Does CBD make your eyes red – Get The Facts
People have been smoking cannabis for a long time now, and the psychoactive effects of smoking cannabis have long since been known. Even long before THC was discovered or understood, we knew that we could use cannabis to feel good in all sorts of ways, from mood elevation to pain relief. But more recently, we’ve begun to understand exactly what’s in cannabis, what THC is and does, and now we’re beginning to learn more and more about cannabidiol (CBD) and the other cannabinoids found in cannabis.
THC is the key compound that made cannabis so famous (which is fair, since it’s the part that actually gets you high), but CBD is finding its time in the spotlight. CBD offers a host of incredible properties from insomnia relief to pain relief (it can even help with anxiety). But, despite CBD’s full legal status and the general acceptance of cannabis culture, there is still some stigma surrounding cannabis use.
Getting caught with stereotypical bloodshot red eyes can still land you in hot water with some people. So what if you aren’t even planning on getting high and just want to take some CBD for your back pain? Will that make you give off the impression that you just smoked a fatty before you showed up? We’ll answer all your questions about CBD, THC, red eyes, and more, and we’ll show you our favorite ways to clear up red bloodshot eyes.
Does CBD make your eyes red?
In short, no. In fact, a very resounding no. CBD does not, will not, cannot make your eyes red. It completely lacks the properties in THC that cause bloodshot eyes. This means if you’re just taking CBD, you’re good to go! There are no notable side effects, including red eyes, so you can take your favorite CBD gummies or CBD vape pen anytime and anywhere without fear of looking stoned. But what about those of us that want to take our CBD with some good, old fashioned, THC-laden cannabis? Well, if that’s your plan, you can pretty much count on bloodshot eyes to pair with your giggles and munchies.
Why does smoking cannabis make your eyes red?
While the main reason for red eyes when we smoke cannabis is basically a side effect of getting high, there can actually be a few more reasons it could make your eyes red. Keep in mind that although CBD itself won’t make your eyes red, if you’re coupling it with THC (or if you’re smoking a high CBD strain that still has a considerable amount of THC in it) and don’t want to be called out for your stoney eyes, you’ll need to take steps to prevent that from happening.
The number one reason for red eyes when we use cannabis is resultant of the same thing that gets us high – THC. When THC enters the system, your blood vessels expand, causing blood pressure to drop. This lower blood pressure leads to increased blood flow to make up for the lower pressure. This becomes particularly apparent in our eyes, which take on a red hue as the blood vessels expand and blood flow increases to make up for the lower blood pressure.
Beyond the fact that THC lowers blood pressure, there can be several other factors that cause or worsen red eyes. One of these is simply irritation. If you’ve ever found yourself sitting in a hazy cloud after a couple of blunts, rubbing your eyes from irritation, then you’ll already be aware of just how irritating smoke can be for the eyes. While hotboxing may be touted as a way to get the most out of your cannabis, it’s certainly never going to help with your red eyes.
Another reason cannabis use makes eyes red besides lower blood pressure is all the coughing that can come along with a good rip. We’ve all got that one friend who always milks the bong a little harder than they should and winds up coughing up a lung. A good coughing fit can also affect your blood pressure, thus affecting your blood vessels and making your eyes that much more red.
While allergies certainly don’t affect every cannabis user, many of us have at least a mild allergy to cannabis (or other things that can wind up on the cannabis we smoke, such as pet dander and other types of pollen). If you’re worried about red eyes and have a known allergy to cannabis, you’re going to basically have to use something to clear up your severely irritated, watery, itchy, stoney red eyes.
How can I fix my red eyes?
While a couple of basic fixes may help reduce red eyes (like smoking in an open air environment or taking allergy medication), there’s really just one surefire fix for red eyes: eyedrops. If you have an aversion to putting in eyedrops, you may be better off smoking when you’re sure to be in good company that won’t care about your red eyes. And if you’re just not used to eyedrops, don’t worry – they aren’t so bad once you get used to putting them in yourself.
Rohto Redness Relief Drops – $4.98
Rohto is our number one go-to for redness relief. Your red eyes don’t stand a chance against these incredible eye drops. Keep in mind that they’re also “cooling” eye drops, so if you’re not used to those, don’t be caught off guard by the cooling sensation. Some people call it a slight burning sensation the first time they use eye drops like these, but it becomes a very enjoyable one after a use or two. Most importantly, these eye drops will absolutely clear up your red eyes.
LUMIFY Redness Relief Drops – $19.93
LUMIFY is another incredible product for your eyes. These drops are the only OTC eye drops that use brimonidine, an active ingredient which targets the source of redness without some of the side effects of other redness relievers. The price tag may seem a little steep, but after you put these in your eyes you’ll never go back to other drops.
Clear Eyes Redness Relief Drops – $5.44
Clear Eyes is one of the best-known redness relief drops (who doesn’t remember that old Ben Stein adds with the bloodshot eye beachball?). These drops are perfect for red eyes, and they come without the intense cooling effect of some other drops. Keep in mind that these aren’t as strong as our first two products, so they’ll probably cover up a bowl or two, but deep bloodshot red eyes may not clear up as completely.
Visine Advanced Redness Relief – $5.99
Visine is another time tested, tried-and-true brand. Their popularity has been well-earned for decades now. This new formula designed specifically for eye redness is a great mix of effective and affordable. In some patients, Visine can cause a bit of a “yellowing” effect, rather than truly “whitening,” so you’ll have to try them out and see if they suit your needs.
Similasan Complete Eye Relief Drops – $15.99
If your red eyes are the product of more than just getting high, whether it’s irritation, allergies, or both, these are the perfect drops for your tired eyes. Formulated with natural active ingredients, these are free of any harsh vasoconstrictors which can be damaging to the eyes. Grab this money-saving two-pack and enjoy all-natural relief for your red eyes.
To reiterate, if you’ve been wondering “does CBD make your eyes red,” the answer is a very firm no. CBD is perfect for relief without inebriation, but your red eyes are entirely the product of THC. Both THC and CBD are extremely unique and helpful components of the cannabis plant, but their effects are quite far from each other.
If you want to read further into the world of cannabis, check out these topics:
- Does all cannabis contain CBD and THC?
- How do THC and CBD interact?
- Does THC have medicinal properties?
Written by Megan Medeiros (BA)
Megan Medeiros has a bachelor’s degree in English and is currently working on a master’s in English at James Madison University . She’s the owner and operator of Medeiros Writing , and has been working as a cannabis writer for the past three years, mostly following the legal climate of marijuana, especially in areas like California, Colorado, Oregon, Canada, and other legal areas.
People have been smoking cannabis for a long time now, and the psychoactive effects of smoking cannabis have long since been known. Even long before THC was discovered or understood, we knew that we could use cannabis to feel good in all sorts of ways, from mood elevation to pain relief. But more recently, we’ve begun
Does CBD Cause Red Eyes? Scientifically Explained
Most of us are familiar with the “stoner” stereotype that’s so commonly portrayed in movies and on T.V. shows. It’s usually a long-haired slacker burnout with bloodshot eyes that look like they’ve fallen victim to a spray or two of concentrated pepper spray.
Despite the cliché, however, red, watery, inflamed eyes are indeed one of the most common side effects of cannabis use. But that side effect is commonly associated with marijuana that’s high in THC.
So what about cannabidiol? Does CBD cause red eyes too? In a nutshell, no, it doesn’t. But of course, the answer isn’t quite as simple as that. Keep reading for all you could ever want to know about cannabis, marijuana, THC, and whether CBD causes bloodshot eyes.
Cannabis, CBD, and Bloodshot Eyes
There is little denying that cannabis has the potential to help ease a litany of medical conditions and symptoms. Of course, cannabis plants can differ wildly in terms of their chemical profile. As far as effects on the human body are concerned, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are typically regarded as the two compounds that are best known to influence our physiology.
As far as red eyes in particular, however, THC seems to be the sole culprit. When THC enters the body, it lowers blood pressure and thereby dilates blood vessels. This includes tiny blood vessels that rest behind the eye.
When the vessels dilate (widen), blood flow to the eyes increases rather substantially. This helps to lower built-up pressure and is coincidentally the reason why high-THC cannabis is often used for glaucoma. And that goes for any THC consumption. Things like high-THC edibles and oils will produce equally bloodshot eyes as smoking can.
Things like high-THC edibles and oils will produce equally bloodshot eyes as smoking can.
Unfortunately, the increased flow of blood to the eyes also results in the red, puffy, watery, irritated-looking eye look that’s become so stereotypical of marijuana users over the generations.
CBD does not produce these same kinds of effects, so if you’ve been asking the question ‘does CBD cause red eyes,’ the answer is a fairly resounding ‘no.’ Of course, users could still experience watery eyes from a reaction to the smoke (or some other allergen), but it shouldn’t be the CBD itself that’s causing the irritation.
[If you’re still learning the basics of cannabis, read on below to find out more about what CBD is, what type of cannabis it comes from, and how it differs from THC].
CBD: What Is It?
Although there are hundreds of compounds in marijuana, CBD is one of the main components. As we discussed above, CBD is short for cannabidiol. CBD is found in most strains of cannabis, though in differing amounts.
For example, in potent, THC-heavy strains, CBD may only be present in trace amounts. In high-CBD strains, however, it can account for as much as 20% or more of the plant’s dry weight.
CBD’s chemical structure is quite similar to that of THC. The difference lies in one critical element: CBD contains an extra combination of hydrogen and oxygen. This subtle change enables CBD to work without disrupting cognitive processes.
By most accounts, CBD is cited as safe to use in a variety of forms. A recent report by the World Health Organization corroborates this by stating that CBD “exhibits no effects indicative of abuse or dependence potential.” The report also says, “there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
How CBD Works
The body must keep processes such as temperature, mood, memory, and movement in balance, which is called homeostasis. The endocannabinoid system, also known as the ECS, plays a massive role in this endeavor.
The ECS is abundant in both the peripheral and central nervous systems. It consists of a network of receptors and endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are made in the human body. The cannabinoids that are found in cannabis plants are called phytocannabinoids. CBD and THC, of course, are both phytocannabinoids.
While THC directly binds to endocannabinoid receptors, however, (thereby galvanizing cognitive changes), CBD acts in a more indirect manner. CBD doesn’t appear to bind directly with any receptor. Instead, it seems to influence a variety of receptor-independent pathways and ion channels to produce a range of beneficial effects.
The dilation of blood vessels is not included among this ‘range of beneficial effects.’ For this reason, we can more or less dispel the myth that CBD causes red eyes.
So CBD Doesn’t Cause Red Eyes… But is it Legal?
After the passing of an updated version of the U.S. Farm Bill back in 2018, many people assumed that CBD became fully legal in the United States. This was because the Farm Bill legalized hemp, which is a distinct cultivar of cannabis that contains high levels of CBD and minimal THC.
The exact legal implications of CBD use under the Farm Bill are a little more complicated than this general assumption. The reality is that hemp-derived CBD products are widely available in most parts of the United States – even in states that do not have medical cannabis programs. Due to their lack of intoxicating effects, consumers use CBD products for their potential therapeutic benefit rather than as recreational substances.
Due to their lack of intoxicating effects, consumers use CBD products for their potential therapeutic benefit rather than as recreational substances.
Individuals are finding that CBD may be an alternative option for things like stress, anxiety, pain, and trouble sleeping. The FDA-approved drug Epidiolex, which is a CBD-based prescription-only medication, is used to treat epilepsy.
Marijuana, on the other hand, is still, of course, a Schedule I substance in the USA. Its use and possession is barred by federal law. However, many individual states have chosen to legalize it in some form or another.
Some states, for example, allow only for the medicinal use of marijuana. Other states permit recreational use. Users must keep advised on the particular laws of their state.
The Science Behind Cannabis and Red Eyes (CBD Isn’t the Culprit!)
A fascinating presentation by Dr. Denise A. Valenti highlights the opposing effects that THC and CBD appear to have on intraocular pressure of the eye (IOP).
In the presentation, Dr. Valenti states that while cannabis is often used to lower pressure in the eye, this is only due to the presence of THC. CBD, she argues, actually works to “spike the pressure in the eye.”
Her claims were further backed up by a 2008 human study that examined the effects of various THC and CBD doses on six glaucoma patients. The results of the study showed that while a 5 mg dose of THC lowered intraocular pressure, a 40 mg dose of CBD actually raised it, while a 20 mg CBD dose had no effect.
While the specific physiology for these reverse IOP effects is not well-understood, it is quite clear that when it comes to red eyes, CBD and THC appear to have opposite effects.
Getting the Red Out
If you do have red eyes from cannabis use, rest assured it’s not too complicated to resolve. Methods for both the avoidance and mollification of marijuana-induced bloodshot eyes include proper hydration and the use of quality eye drops. Or, changing strains from a high-THC strain to a high-CBD/low-THC one may do the trick as well.
All in all, we hope that this article has helped to address the question of whether or not CBD causes red eyes. If you want to use cannabis but aren’t too keen on the irritated eye look, the responsible consumption of quality CBD products may provide an opportunity to experience beneficial effects without suffering from puffy, watery, red eyes.
Weed is known for causing red eyes, but what about CBD? We take a look at how this cannabinoid affects the body, and whether it causes this side effect.