Why Does Weed Make Your Eyes Red? How to Get Rid of Stoned Eyes
Every cannabis user’s experience with the plant is unique, but there are a few telltale signs that someone has been smoking weed. There are the uncontrollable giggles, munchies, and of course, bloodshot eyes. Whether you’ve been consuming marijuana for a week or a decade, odds are you’ve looked in the mirror after a smoke session and wondered “why are my eyes red?”
The answer to that question delves deep into marijuana’s medicinal properties, the varying effects of different cannabinoids, and exactly what happens when weed enters our bodily system. And because so-called stoned eyes are a natural occurrence for both novice and experienced potheads, we’ll cover edibles, vapes, and the best options for eliminating marijuana eyes when you need to be presentable in public.
Why Does Marijuana Make Your Eyes Red?
So why does weed make your eyes red? Without getting too far into the science, it all comes down to blood pressure and blood vessels. When THC – the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis – enters the body, it causes an immediate increase in heart rate and blood pressure. The jolt to your circulatory system is akin to a jog around the block or a quick game of pick-up basketball. Unlike prolonged exercise, though, only ten minutes or so after the THC is processed, blood pressure and heart rate will return to normal resting rates.
As blood pressure begins to lower, blood vessels begin to dilate. This phenomenon happens all over the body but is most visible in the ocular capillaries. With more blood rushing to your eyes, they quickly begin to look red and glossed over. At the same time, that increased blood flow to the eyes relieves intraocular pressure. Because intraocular pressure is a key agitating symptom of glaucoma, marijuana’s quick-relief has made the plant a mainstay in the treatment of the common eye ailment since the 1990s. So while the increased blood flow to your ocular capillaries is what causes red eyes, it is also the sensation that causes relief for thousands upon thousands of glaucoma patients using medical marijuana.
How Do Different Cannabinoids Effect Eye Redness?
The eye-reddening effects of cannabis are tied directly to THC consumption. It is THC that causes increased blood pressure and heart rate, and the subsequent expansion of ocular blood vessels. In practical terms, that means that the more THC you consume, the redder your eyes will become.
As users build a tolerance to THC, though, they may notice a significant decrease in eye redness. In the same way that frequent cannabis consumption will eventually decrease the strength of intoxication, regular pot users experience less fluctuation in blood pressure and heart rate, and in turn lower levels of capillary dilation. Likewise, cannabis users who prefer CBD, CBG, or CBN-dominant strains will experience significantly less eye redness than THC consumers. Unlike the immediate rush of THC, CBD, CBG, and CBN have far less psychoactive effects, and can even decrease blood pressure, eliminating the cardiovascular reaction and eventual red eyes of traditional, full-strength THC cannabis.
Do Edibles Make Your Eyes Red?
Just like smoking flower, the eye-reddening effect of cannabis edibles depends entirely on the amount of THC in the infused product. If your favorite edible has 50mg of THC, there is a high chance that you’ll end up with bloodshot eyes. If your next magic brownie is full of CBD and only a few milligrams of THC, you likely won’t look nearly as stoned in public. Because the THC from traditional edibles is processed through the liver and not directly through the bloodstream it takes a little bit longer for edibles to get you high, and the bloodshot eye effect is similarly delayed.
The same general principle goes for vape cartridges, dabs, tinctures, topicals, and other cannabis products. If your chosen consumption method contains a fair amount of THC, the cardiovascular system chain reaction we’ve been discussing will likely cause your eyes to turn red and give away your heady habits. If you use a CBD vape cart or take a CBN tincture, you won’t let on about your cannabis secret.
How To Get Rid Of Stoned Eyes
Now that we know the science behind red eyes and which cannabis products do and don’t result in bloodshot selfies, it’s time to break down how to eliminate the pesky pot side effect. After all, cannabis is still a Schedule I drug, and sometimes it helps to hide your love affair with Mary Jane. If you need to hit a dinner party or office function after a smoke session and you don’t want to let on that you need a little weed to make the function fun, there are a few options for masking your red eyes.
First, hit up your local convenience store or pharmacy and find the eye drop aisle. Basic eye drops are a great way to quickly and easily clear the stoned look off your face. For even quicker relief, redness-reducing eye drops contain active ingredients like Tetrahydrozoline or Naphazoline that artificially clamp down the blood vessels in the eye. These products are entirely safe to use sparingly, but if used frequently, can cause eyes to dry out and could even increase eye redness if used too often.
If you’re using eye drops too often and need an all-natural cure for stoned eyes, try to up your water intake. Increased hydration won’t make your red eyes clear immediately, but it will help relieve any dryness that might keep your eyes bloodshot. Lastly, you can let your body work its course and get rid of your red eyes with the help of father time. Sure, you might need to avoid your in-laws or professors for a couple of hours, but you won’t be looking wide-eyed and paranoid into your front-facing camera, either.
Do you have a super-secret technique to cure cannabis-induced red eyes? Spill the beans and let us know in the comments below.
Every cannabis user’s experience with the plant is unique, but there are a few telltale signs that someone has been smoking weed. There are the uncontrollable giggles, munchies, and of course, bloodshot eyes. Whether you’ve been consuming marijuana for a week or a decade, odds are you’ve looked in the mirror after a smoke session and wondered
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.