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Why smoking weed makes your eyes red

August 22, 2018

Without a doubt one of the easiest indicators that someone's high or has smoked weed recently is their eyes. Red eyes are a classic give-away that someone's smoked. While it may all but be a guarantee that some users eyes will turn deep, dark red, others who are less sensitive to irritation, red eyes may come and go depending on the quality or quantity they've consumed.


Why do we get red eyes after smoking weed? Some say it's because of all the smoke clogging up the air – that the particles lingering are the ones to blame for your irritated eyes.


Others say that red eyes are most likely an allergic reaction to smoking. While both seem logical, if not plausible, there's a more scientific reason for it.


Red, irritated eyes are caused by a change in pressure. The main psychoactive endocannabinoid in marijuana, THC, gets into your system, causing a decrease in your blood pressure. As a result, the pressure on your inner-eye lowers and causes blood vessels and capillaries to dilate. Blood flow is increased and gives small blood vessels more room to expand, resulting in what we see when we gaze, stoned, into the mirror.


Luckily for patients suffering from glaucoma the primary cause for reddening of the eyes after smoking cannabis happens to be the main reason that the plant is famous as a treatment for (glaucoma). A condition that causes increased pressure in your eye and on your retinal nerve. It can often lead to blindness, but dating back to the 1970's researchers have found a positive link between marijuana and glaucoma since the drug can help lower intraocular pressure. The relief though only lasts a few hours and so it certainly isn't a “treatment”, nevertheless it is still a fine option for patients in pain.


The most common of eye problems, retinal damage can even be improved with the use of marijuana. In fact, studies show that cannabis has neuroprotective and antioxidant properties that encourage retinal health and prevent vision loss.


Many people experience red eyes – they are surely nothing to be ashamed of – remember, it's just the marijuana doing it's medicinal thing. Red eyes are a side effect for any and all types of cannabis consumption. It does not matter whether you smoke, eat or vape your weed. The effects will be the same.


Good news! You can do something about it. Here are a few of the most common methods to avoid the bloodshot eyes you've gotten after getting high.

  • Eye drops - (like Visine) are the oldest trick in the book and a standard go-to amongst the cannabis community. They work within minutes since it helps to constrict blood vessels.

  • Water – Redness in the eyes is sometimes associated with dehydration. To be on the safe side, drink up! Bonus. The water works double time curing your cotton-mouth.

  • Sunglasses – Sure, you probably look ridiculous at 10pm in October sitting inside staring out behind a pair of dark tinted shades. But you're high, who cares?!?

  • Decrease THC – If you're really looking to decrease the redness in your eyes following a smoking session, try lower THC offerings. Smoke less.

  • Wait – Your eyes will only remain red for a few hours. Make a sandwich and wait it out. I know you're hungry...

In the end, red eyes are merely a harmless side-effect. There's no actual need to worry if you don't have clear eyes all the time. We can take solace in knowing that everyone will be affected differently based on tolerance, genetics, overall health, strains etc. so give yourself a break and try not to worry when the marijuana is doing it's job.

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