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Published On 18-10-2021

Why Does Smoking Cannabis and Eating Edibles Cause Red, Bloodshot Eyes?

Why Does Smoking Cannabis and Eating Edibles Cause Red, Bloodshot Eyes?

Movies have always depicted vampires with blood-red eyes at night. Although fictitious, we have all wondered why their eyes turn red at a certain time. Well, it's not the effect of Cannabis or marijuana! Vampires are never found to smoke Cannabis; however, humans often do. You may see human eyes turn red after smoking Cannabis or eating any food which contains Cannabis. If you feel that your eyes are turning red and fluffy after smoking Cannabis or consuming edibles, do not mistake yourself with a vampire!

Eyes naturally turn red after consuming Cannabis because of an increased blood flow which is an effect of the THC in Cannabis. However, your eyes may turn red because of some allergic reaction also rising from Cannabis or any other substance. Make sure you can very well distinguish between an allergic reaction and a psychoactive reaction. If you have allergies, your eyes will itch with a burning sensation.

It is the Effect of Cannabinoids and THCs.

Smoking cannabis for a very long time will make the eyes red, and you will hardly realize the reddening of the eyes. Even when someone has consumed edibles, which are foods infused with Cannabis, eyes may turn red after some time. However, do not expect your eyes to turn red just after a single smoke! It takes quite some time for the action to happen. Also, the reddening of the eye will decrease after some time, so do not worry.

The main reason behind the reddening of the eyes is the presence of a compound known as Cannabinoids. Yes, it is this cannabinoid from which the name 'Cannabis' comes. Cannabinoids are chemical substances that are primarily present in Cannabis. There are at least 144 different types of cannabinoids species present on the earth. Many other plants contain therapeutic cannabinoids and are known to heal and energize the body.

Are Cannabinoids useful? Well, Cannabinoids have many medicinal properties and is used as a drug. Cannabinoids treat many conditions, including neurological problems like Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, Tourette syndromes, depressions, sleep disorders, insomnia etc. cannabinoids and other compounds related to this is used medically for various other reasons.

Coming back to the reasons for the redness of eyes after consuming Cannabis, THC is another compound that facilitates the process. The most important cannabinoid is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

The process of eyes turning red.

THC is the main psychoactive compound that is present in Cannabis and causes sensations in our body. As soon as THC enters our body, it starts to increase the blood flow. As the blood flow increases, the heart starts pumping more blood, and your pressure increases. Blood flow can increase when you get excited or when someone has sexual activity. THC does increase the blood flow even when the consumer is sitting idle and smoking Cannabis.

It gradually increases and starts making the eye dilate, and hence eyes enlarge. As the THC level increases, the ocular capillaries (capillaries in the eyes) get affected. There is an increased blood flow which makes the eye turn red and reduces intraocular pressure in the eye.

It is this reason why glaucoma can (sometimes) be treated with the help of marijuana. As the intraocular pressure increases in the eyes, it can reduce fluids and trigger many ailments after a cataract operation. THCs are known to reduce intraocular pressure, which makes the eyes large and red.

Edibles can also make your eyes red

Any smoke can cause redness and irritation in the eyes. However, such redness can decrease quickly if you wash your eyes, apply some ointment, and cool water. The redness caused due to Cannabis tends to remain for a longer time.

If you are planning to escape the red eyes after consuming edibles, you might be caught! Edible, too, can make your eyes red.

Edibles are food substances that have cannabis-infused in them. It can be some pastries or cakes which are specially made with Cannabis. If you are consuming edibles instead of smoking cannabis, your eyes will turn red. It is because of the THC in it. So, it is not the smoke that makes the eyes red; it is the THCs responsible for making red eyes.

How to reduce the redness of the eyes after smoking Cannabis?

Walking home with a red eye can make people suspicious about the recreational night party! In countries where Cannabis is illegal, cops can very well spot the red-eyed one and put them behind bars. Therefore, you must know how to combat red eyes after smoking Cannabis, although this redness is harmless.

  • Opt for low THC: If you plan to return home after an adult party, opt for Cannabis with low THC or CBD strain. This will not redden your eye that much and even if it's red, the effect will reduce after some time. The experienced one in your group will be well aware of the strains with low THC of CBD.
  • Eye Drops: Keep an eye drop handy while you are smoking. Many eye drops in the market reduce the redness of the eyes. Although it won't turn your eyes white with a few drops, it will help reduce the redness.
  • Water: Hydration is crucial while you are smoking Cannabis or consuming edibles. One reason for an increased redness in the eyes during smoking is the lack of hydration. A dry eye will naturally appear red even when you are not smoking. Make sure you drink enough water during the adult party.

As Cannabis is still considered a stigma in countries where it is banned, try consuming them at home. However, Cannabis has to be consumed in a considerable amount, and an overdose is always harmful. Make sure you do proper research about the amounts you are planning to consume.

Do cannabinoids occur naturally?

This eye reddening substance can be found naturally in many plants. Cocoa, Black pepper, coneflower, Electric Daisy, Japanese Liverwort, Chinese Rhododendron, etc., has naturally occurring cannabinoids apart from Cannabis.

The human body also has an Endocannabinoid system responsible for stress management, appetite, motor learning, pain sensation, etc. However, they are a little different from Cannabis but cause redness to an extent in certain conditions.

FAQs about smoking Cannabis and redness

The internet is flooded with questions related to the redness caused by smoking Cannabis. We have tried answering most of them below.

How do you make red eyes go away?

This is, by far, the most asked question. Try keeping your body hydrated as you smoke and opt for low THC cannabis. Cannabis-infused with high THC will increase blood pressure, hence making eyes red.

Why do eyes get red after smoking?

Cannabinoids and THCs present in Cannabis increase blood pressure and make the eyes dilute. This increases blood flow in the eyes, which makes them look redder.

Do red eyes mean you are high?

Red eyes may not always mean that someone is high. Red eyes after Cannabis mean that you have consumed it, and your blood pressure has increased, making the eyes dilute. Some experienced one tends to remain normal even after their eyes have turned red. Hence, it is subjective.

How long do edibles last in the bloodstream?

Well, it depends on what quantity of cannabis one has consumed. Typically, edibles can last for 6- hours after consumption. THCs can remain in your bloodstream for 1-2 days, and some THCs can be traced even within 25 days of consumption.

Why does my eye get glassy when high?

A glassy and watery eye can be a symptom of lack of sleep or even lack of hydration. In some cases consuming alcohol can also make your eyes glassy. Even smoking Cannabis and consuming edibles can make eyes look glassy as it affects the nervous system, which causes blinking of the eyes.

Why exactly do some people's eyes get red after smoking but not others?

It is again subjective. Others in the group might consume less Cannabis. Therefore, their eyes have not turned red. Some people already have more intraocular pressure in the eyes, which makes their eyes look redder, so the effect of Cannabis might not be visible that much. Everyone does not have the same tolerance level for Cannabis. Hence some may get high at two puffs, and others may remain cool even after five puffs. It all depends on your tolerance level.

Therefore, it is THCs present in cannabinoids that make the eyes look redder. If you think that just sitting in a cannabis smoke atmosphere will make your eyes red, you are probably wrong. Even consuming edibles that contain Cannabis (THC, Cannabinoids, CBD, etc.) can make your eyes turn red. Well, there is nothing to worry about that much as this reddening is not harmful. However, if it keeps on irritating your eyes for a long time, try visiting a doctor as it can trigger other issues too.