Why Does Weed Make Your Eyes Red?
Red eyes are a telltale sign that someone’s smoked marijuana. Also known as weed or cannabis, marijuana is a collection of dried leaves from the cannabis plant. There are various strains of marijuana, each of which contains different amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in this drug. While having red eyes from smoking marijuana is a guaranteed side effect for most people, others may not experience this symptom as frequently. So why does weed make your eyes red?
Why Does Marijuana Make Your Eyes Red?
The main reason why weed makes your eyes red is that it lowers blood pressure and dilates blood vessels and capillaries – some of which are in your eyes (ocular capillaries) – increasing blood flow and making the whites of the eyes red. This is also the primary reason why marijuana is sometimes prescribed to people with glaucoma, which is a cause of blindness linked to high blood pressure in the eye.
Depending on how much THC enters your bloodstream, the intensity of the redness in your eyes after smoking weed varies. A person may smoke a low THC strain of weed in one day and experience little to no redness in the eyes, while the next day their eyes may be beet red after smoking a high THC strain.
Okay, so how long do your eyes stay red after smoking weed? Usually, marijuana red eyes can last from three to four hours after the person’s done smoking.
Again, this depends on the amount of THC in your system. Higher THC strains of marijuana will not only produce longer-lasting redness in the eyes, but they also produce longer-lasting side effects.
Do Edibles Make Your Eyes Red, Too?
Because redness in the eyes caused by marijuana is based on the amount of THC one consumes, yes, you can also get red eyes from edibles. Edibles are foods that contain marijuana, like brownies or gummies.
To debunk a common myth, while we’re at it, it’s not the smoke itself from marijuana that causes red eyes, but rather the dosage of THC consumed. That’s why it’s also possible to experience this side effect when eating edibles.
Additionally, how quickly your eyes turn red and stay red after eating edibles is different from when weed is smoked. When you smoke weed, it goes directly into your bloodstream, producing more immediate side effects.
On the other hand, when you eat edibles, they have to be processed by the digestive system to then be absorbed into the bloodstream. This means that while it may take longer for redness in the eyes to occur, it may also last a bit longer when ingesting THC in edibles.
Getting Help for Marijuana Abuse
Despite the many supposed benefits of this drug, recreational marijuana use is not advised. While it may be suitable for certain medical applications, these are controlled and dosed instances that are very different from using weed purchased on the street.
Marijuana can be deadly when it’s laced with other harmful chemicals, which is often the case in weed that’s trafficked, sold, and purchased illegally. As of recently, a deadly and highly potent opioid called fentanyl has been used more often to lace weed, increasing the risk of overdose in users.
What’s more, although cannabis isn’t addictive in the way that methamphetamine or heroin is, it can lead to emotional and physical dependence. For instance, you may find yourself using weed more frequently to manage stress or help you fall asleep; this is a form of dependence.
Synthetic weed (Spice or K2) has also made its way into the drug market, contributing to more marijuana-related addiction and overdose cases. Fortunately, help is available for those who have developed a marijuana addiction.
Our Massachusetts treatment center offers various rehab programs, including synthetic marijuana addiction treatment. Most of our patients begin their programs with a medically monitored detox, during which they’re slowly tapered off of drugs and offered medication to alleviate withdrawals (as needed).
Following detox, patients are then able to jump into the counseling and therapeutic portion of their care, during which they’ll learn relapse prevention skills, take advantage of our special programs and therapies, and receive guidance in transitioning to a sober lifestyle after rehab. No matter what your substance use disorder is, we can help.