Why Does Weed Make Your Eyes Red? How to Get Rid of Stoned Eyes
Every cannabis user’s experience with the plant is unique, but there are a few telltale signs that someone has been smoking weed. There are the uncontrollable giggles, munchies, and of course, bloodshot eyes. Whether you’ve been consuming marijuana for a week or a decade, odds are you’ve looked in the mirror after a smoke session and wondered “why are my eyes red?”
The answer to that question delves deep into marijuana’s medicinal properties, the varying effects of different cannabinoids, and exactly what happens when weed enters our bodily system. And because so-called stoned eyes are a natural occurrence for both novice and experienced potheads, we’ll cover edibles, vapes, and the best options for eliminating marijuana eyes when you need to be presentable in public.
Why Does Marijuana Make Your Eyes Red?
So why does weed make your eyes red? Without getting too far into the science, it all comes down to blood pressure and blood vessels. When THC – the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis – enters the body, it causes an immediate increase in heart rate and blood pressure. The jolt to your circulatory system is akin to a jog around the block or a quick game of pick-up basketball. Unlike prolonged exercise, though, only ten minutes or so after the THC is processed, blood pressure and heart rate will return to normal resting rates.
As blood pressure begins to lower, blood vessels begin to dilate. This phenomenon happens all over the body but is most visible in the ocular capillaries. With more blood rushing to your eyes, they quickly begin to look red and glossed over. At the same time, that increased blood flow to the eyes relieves intraocular pressure. Because intraocular pressure is a key agitating symptom of glaucoma, marijuana’s quick-relief has made the plant a mainstay in the treatment of the common eye ailment since the 1990s. So while the increased blood flow to your ocular capillaries is what causes red eyes, it is also the sensation that causes relief for thousands upon thousands of glaucoma patients using medical marijuana.
How Do Different Cannabinoids Effect Eye Redness?
The eye-reddening effects of cannabis are tied directly to THC consumption. It is THC that causes increased blood pressure and heart rate, and the subsequent expansion of ocular blood vessels. In practical terms, that means that the more THC you consume, the redder your eyes will become.
As users build a tolerance to THC, though, they may notice a significant decrease in eye redness. In the same way that frequent cannabis consumption will eventually decrease the strength of intoxication, regular pot users experience less fluctuation in blood pressure and heart rate, and in turn lower levels of capillary dilation. Likewise, cannabis users who prefer CBD, CBG, or CBN-dominant strains will experience significantly less eye redness than THC consumers. Unlike the immediate rush of THC, CBD, CBG, and CBN have far less psychoactive effects, and can even decrease blood pressure, eliminating the cardiovascular reaction and eventual red eyes of traditional, full-strength THC cannabis.
Do Edibles Make Your Eyes Red?
Just like smoking flower, the eye-reddening effect of cannabis edibles depends entirely on the amount of THC in the infused product. If your favorite edible has 50mg of THC, there is a high chance that you’ll end up with bloodshot eyes. If your next magic brownie is full of CBD and only a few milligrams of THC, you likely won’t look nearly as stoned in public. Because the THC from traditional edibles is processed through the liver and not directly through the bloodstream it takes a little bit longer for edibles to get you high, and the bloodshot eye effect is similarly delayed.
The same general principle goes for vape cartridges, dabs, tinctures, topicals, and other cannabis products. If your chosen consumption method contains a fair amount of THC, the cardiovascular system chain reaction we’ve been discussing will likely cause your eyes to turn red and give away your heady habits. If you use a CBD vape cart or take a CBN tincture, you won’t let on about your cannabis secret.
How To Get Rid Of Stoned Eyes
Now that we know the science behind red eyes and which cannabis products do and don’t result in bloodshot selfies, it’s time to break down how to eliminate the pesky pot side effect. After all, cannabis is still a Schedule I drug, and sometimes it helps to hide your love affair with Mary Jane. If you need to hit a dinner party or office function after a smoke session and you don’t want to let on that you need a little weed to make the function fun, there are a few options for masking your red eyes.
First, hit up your local convenience store or pharmacy and find the eye drop aisle. Basic eye drops are a great way to quickly and easily clear the stoned look off your face. For even quicker relief, redness-reducing eye drops contain active ingredients like Tetrahydrozoline or Naphazoline that artificially clamp down the blood vessels in the eye. These products are entirely safe to use sparingly, but if used frequently, can cause eyes to dry out and could even increase eye redness if used too often.
If you’re using eye drops too often and need an all-natural cure for stoned eyes, try to up your water intake. Increased hydration won’t make your red eyes clear immediately, but it will help relieve any dryness that might keep your eyes bloodshot. Lastly, you can let your body work its course and get rid of your red eyes with the help of father time. Sure, you might need to avoid your in-laws or professors for a couple of hours, but you won’t be looking wide-eyed and paranoid into your front-facing camera, either.
Do you have a super-secret technique to cure cannabis-induced red eyes? Spill the beans and let us know in the comments below.
Every cannabis user’s experience with the plant is unique, but there are a few telltale signs that someone has been smoking weed. There are the uncontrollable giggles, munchies, and of course, bloodshot eyes. Whether you’ve been consuming marijuana for a week or a decade, odds are you’ve looked in the mirror after a smoke session and wondered
How to Prevent Red Eyes After Consuming Cannabis
Tuesday January 7, 2020
T here’s nothing wrong with smoking some weed every now and then to chill yourself out or make your daily routine a little more fun. As long as you’re not operating heavy machinery, performing surgery, or running point on a hostage negotiation, you’re usually all good. Still, it’s better to stay discreet when possible. Being stoned is pretty fun, but there are few thoughts that will harsh your experience faster than “Everyone around me knows that I’m high.”
Of course, you already know the basics of how to cover up a quick toke. You can hide the smell by smoking outside, minting up your breath, changing your clothes, or using a dry herb vape. However, the one thing that’s hardest to hide is a case of red eyes. There’s a reason that it’s one of the most well-known signs of having indulged in some herb.
While some smokers never have to deal with red eyes, they are a lucky few. (They probably never get cottonmouth either.) Others deal with red eye their first few times smoking weed and then never again. Other consumers deal with it every time as though it’s some type of curse.
Whether or not you get red eye has a lot to do with your genetics, the strain being smoked, and other factors. For example, the more often you indulge, the less prominent the red eye will be. Much like time perception, your body seems to get used to it and adjust the more you do it.
What Causes Red Eyes After Smoking Cannabis?
Despite what you may think, it’s not the irritants in the smoke wafting up from your bowl or your joint that give your peepers that “Just went through a wind tunnel” look. It’s not from the coughing either. One of the effects of THC, the cannabinoid molecule doing most of the heavy lifting in marijuana, is that it can lower blood pressure. Unfortunately, where this effect is most noticeable is in the windows to the soul, your eyes.
As the pressure lowers in your inner eyeball, the small capillaries and blood vessels running through the whites of your eyes have more room to stretch out – thus, they become much more visible.
On the plus side, this is exactly why cannabis has been used as a medicine to treat glaucoma for years. By lowering intraocular pressure in the eye, it alleviates impaired vision by increasing the flow of nutrients into the ocular nerves. There’s even evidence that cannabis can help treat a number of symptoms of eye problems, and may help to prevent long term retinal damage.
How to Prevent or Get Rid of Red Eyes
Red eye from smoking cannabis will go away on its own after a couple of hours. But if you’re in a situation that you can’t just wait out, there are a couple of options that can help you recover faster so that you don’t have to blame a fake diagnosis of dual pink eye.
This is of course, the standard red eye relief. Whether the owners of eye drop brands like Visine know it or not, stoners have helped to put their kids and grandkids through college since the 1970s. (They know).
If you know you’re going to be burning one down before attending a social gathering, it’s best to put a small bottle of eye drops in your pocket or purse (there’s a reason they’re sold in travel size). If you forgot yours at home or need it one the fly, they’ll be available in any drug store, grocery store, convenience store, or gas station (there’s a reason for that too). Just one or two drops and your Incredible Hulk-sized blood vessels will shrink back down to Bruce Banner proportions in no time. Only use the recommended amount, though.
Drink Some Water
Sometimes red eye can be caused by dehydration from other issues, such as drinking too much caffeine or not staying hydrated on a hot day. A glass or two of water may help clear your whites out a little. It’s also a healthy choice for your body and may help with any dry mouth you’re experiencing.
Cold Compress or Ice Pack
If you’re near a refrigerator, or even a sink with frigid water, a cold compress can make a big difference. Like some other body parts, blood vessels shrink down when they get cold. This should hide the red and also wake you up a little.
Get a towel or cloth wet, put some ice in it if it’s available, and hold it onto your closed eyes for about 5-10 minutes. When you no longer look like you stared into a wind tunnel, take off the compress and go on with your day.
If red eyes are a regular issue, then the solution might be to decrease the amount of THC that you are consuming when you smoke up. Since THC is the main culprit, avoiding it should fix the problem. Low THC strains don’t necessarily mean less of a good time. There are still plenty of cannabinoids and terpenes that combine through the entourage effect into a fantastic experience.
Look, if you can’t get to some eye drops or a cold compress, your options are already pretty limited. You can either lie about having just watched a particularly emotional episode of This Is Us, or you can throw on some shades and be the coolest person in the room, or at least the most mysterious. If you’re outside and the sun’s out, even better.
Red eye is not a huge deal and something that can be easily taken care of with a little planning ahead or a little triage in the moment. Like dry mouth, it’s a minor annoyance that comes with indulging the herb. And like dry mouth, a little preparation can go a long way towards enjoying your high and the rest of your day.
Do you have any tips for avoiding red eyes after consuming cannabis? Share your thoughts and experiences with other readers in the comments below.
Everyone knows that consuming cannabis poses the risk of having red eyes in return. Luckily, there are several ways to prevent getting red eyes after smoking weed. Learn the top tips and tricks for making sure your eyes don't turn red after consuming marijuana.