Retinitis pigmentosa is a degenerative condition that destroys the millions of microscopic light sensors (also called photoreceptors) in the human eye. This illness is also the main cause of blindness all over the world and has no effective treatment currently. But now researcher at the University of Alicante in Spain published their findings earlier this month in the journal Experimental Eye Research, saying that certain marijuana may also prevent blindness from retinitis pigmentosa.
To prove their study, the scientists had given a synthetic cannabinoid (active chemicals in marijuana) to a group of rats for ninety days and found that these rats did better on vision tests as well as exhibited 40% more photoreceptors left in their eyes than untreated rats did. Rats that were given the drug also had " improved connectivity between photoreceptors and their postsynaptic neurons," which receive and process light signals.
"These data suggest that cannabinoids are potential useful to delay retinal degeneration in retinitis pigmentosa patients," said Dr. Cuena.
Actually, cannabinoid has been long accepted in the medicine for its positive effects on vision for nearly four decades, and it is currently used to treat patients suffering from another serious eye disease, glaucoma. But study on marijuana as a therapy for retinitis pigmentosa was the first time. And researchers stress that more research is needed to form definitive conclusions.
Check more information on the findings in the journal Experimental Eye Research.