Cannabis Can Lead To Visual Impairment, Study Shows

There have been numerous studies about the health benefits of Cannabis use. However, research has shown that its long term consumption can lead to visual impairment.

Cannabis is currently being used for recreational, medicinal and religious purposes. Nationwide legalizations of the herb have led to its increased availability in the market. This has also caused an exponential increase in its daily use.

Over the years, numerous studies have been conducted to determine the health and medicinal benefits of cannabis use. THC and CBD are two major components of the herb responsible for the widespread side effects and benefits of its consumption.

Also read: Illinois’ Cannabis Tax Revenue Touches $52 million Mark After Six Months Only

Several animal and human based studies have pointed towards potential use of cannabis for treating different diseases, including cancer and the Coronavirus infection. However, research has shown that it may also cause visual impairment in the long run.

The Study

A French Study focused on determining the effects of cannabis use on retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). The research consisted of 52 participants that included 28 regular cannabis users. These were the ones who smoked the herb at least once every day.

A retinal ganglion cell can be classified as a neuron that is located near the retina. It is responsible for receiving visual information sent by photoreceptors, through two middle neurons. The cells then process this information, allowing you to see.

The study showed that regular use of Cannabis caused a delay in the transmission of signals by RGCs. This could be considered an early sign of visual impairment. However, the experts stressed that more research needs to be conducted for definitive results. These effects might have been purely circumstantial. Further, the researchers also said that the evidence is not conclusive and the link between cannabis use and visual impairment is not very strong.

Dr. Vincent Laprevote, author of the study, said that his research team still has to measure the delay and determine if the effects are permanent or temporary.

Also read: ODC grants MGC Pharmaceuticals a Cannabis Research Cultivation Permit


Previous research has shown that cannabis is linked to disruption of the human nervous pathways. To see if the signaling delay was caused by the impact on nervous signaling, the team carried out neural signaling tests on cannabis smokers and nonsmokers. The results were then compared to determine the differences between the two groups.


The tests showed that the regular smokers experienced a 10 millisecond delay in the RCG signaling.

The findings were published in a science journal, JAMA Ophthalmology. The study concluded that even though cannabis use caused a delay in visual information signaling, it did not necessarily mean that it will result in visual impairment. Further research needs to be done before a conclusive decision is made.

Mariyam Tanveer

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