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Updated on November 29, 2022
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Stoned Eyes (Causes, Symptoms & How to Fix)

What are Stoned Eyes?

"Stoned eyes" or "weed eyes" refer to eye changes that indicate drug use. These changes occur due to certain drugs, such as opioids or stimulants.

Drugs can affect your eyes in different ways. Common signs of stoned eyes include:8

  • Dilated pupils (enlarged pupils)
  • Pinpoint pupils (smaller pupils)
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Watering eyes
  • Rapid, uncontrollable eye movement.

Many of these changes are typical among marijuana users. Long-term substance abuse can also increase the risk of certain eye conditions like glaucoma and vision damage.

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Why Does Weed Give You Stoned Eyes?

Stoned eyes are a telltale sign of marijuana use, primarily caused by how tetrahydrocannabinol THC affects your blood pressure. THC reduces blood pressure which causes blood vessels and capillaries to dilate.5

The ocular capillaries dilate, boosting blood flow to the eyes while reducing intraocular pressure. The increased blood flow produces redness. Because THC reduces pressure, marijuana is known to treat glaucoma patients. This reaction explains why marijuana users get red eyes despite a lack of smoke.

People who eat edibles can still experience red eyes. However, there are other ways marijuana can cause red eyes, including:

  • An allergic reaction
  • Irritation to cannabis
  • Smoke in the eyes

What Other Drugs Can Cause Stoned Eyes?

Aside from marijuana, other drugs can affect your eyes. These drugs include:8

  • Amphetamines
  • Benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax, Ativan)
  • Cocaine
  • Crystal methamphetamine (meth)
  • Dimethyltryptamine (DMT)
  • Ecstasy
  • GHB
  • LSD
  • Psilocybin
  • Bath salts
  • Heroin
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Fentanyl
  • Methadone
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)

How to Get Rid of Red Eyes From Cannabis

Red eyes from marijuana are relatively harmless and typically go away after some time. However, you can take a few steps to minimize or reduce the redness during or after smoking.

Here are a few things you can do to reduce eye redness:

  • Marijuana with low or no THC: Using strains with low or no THC can reduce eye redness; strains with high cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) can be better alternatives for those sensitive to THC
  • Eye drops: These constrict the eye’s blood vessels, so they don’t appear enlarged and swollen with blood
  • Hydration: Staying hydrated increases fluid intake and may help with any dryness
  • Cold compress: This can decrease blood flow to your eyes

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How Does Marijuana Affect The Brain?

Aside from causing red eyes, marijuana can affect your body in other ways. THC moves quickly from the lungs into the bloodstream and eventually the brain.

THC works on specific brain cell receptors that affect normal brain development and function. This can impair thinking, memory, and learning functions. Marijuana can even cause long-lasting or permanent brain damage.7

Marijuana is also an addictive substance that can result in the development of a substance use disorder (SUD). Thirty percent of people who use marijuana may develop some marijuana use disorder. People who start using cannabis before 18 are four to seven times more likely than adults to have a marijuana use disorder.2

Other Side Effects of Marijuana Use

Marijuana delivers a wide range of effects, both physical and mental. Other side effects include:

  • Altered senses, such as seeing brighter colors
  • Altered sense of time
  • Adjustments in mood
  • Impaired body movement
  • Difficulty thinking and problem-solving
  • Impaired memory
  • Breathing issues
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Problems with child development during and after pregnancy
  • Hallucinations (when taken in high doses)
  • Delusions (when taken in high doses)
  • Psychosis (risk is highest with consistent use of high-potency cannabis)

Regular, long-term cannabis use can result in some people developing cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. This causes some people to experience cycles of severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. Sometimes this requires emergency medical help.

How Marijuana Affects Your Lungs

Marijuana smoke aggravates the lungs. People who smoke cannabis often can have the same breathing issues as those who smoke tobacco. 

These issues include:

  • Daily cough and phlegm
  • More frequent lung illness
  • Higher risk of lung infections

Marijuana also increases the heart rate for up to three hours following smoking. This effect may increase the possibility of a heart attack. Older people and those with heart issues may be at higher risk.

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Treatment Options for Marijuana Misuse

There are not any medications currently available to treat marijuana use disorder. However, there are various treatment options to help you recover from marijuana addiction and maintain sobriety.

Treatment options for marijuana misuse include:

Continuing research may result in new medications being developed to help ease withdrawal symptoms, block the effects of cannabis, and prevent relapse.

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Updated on November 29, 2022

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