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Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Medical Cannabis

Publish Date: December 28th, 2020; Author: Darren M. Jorgenson.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration1

Age-related Macular Degeneration AMD is an eye-disease that blurs the central and sharp vision required to perform activities like driving or reading. By the term age-related, it indicates that it often happens to older people. Macular refers to the fact that it affects the particular part of an eye known as the macula. AMD is considered a common condition that is the leading cause of loss in the vision of people aging 50 or more. This eye condition doesn’t cause complete eye blindness. It affects the central vision making it harder to drive or perform close-up works.

There are no early symptoms of this disease; however, the later symptoms experienced by the person suffering from this disease is the loss of central vision. This condition is treatable by injections, dietary supplements, and laser treatment.

Am I at risk for AMD?

 The risk of getting affected by this disease increases as the person gets older. People aging more than 60 are likely to get influenced by this disease. The risk factor of getting caught by the disease occurs in the following:

  1. Having a family history of AMD
  2. Age Factor
  3. Obesity
  4. Sun exposure
  5. Hypertension
  6. Smoking
  7. Genetic Variants
  8. Diet low in omega-3 fatty acids or dark green leafy veggies

If you are at risk of getting affected by the disease due to any reason, it is essential to get a regular eye checkup. As AMD doesn’t have any early symptoms, don’t wait for too long, which results in changing the vision.

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How to lower the risk of getting affected by AMD?

Research indicates that the risk of getting affected by the disease can be lower or slower down its progression by making a few healthy choices.

  1. Quit smoking
  2. Get yourself involved in regular physical activities.
  3. Maintain the cholesterol level.
  4. Maintain a healthy blood pressure.
  5. Eat healthy food items.
  6. Include green leafy veggies.

Diagnosis of Age-related Macular Degeneration: 

Routine examination: Routine eye examination can diagnose the occurrence of AMD in the eye.

Funduscopic examination: It can help to diagnose both forms of age-related macular degeneration.

Color fundus photography: This is the best diagnosis method for the wet AMD.

Fluorescein angiography: Angiography indicates and typifies the subretinal choroidal neovascular membranes and outlines geographic atrophy.

Optical coherence tomography: It facilitates recognizing the intraretinal and subretinal fluid. It can also help to assess the response to treatment.

Disordered Physiological Processes Associated With Disease

Two diverse forms of this eye disease occur in the patients. The medications prescribed as per the type of the disease are:

Dry AMD  

  1. Dry AMD is a non-exudative or atrophic that starts as a dry form. Almost around eighty-five percent of people experiencing AMD will have only dry AMD.
  2. Dry AMD causes changes in the retinal pigment epithelium, characteristically visible as a brunette pinpoint area.
  3. The retinal pigment area plays a crucial role in keeping the rods and cones functioning well and healthy.
  4. Accretion of dissipating products from the cones and rods can affect the drusen, which emerge as yellow spots.
  5. The areas of chorioretinal atrophy take place in the advanced cases of dry AMD.
  6. There is no higher macular scar, exudation, and edema.

Symptoms and Signs that indicate you are suffering from Dry AMD

The loss of central vision takes place over the years and is a painless form of AMD. The people suffering from this condition retain enough sight to drive or read. Scotomas that are commonly known as central blind spots occur late in the symptoms. However, these can become severe sometimes. Symptoms are usually bilateral.

Funduscopic changes consist of the following: 
  1. Changes in the retinal pigment epithelium
  2. Drusen
  3. Areas of chorioretinal atrophy

Treatment of Dry AMD

  1. Dietary supplement for high-risk dry or unilateral wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
  2. Intravitreal antivascular endothelial enlargement factor drugs.
  3. Laser treatments for wet AMD.
  4. Supportive measures.

Medications recommended for Dry AMD

The damage caused by the dry AMD cannot be reversed in any way. The people suffering from dry AMD experiencing extensive drusen, alterations in pigments, or geographic atrophy can eradicate the risk of developing AMD by twenty-five percent by daily taking the supplements of the following mentioned components.

  1. Zinc oxide 80 mg
  2. Copper 2 mg
  3. Vitamin C 500 mg
  4. Vitamin E 400 units
  5. Lutein 10 mg/zeaxanthin 2 mg
  6. Or beta-carotene 15 mg or vitamin A 28,000 units for patients who have not smoked

The medication beta-carotene augments the risk of lung cancer, whereas the substitution for it is done with the lutein plus or zeaxanthin proven to be more efficient. There are a few side-effects of using the medications. However, one must use these with the recommendation of the licensed doctor.

Wet AMD

  1. Wet AMD is exudative or neovascular that occurs in only fifteen percent of people.
  2. Though only fifteen percent of people suffer from wet AMD out of those fifteen percent, around eighty to ninety percent of people suffer severe vision loss.
  3. Wet AMD occurs when the abnormal blood vessels develop beneath the retina in a process known as Choroidal neovascularization.
  4. The localized hemorrhage or macular edema may lift the area of the macula.
  5. Also can cause some retinal pigment epithelial detachment.
  6. The untreated neovascularization can cause the discoid scar beneath the macula.
  7. Rapid vision loss over days or weeks indicates that the person is suffering from Wet AMD.
  8. Scotoma, usually known as the central blind spot, is the initial symptom of Wet AMD.
  9. As an effect of wet AMD, a person may get blind from the affected eye if left untreated.
  10. Wet AMD generally affects one eye at a time.
  11. Patients suffering from unilateral wet AMD must take daily nutritional supplements.
  12. Treatments depend on the size and type of neovascularization.
  13. A new intravitreal drug known as brolucizumab is considered an adequate treatment for treating wet AMD.
Funduscopic changes consist of the following:
  • Subretinal fluid emerges as a localized retinal elevation.
  • Retinal edema.
  • Grey-green staining under the macula.
  • Exudates in or around the macula.
  • The aloofness of retinal pigment epithelium.
  • Subretinal bleeding in or around the macula.

Treatment of Wet AMD

  • Dietary supplement for high-risk unilateral wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
  • Intravitreal antivascular endothelial enlargement factor drugs.
  • Laser treatments for wet AMD.
  • Supportive measures.

Treatments Available for Macular Degeneration

Although there is no real cure for age-related macular degeneration, the effects can be slow down by applying the following treatment options.

Anti-angiogenesis drugs: These types of medications include Bevacizumab, Aflibercept, Ranibizumab, and pegaptanib, which block the blood vessels’ generation leakage from the eye vessels that are responsible for causing the wet macular degeneration. People experienced an enhancement in vision that had suffered no or low vision.

Laser Therapy: The high-energy laser light can destroy the blood vessels growing in the eye.

Photodynamic Laser Therapy: ophthalmologist injects a light-sensitive drug named Verteporfin into the bloodstream, absorbed by the abnormal blood vessels. Later the treatment is continued by a shiny laser into the eye to trigger the medications to harm the blood vessels.

Low vision Aids: These include special lenses or electronic systems to generate larger images of nearby things.

Researchers also have suggested a few new treatments for treating macular degeneration, but these are still under experimentation. These treatments are:

Sub-macular surgery: Sub-macular surgery is responsible for eradicating the abnormal blood vessels.

Retinal translocation: Retinal translocation procedure is done to destroy the abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula. This is the location where the doctor is unable to use the laser beam undamaged.

How Medical Marijuana helps in relieving symptoms of AMD? 

Being an anti-inflammatory source, medical marijuana aids in vision loss, especially for those who are living with glaucoma. Medical Cannabis helps in mitigating the symptoms of AMD. It is always good to know about the health benefits of consuming medical marijuana in treating AMD. Medical marijuana is a practical, proven medicine. According to the research and studies, the ECS receptors found around the ocular region and the consumption of medical marijuana can reduce inflammation, lower down the intraocular pressure, and inhibits the vascular endothelial development factor. Let us dig into the elements that can be relieved by the use of medical marijuana.

Medical Marijuana reduces inflammation: Medical Marijuana is a well-known anti-inflammatory substance that facilitates treating inflammatory disorders. Medical Marijuana targets the system-wide inflammation, but its anti-inflammatory properties work well for the area around the retina. CBD helps to diminish the pro-inflammatory proteins and the body’s production of cytokines. The best strains of medical marijuana for reducing inflammation include:

  1. Purple Urkle: Purple Urkle is a type of Indica strain that provides the patients with anti-inflammatory effects. Along with this, this strain offers deep relaxation and induces sleep.
  2. God Bud: God bud is a hybrid form of medical marijuana strain known for its anti-inflammation and diminishing pain properties.
  3. Cannatonic: Cannatonic is a hybrid form of medical marijuana strain that fights inflammation and also relaxes the body, reduces pain, migraines, and anxiety.

Lowers Intraocular Pressure: Medical Marijuana helping in lowering down the intraocular pressure of patients diagnosed with glaucoma. Glaucoma is connected with AMD, and many patients develop both health conditions. Medical Marijuana is an effective way of treating eye conditions by reducing the pressure around the eye. The best strains for treating Intraocular pressure includes:

  1. Super Skunk: Super Skunk is a type of indica strain that helps to relax the muscles, reduces eye pressure, and lowers stress.
  2. OG Poison: OG Poiso is a type of hybrid medical marijuana strain that is well-known for inducing sleep capabilities and helps relieving pain, pressure, and stress.

Eases Depression Symptoms: Many patients diagnosed with AMD develop depression as a symptom while learning that they may lose sight. According to the studies, around 40 percent of patients suffering from AMD may also have depression. CBD has antidepressant properties that aid in relieving the symptom. The best strains to treat depression include:

  1. Jack Herer: Jack Herer is a type of Sativa medical marijuana strain that is considered best when used in low doses. It helps to enhance the mood and endows with a feel of well-being.
  2. Harlequin: Harlequin is a hybrid type of medical marijuana strain that doesn’t make the patients feel high. It helps to enhance the patient’s mood.
  3. Northern Lights: Northern Light is an indical form of medical marijuana strain with a sedative effect and is well-known for relieving stress and bringing calm.

Inhibits Vascular Endothelial Growth factor: Many treatments for treating AMD engross injections into the eye, and these medications usually obstruct the development of vascular endothelial growth factor. These traditional treatments typically come with side effects, while medical marijuana for treating then comes with the same effect along with little or no negative repercussions. The best strains of medical marijuana include:

  1. Cannatonic: Cannatonic is a hybrid form of medical marijuana strain comprised of equal CBD and THC levels, which provides a calming and happy effect.
  2. Canna-Tsu: Canna-Tsu is a hybrid form of medical marijuana strain that endows the patients with deep relaxation and enhances their mental abilities.

Best ways to use Medical Marijuana for AMD

Though there are ample ways of consuming Medical Marijuana. But the best practices for consuming medical marijuana for treating AMD include:

  1. Smoking
  2. Vaping
  3. Edibles
  4. Topical

Risk Factors of Medical Marijuana

While choosing medical marijuana for treating a debilitating health condition, it is vital to know about the risk factors of consumption of Medical Marijuana. These risk factors include:

  1. Red Eyes
  2. Respiratory issues
  3. Thirst
  4. Hunger

Final Words

People not so often lose all their vision due to Age-Related Macular Degeneration. The central vision might be affected, but the person will still perform the routine tasks. However, AMD’s dry form of AMD worsens slowly, but wet AMD can cause permanent vision loss. Medical Marijuana is a proven effective medicine to treat and relieve the symptoms of AMD. Get yourself some relief from the health condition with little or no side effects and acquire the legal rights of consuming Medical Marijuana within the state boundaries with the help of 420 Evaluations Online from a legitimate provider. So, consume Medical Marijuana with legal permission and live with no difficulties.

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