Using cannabis can produce several physical and mental effects, including dry mouth, coughing, increased appetite, and most notably, red eyes. This is a common phenomenon that has puzzled users for decades.
In this article, we will explore the science behind why using cannabis makes your eyes red. We’ll delve into the anatomy of the eye, the role of the endocannabinoid system, and the various factors that can impact eye redness after using cannabis. By understanding the causes and mechanisms, we can gain insight into this distinctive side effect and why it occurs in some people but not others.
What happens after you consume cannabis?
After you consume cannabis, the active compounds (primarily products with THC) bind to cannabinoid receptors in your body, particularly in the brain and the central nervous system. The endocannabinoid system is a complex network of receptors, enzymes, and neurotransmitters that regulate various functions in the body, including mood, appetite, pain sensation, and more.
When THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the eye, it causes blood vessels to expand, leading to increased blood flow and redness in the eyes. This effect is commonly referred to as “bloodshot eyes.” Additionally, the increased blood flow and reduced tear production caused by THC can also cause dry eye and itching, further contributing to eye redness and discomfort. Other factors such as genetics, tolerance, and the potency of the cannabis products can also impact the severity and duration of feeling stoned and having eye redness.
In summary, the endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in mediating the effects of cannabis on the body, and the redness of the eyes is a result of THC-induced changes in blood flow and tear production in the eye.
Do edibles also make your eyes red?
Consuming cannabis edibles does not typically cause red eyes. Unlike inhaling smoke or vapor, ingesting edibles allows the active compounds to be absorbed through the digestive system and enter the bloodstream, which leads to systemic effects throughout the body.
While edibles can produce similar psychoactive effects as inhaled cannabis, they do not cause the same degree of eye redness as inhaling smoke or vapor. This is because the active compounds in edibles do not directly affect the blood vessels in the eye in the same way that inhaling smoke or vapor does. However, other side effects such as dry mouth and increased appetite may still occur with edibles.
The redder your eyes get is better?
The redness of the eyes is not a direct indicator of the potency or quality of the cannabis product. While red eyes can be a noticeable side effect of using cannabis, it is not scientifically accurate to say that the redder the eyes go, the better the experience or the stronger the product.
Eye redness is primarily a result of THC-induced changes in blood flow in the eye and can be influenced by several factors such as genetics, tolerance, and the potency of the cannabis product. However, these factors do not necessarily correspond to the overall quality or potency of the product. Additionally, some users may not experience noticeable eye redness even with high doses of THC, while others may experience severe eye redness with lower doses.
Using cannabis can produce a range of physical and mental effects, including red eyes. This effect occurs when THC, the active compound in cannabis, binds to cannabinoid receptors in the eye and causes blood vessels to expand, leading to increased blood flow and redness. The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in mediating these effects. The severity and duration of eye redness can be influenced by various factors such as genetics, tolerance, and the potency of the cannabis product. However, the redness of the eyes should not be used as a definitive measure of the potency or quality of a cannabis product. Edibles, on the other hand, do not typically cause eye redness.
References and further reading
- “Marijuana and the Eye.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, n.d., https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/marijuana-and-eye.
- “Cannabis and the Eye: A Review of the Literature.” Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, vol. 54, no. 5, 2019, pp. 461–466., doi:10.1016/j.jcjo.2019.01.004.
- “Marijuana’s Effects on the Eye.” Healthline, n.d., https://www.healthline.com/health/marijuana-and-eye-health.
- “Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System: How THC Affects the Body.” Leaf Science, n.d., https://www.leafscience.com/2017/03/27/cannabis-endocannabinoid-system-thc-affects-body/.