Due to it’s non-intoxicating yet therapeutic effects, CBD has become a welcome addition in the lives of millions. The benefits to be gained from CBD, a compound which carries no potential for abuse, addiction or overdose and provides a safe, gentle and effective remedy for many of life’s challenges, are huge. As CBD is Smoking a joint or two can definitely cause the tell-tale red eyes. But does CBD also cause red eyes, and if so, how can you avoid it? We'll tell you! Weed is known for causing red eyes, but what about CBD? We take a look at how this cannabinoid affects the body, and whether it causes this side effect.
Does CBD Make Your Eyes Red?
Due to it’s non-intoxicating yet therapeutic effects, CBD has become a welcome addition in the lives of millions. The benefits to be gained from CBD, a compound which carries no potential for abuse, addiction or overdose and provides a safe, gentle and effective remedy for many of life’s challenges, are huge.
As CBD is derived from cannabis plants there are misconceptions with the intoxicating compound also found in cannabis called THC. This misconception often stops many from experiencing the benefits of CBD due to not having important concerns answered fully.
A common physiological reaction to using intoxicating cannabis containing high levels of THC is ‘red eye’. This can occur with marijuana use as THC reduces blood pressure causing the blood vessels within the eye to dilate or become larger, increasing blood flow causing noticeable redness.
Research on CBD has concluded that CBD does not cause ‘red eye’ as it does not bind to receptors in the same way as THC.
Our physiological response to CBD is completely different to THC. CBD does not make your eyes dilate and as it is non-intoxicating it will also not make you feel high.
One caveat is that if you are using full spectrum CBD (CBD that contains the full range of compounds from the cannabis plant) the presence of very low levels of THC (not enough to make you high) may be enough to affect ‘red eye’. Full spectrum products do offer a boosted effectiveness of CBD compared to CBD isolate products. THC and other minor compounds create an entourage effect on CBD making it more effective. THC also has excellent pain killing properties even at small levels so the benefits can outweigh any potential red eye.
Factors also to be considered for causing ‘red eye’ include allergies and illnesses which should be checked out by your medical professional.
Do CBD Edibles Make Your Eyes Red?
Stereotypes indicate that red or bloodshot eyes are a tell-tale sign of a well-smoked blunt. However, while this is a generalisation at best, it’s rooted in truth. Marijuana can, in fact, cause red eyes – but can CBD do the same?
Studies indicate that THC could be the reason for red eyes. At CBD Village, however, we consider ourselves industry experts. Therefore, today, we’ll explore the idea of CBD – and whether it can cause red, bloodshot eyes.
Can My CBD Edibles Cause Red Eyes?
Here, the short answer is no – CBD edibles cannot cause bloodshot eyes. This means that you can safely consume your CBD gummies or capsules without fear of those bloodshot eyes.
However, it’s also important to remember that CBD can sometimes cause dry eyes. While this is a fairly rare side-effect, it could affect you – especially if your eyes are rather sensitive. In this case, you might be inclined to rub at your eyes, causing them to turn bloodshot.
Here, you should note that these bloodshot eyes occur due to physical irritation and broken blood vessels. These red eyes aren’t caused by CBD at all. In this case, what causes red eyes?
THC – The Real Culprit
Studies show that THC could be behind those bloodshot eyes. Apparently, marijuana consumption can lower your blood pressure. This, in turn, can dilate and widen the blood vessels in your eyes.
Wider blood vessels mean increased blood flow to your eyes. Therefore, this is what causes red eyes – that complete and total giveaway.
While you might think that smoking a joint or two can cause red eyes, they certainly aren’t the only culprits. In fact, consuming THC in any way, shape, or form can cause this to occur. Due to this, we can conclude that it’s THC – not CBD – behind those red eyes.
Help; I Only Consume CBD, but I Still Have Red Eyes!
Sometimes, you may experience red or bloodshot eyes after consuming CBD. Here, we should reiterate – on its own, CBD cannot cause red eyes. However, there could be a few other factors that cause red eyes.
Smoking and Vaping Can Cause Bloodshot Eyes
First, red eyes could be due to your method of ingestion. For example, smoke and vapour could contribute to bloodshot eyes. Therefore, when you smoke CBD flower, or use CBD e-liquid in your vape pen, this could contribute to red, watery eyes.
In addition to this, sensitive eyes could also play a factor here. When your eyes are sensitive, they could be more susceptible to external factors – including smoke and vapour. A smoky environment could cause red, watery eyes.
In this case, we’d recommend smoking your CBD flower, or puffing on your vape pen in a well-ventilated area. This will draw the smoke or vapour away from your eyes, helping you avoid bloodshot, watery eyes. Additionally, you could also change your consumption method.
Instead of smoking CBD flower, or utilising your vape pen, consider taking an alternative. For example, a CBD oil or tincture could go a long way, in terms of bioavailability. Plus, with this method, you’ll be able to avoid red eyes!
Your CBD Edible Could Contain THC
You might think that you’re consuming a THC-free CBD edible – so why are your eyes still red? Well, it could all come down to your product of choice. In the UK and Ireland, the CBD industry is still largely unregulated.
While the government is trying to implement proper guidelines around CBD products, it can be hard to keep track of them all. Plus, with multiple new businesses popping up every month, the CBD boom is well underway. However, this also means that you might be consuming an unregulated CBD product.
If your product of choice isn’t tested at a third-party lab, then it could still contain THC. With the number of unregulated CBD products on the market, this is becoming a fairly common situation. Earlier, we mentioned that THC – in any form – can cause red eyes.
Therefore, your CBD tincture, or gummies of choice, could contain large amounts of THC. This, in turn, could lead to red or bloodshot eyes. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid this.
First, we’d recommend buying your CBD edibles from a reputable retailer. This will help avoid unregulated CBD products, which could result in red eyes.
Before making a purchase, look for a company with its Novel Foods certifications in order. This will help establish that you’re buying and consuming a government-approved, established CBD product. Generally, these products will only contain trace amounts of THC – perfect for avoiding bloodshot eyes!
We’d also recommend purchasing third-party lab-tested products. These products usually come with Certificates of Analysis (COAs). By browsing these certificates, you’ll be able to tell just how much CBD they contain – and whether or not they contain THC.
With this method, you’ll be able to confirm that you’re buying and consuming THC-free CBD products, effectively dodging watery, red eyes!
So, CBD Doesn’t Cause Red Eyes… but Are There Any Other Side Effects?
By now, we’ve established that CBD isn’t to blame for red eyes. However, it could have some other side effects. While side effects from CBD consumption are fairly rare – especially when you buy from a reputable business, they can still occur.
Here are two of the most common:
- Feelings of exhaustion: Many people take CBD as a sleep aid. While we need more studies to properly conclude its effectiveness, it can sometimes cause feelings of sleepiness and exhaustion. If you experience this with your regular CBD dose, consider changing your consumption method. You can also take a CBD dose just before bedtime!
- Appetite changes: CBD could also play a role in feelings of hunger. Some people report that it increases their appetite, while others say that it suppresses it. If CBD increases your appetite, why not take a dose just before mealtimes? You could also have a selection of healthy snacks on hand – fruit, yoghurt, and protein bars all make tasty treats. However, if CBD decreases your appetite, take your dose right after mealtime, which will help ensure that you don’t skip meals.
In addition to these side effects, CBD could also interact with some medication. To safely consume CBD, discuss its use with your doctor, highlighting any other forms of medication you already take. Once your doctor gives you the green light, you’re good to go!
The Final Word on CBD and Red Eyes
On its own, a CBD edible won’t cause red eyes. However, there are some circumstances where CBD consumption can lead to bloodshot, watery eyes. For example, you might be accidentally consuming THC with your CBD. Your CBD smoke or vapour could also be affecting your eyes.
To avoid accidentally consuming THC, we’d recommend purchasing your CBD edibles from a reputable supplier. Certain online shops – like us, at CBD Village – work to procure and stock the best CBD products on the market. By doing this, we ensure that our customers only get the best CBD options – third-party tested and ready to ship.
As for avoiding smoke and vapour, we’ve got hundreds of other options. Choose from tinctures and teas to creams and capsules – at CBD Village, the choice is yours. Browse our CBD selection right here on the website, and maybe even pick up a new CBD product or two!
Does CBD Cause Red Eyes? Scientifically Explained
Most of us are familiar with the “stoner” stereotype that’s so commonly portrayed in movies and on T.V. shows. It’s usually a long-haired slacker burnout with bloodshot eyes that look like they’ve fallen victim to a spray or two of concentrated pepper spray.
Despite the cliché, however, red, watery, inflamed eyes are indeed one of the most common side effects of cannabis use. But that side effect is commonly associated with marijuana that’s high in THC.
So what about cannabidiol? Does CBD cause red eyes too? In a nutshell, no, it doesn’t. But of course, the answer isn’t quite as simple as that. Keep reading for all you could ever want to know about cannabis, marijuana, THC, and whether CBD causes bloodshot eyes.
Cannabis, CBD, and Bloodshot Eyes
There is little denying that cannabis has the potential to help ease a litany of medical conditions and symptoms. Of course, cannabis plants can differ wildly in terms of their chemical profile. As far as effects on the human body are concerned, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are typically regarded as the two compounds that are best known to influence our physiology.
As far as red eyes in particular, however, THC seems to be the sole culprit. When THC enters the body, it lowers blood pressure and thereby dilates blood vessels. This includes tiny blood vessels that rest behind the eye.
When the vessels dilate (widen), blood flow to the eyes increases rather substantially. This helps to lower built-up pressure and is coincidentally the reason why high-THC cannabis is often used for glaucoma. And that goes for any THC consumption. Things like high-THC edibles and oils will produce equally bloodshot eyes as smoking can.
Things like high-THC edibles and oils will produce equally bloodshot eyes as smoking can.
Unfortunately, the increased flow of blood to the eyes also results in the red, puffy, watery, irritated-looking eye look that’s become so stereotypical of marijuana users over the generations.
CBD does not produce these same kinds of effects, so if you’ve been asking the question ‘does CBD cause red eyes,’ the answer is a fairly resounding ‘no.’ Of course, users could still experience watery eyes from a reaction to the smoke (or some other allergen), but it shouldn’t be the CBD itself that’s causing the irritation.
[If you’re still learning the basics of cannabis, read on below to find out more about what CBD is, what type of cannabis it comes from, and how it differs from THC].
CBD: What Is It?
Although there are hundreds of compounds in marijuana, CBD is one of the main components. As we discussed above, CBD is short for cannabidiol. CBD is found in most strains of cannabis, though in differing amounts.
For example, in potent, THC-heavy strains, CBD may only be present in trace amounts. In high-CBD strains, however, it can account for as much as 20% or more of the plant’s dry weight.
CBD’s chemical structure is quite similar to that of THC. The difference lies in one critical element: CBD contains an extra combination of hydrogen and oxygen. This subtle change enables CBD to work without disrupting cognitive processes.
By most accounts, CBD is cited as safe to use in a variety of forms. A recent report by the World Health Organization corroborates this by stating that CBD “exhibits no effects indicative of abuse or dependence potential.” The report also says, “there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
How CBD Works
The body must keep processes such as temperature, mood, memory, and movement in balance, which is called homeostasis. The endocannabinoid system, also known as the ECS, plays a massive role in this endeavor.
The ECS is abundant in both the peripheral and central nervous systems. It consists of a network of receptors and endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are made in the human body. The cannabinoids that are found in cannabis plants are called phytocannabinoids. CBD and THC, of course, are both phytocannabinoids.
While THC directly binds to endocannabinoid receptors, however, (thereby galvanizing cognitive changes), CBD acts in a more indirect manner. CBD doesn’t appear to bind directly with any receptor. Instead, it seems to influence a variety of receptor-independent pathways and ion channels to produce a range of beneficial effects.
The dilation of blood vessels is not included among this ‘range of beneficial effects.’ For this reason, we can more or less dispel the myth that CBD causes red eyes.
So CBD Doesn’t Cause Red Eyes… But is it Legal?
After the passing of an updated version of the U.S. Farm Bill back in 2018, many people assumed that CBD became fully legal in the United States. This was because the Farm Bill legalized hemp, which is a distinct cultivar of cannabis that contains high levels of CBD and minimal THC.
The exact legal implications of CBD use under the Farm Bill are a little more complicated than this general assumption. The reality is that hemp-derived CBD products are widely available in most parts of the United States – even in states that do not have medical cannabis programs. Due to their lack of intoxicating effects, consumers use CBD products for their potential therapeutic benefit rather than as recreational substances.
Due to their lack of intoxicating effects, consumers use CBD products for their potential therapeutic benefit rather than as recreational substances.
Individuals are finding that CBD may be an alternative option for things like stress, anxiety, pain, and trouble sleeping. The FDA-approved drug Epidiolex, which is a CBD-based prescription-only medication, is used to treat epilepsy.
Marijuana, on the other hand, is still, of course, a Schedule I substance in the USA. Its use and possession is barred by federal law. However, many individual states have chosen to legalize it in some form or another.
Some states, for example, allow only for the medicinal use of marijuana. Other states permit recreational use. Users must keep advised on the particular laws of their state.
The Science Behind Cannabis and Red Eyes (CBD Isn’t the Culprit!)
A fascinating presentation by Dr. Denise A. Valenti highlights the opposing effects that THC and CBD appear to have on intraocular pressure of the eye (IOP).
In the presentation, Dr. Valenti states that while cannabis is often used to lower pressure in the eye, this is only due to the presence of THC. CBD, she argues, actually works to “spike the pressure in the eye.”
Her claims were further backed up by a 2008 human study that examined the effects of various THC and CBD doses on six glaucoma patients. The results of the study showed that while a 5 mg dose of THC lowered intraocular pressure, a 40 mg dose of CBD actually raised it, while a 20 mg CBD dose had no effect.
While the specific physiology for these reverse IOP effects is not well-understood, it is quite clear that when it comes to red eyes, CBD and THC appear to have opposite effects.
Getting the Red Out
If you do have red eyes from cannabis use, rest assured it’s not too complicated to resolve. Methods for both the avoidance and mollification of marijuana-induced bloodshot eyes include proper hydration and the use of quality eye drops. Or, changing strains from a high-THC strain to a high-CBD/low-THC one may do the trick as well.
All in all, we hope that this article has helped to address the question of whether or not CBD causes red eyes. If you want to use cannabis but aren’t too keen on the irritated eye look, the responsible consumption of quality CBD products may provide an opportunity to experience beneficial effects without suffering from puffy, watery, red eyes.