If you’ve ever seen a cartoon where someone smokes pot, their eyes get brilliantly red, don’t they? Obviously the same thing (maybe not to the same degree) happens in real life when you smoke medical marijuana. But why?
The simple answer is THC, aka tetrahydrocannabinol aka the active ingredient in cannabis that gets you high and relieves your anxiety. This cannabinoid has been proven to decrease blood pressure throughout your body, including your eyes. This is why, as we’ve talked about before, marijuana is so great for eye conditions like glaucoma. Remember, everyone is different, so some people might get more red eyes than others.
When the blood pressure in your eyeballs decreases, the arteries in your eyes expand just so and that is what creates the red eye effect. Your eyes can also get irritated by smoke, so that’s why it’s important to smoke somewhere that is well ventilated.
So is it a problem? Well, it doesn’t hurt you or cause any damage, if that’s what you’re asking. Depending on your living situation, however, you may want to avoid having red eyes when stoned. For example, if you were around a family member who looks down upon weed.
The best way to treat red eyes is just to use chemical eye drops, such as Visine or other brands that stop red eye irritation. Again, the red eye effect from cannabis isn’t going to hurt you, so only do this if you feel its necessary.
Other options include just waiting it out—your eyes will return to normal color in a few hours. You can also wear sunglasses or stay some place darker where your eyes aren’t as noticeable (such as in a movie theater). And the final option for dealing with red eyes is just to say ‘Who cares?’ and let people notice if you’re stoned or not. It’s really up to you!