Just to nail one important point right away - cannabis red-eye is really nothing to worry about. It’s a normal and often inevitable side effect of cannabis consumption, which doesn’t actually have an adverse effect on any aspect of human health.
Now that’s out of the way, we’ll be taking a look at the more important issues.
What’s the Story with Red-Eye?
Traditionally, it was assumed that the smoke produced when burning cannabis was the cause of red-eye. Indeed, heavy cannabis smoke has the capacity to dry anyone’s eyes with minimal exposure required. Nevertheless, it’s actually the THC in the cannabis that results in red-eye - irrespective of how it is consumed.
THC has wide-reaching effects on the human body, affecting everything from moisture production to blood pressure to blood vessel dilation and more. The long and short of it being that when you consume THC, the ocular capillaries become dilated and take in more blood, which can make them look anything from pink to bright red.
As every human body is different, cases of red-eye vary in severity from one person to the next. While some don’t get even the slightest hint of red-eye after heavy cannabis consumption, others need only take a couple of hits to look like some kind of monster. Hence, you can’t always rely on red-eye alone as an indicator of how much pot a person has been smoking.
For obvious reasons, stoners with underlying ocular health issues or allergies of any kind may also be prone to particularly ‘colourful’ cases of red eye. Nevertheless, it’s in no way dangerous and no cause for concern.
Can Red-Eye Be Prevented?
Taking into account the above, the answer is pretty simple…no. If it’s a case of your physiology and your very genetics at work, there’s nothing you can do to change your lot. If you’re the kind of person who’s predisposed to cases of red-eye, it’s probably deep down in your genetic makeup. So, unless you intend to experiment with DIY gene engineering, there’s really very little you can do to prevent red-eye.
It’s often suggested that some strains of cannabis are more likely to cause red-eye than others. This is definitely true in the case of THC content - more THC = more chance of red-eye. There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that any other factors affect a strain’s capacity for bringing on a case of red-eye. Though there’s plenty of anecdotal talk of some strains packing a heavier punch on the eyeballs than others.
In any case, outright prevention is out of the question. That is, unless you abstain entirely, or reduce your THC intake significantly. As a result, you’re left with little option for alleviating red-eye when it sets in.
Can Red-Eye be Treated Effectively?
As with most of the side effects associated with cannabis consumption, there’s not a great deal you can do but let nature take its course. Just as long as the THC is doing its thing in your system, you’ll be seeing and feeling the effects for the duration. There’s very little that can be done to accelerate the body’s detoxification processes, other than staying hydrated, getting some exercise and eating something healthy.
Some recommend eye-drops for the treatment of red-eye, which can certainly be refreshing and moisturising. Drops can also help alleviate itching and irritation. Nevertheless, they’re not capable of getting to the heart of the issue itself, therefore aren’t going to magically get rid of your red-eye.
It’s therefore best to accept red-eye for what it is - an inevitability of cannabis consumption that’s beyond your immediate control.