, edibles, dabbing or vaping, the red eyes are gonna be there.

The reason behind the redness is actually THC.

One of the many ways that tetrahydrocannabinol affects us is that it decreases our blood pressure.

If you’re unfamiliar with how blood pressure works, I suggest you watch this awesome animation from TED Education, so you’ll understand the continuation of this text more easily.

One of the effects of a decreased blood pressure is the expansion of our blood vessels (which include arteries, veins and capillaries).

In the case of our eyes, the ocular capillaries become dilated and take in more blood, which in favor makes the eyes appear more red in color, because of these expanded blood vessels on the surface of the sclera.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (by reducing blood pressure), also reduces the intraocular pressure of the eye. Increased intraocular pressure is the key factor for all glaucoma diseases, and lowering the IOP (or intraocular pressure), is the only way for us battle glaucoma, which when left untreated can results in a severe loss of vision, and ultimately blindness.

One of the first studies conducted on this correlation showed that high THC strains can lower the IOP in the range of 25% to 30%.

The main issue with treating glaucoma with marijuana is that the IOP needs to be constantly lowered in order for the eye to function properly (edibles are best for this because of their extended duration), while the second issue is that the users who constantly consume large quantities of THC can experience some side effects in their everyday life.

The difference in people

If you and the people around you regularly consume cannabis, you probably already noticed that the same strain has a very differing effect on different people.

These contrasting effects happen because of a couple of key factors which include genetics, gender, overall health and frequency of consumption (increased frequency causes cannabinoid tolerance).

You also might have noticed the same thing about the eyes. Some people get really intense bloodshot eyes, while on others the difference is barely visible, or even non-existent.

The redness is completely dependant on the person’s blood pressure. For instance, if you have a high blood pressure, THC won’t be able to decrease it enough for your eyes to become really super-red.

I myself actually have a completely opposite problem, as my blood pressure is rather low, so when I consume a potent THC strain, I literally look like the Terminator.

Besides the redness, I can also experience weakness in the legs and faint-like symptoms when the session includes several joints/blunts.

This of course doesn’t only come as a result of a low blood pressure, but is brought about from a complex equation of several factors I previously mentioned like age, sex, health, genetics etc…

Allergies can also play a factor in the overall “bloodshot volume”, as there are many people who are very sensitive to smoke. Not just cannabis smoke, but rather all smoke in general.

Another possibility for increased redness is cannabis allergy, but for users who have this unfortunate issue, red eyes is the least of their concerns. To find out more about this rare condition, click on the link above.

We’ve now summed up the entire science behind the red eyes, so in the continuation I’ll be focusing on what we can do to diminish this telltale, because sometimes we just don’t want everybody to know that we’re flying high.

How to get rid of red eyes after smoking weed

The most common way to alleviate your red eyes are of course various over-the-counter eye drops that are designed for eye allergies, redness and itchiness.

Pretty much all variations contain tetryzoline (also known as tetrahydrozoline), which is an alpha agonist that causes dilated blood vessels to constrict.

As I previously mentioned, THC makes our blood vessels and capillaries to dilate (directly causing the redness), so the eye drops reverse this effect and return our eyes to a normal state.

These types of medications are generally quite safe for use, but we here at Greencamp strongly recommend that you always carefully read the manual that comes with the drops.

There are a few alternatives to eye drops which can also constrict the blood vessels in our body, such as caffeine, chocolate, liquorice and sodium.

Also, a common misconception is that increased hydration can be used for reducing the redness of the eyes, which is unfortunately entirely false.

People frequently perceive the redness as a sign of dehydration, because they associate it with the accompanying sensation of dry mouth.

One of the many ways cannabis influences us is by activating the endocannabinoid receptors that are found in our salivary glands. Once excited by cannabinoids from weed, they slow down the fabrication of saliva, which causes us to feel like there’s a desert where our mouth used to be.

Weed will give you red eyes, whether you choose smoking, edibles, dabbing or vaping. Learn why cannabis makes your eyes red and how to get rid of it. ]]>