Does CBD Make Your Eyes Red?
A lot of the stereotypes associated with CBD are often confused with THC. One of those stereotypes is the bloodshot, or red watery eyes.
Although red eyes aren't dangerous, it's one of the common signs of cannabis use. It's commonly associated with marijuana that has a high THC content. Because some CBD products have trace amounts of THC, potential CBD users have to wonder if using CBD can cause red eyes as well.
The Science Behind Cannabis and Red Eyes
The best place to start the discussion is by first understanding what causes cannabis users to have red eyes.
Your eyes appear red when the small blood vessels between the white of the eye and the conjunctiva become dilated. There are numerous environmental and lifestyle factors that can cause the dilation of these capillaries.
Red eyes are commonly caused by allergies and eye infections. Wearing contacts all day is another common practice that causes red eyes. Glaucoma can also cause your eyes to become red.
Smoking or using cannabis, particularly if it is high in THC, can also cause you to have red eyes. When THC enters the body, it lowers the blood pressure, causing the blood vessels to dilate, including those tiny capillaries that rest behind the eye.
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When the vessels dilate, blood flow to the eyes increases substantially. This helps to lower the built-up pressure. It’s one of the reasons why high-THC cannabis is often used in the treatment of glaucoma.
It’s not just smoking THC that will produce bloodshot eyes. Eating edibles and using oil that are high in THC will have the same results. The increased blood flow to the eyes is what makes the eyes look red, puffy and watery.
Does CBD Make Your Eyes Red?
The role of CBD in interocular pressure is not clearly defined. As such, it’s difficult to tell if CBD can cause you to have red eyes on its own.
There are other factors that might contribute to having red after taking CBD. This includes using full-spectrum CBD products that have tiny amounts of CBD that could cause some users to have red eyes.
Cases of allergy to some flavonoids, terpenes and other compounds in the hemp flower have also been reported. These could contribute to red eyes, particularly among CBD users who are sensitive to eye irritation.
CBD alone hasn’t been found to cause red eyes. However, you might still experience watery eyes because of the smoke or other allergens. However, it’s rare for CBD users using CBD isolate to report red eyes.
Why Do People Think CBD Causes Red Eyes?
Over the last several years, there have been many positive developments surrounding CBD that have allowed it to explode in popularity and consumption.
Unfortunately, these developments haven’t changed the stigma and myths that surround CBD. CBD isn't the only known cannabinoid. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a close relative to CBD, has been known to researchers and the public for a longer time. It’s particularly known for its psychoactive properties. THC is also known to cause red eyes because it is an excellent ocular vasodilator. It’s such an excellent dilator that it is often used for the treatment of glaucoma.
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Because of CBD’s close association with THC, it often receives the same backlash as THC. Its recent rise to fame means that there's still not as much known about CBD as THC. Therefore, most people that are not familiar with CBD will instantly think that CBD will have the same effects as THC, which is incorrect.
Although there is minimal evidence on the role of CBD in ocular pressure, it appears that THC is the main culprit in causing red eyes. There are other minor factors like allergies to flavonoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant.
For CBD lovers that still have red eyes, using CBD isolate can help to reduce the chances of getting red eyes. Some CBD users who prefer to take full-spectrum CBD also have eye drops to counter the redness when they take CBD containing THC.