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. Here are five things you probably don't know about cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive component of cannabis that is being lauded for health benefits including soothing inflammation, quelling insomnia, and more. Is it possible for CBD Topicals to help alleviate discomfort on an issue-by-issue basis? Let's say for the sake of this article, can CBD Topicals help with something like eye bags?
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.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About CBD, Straight From Industry Experts
T here’s no doubt about it: CBD has *officially* earned its spot as the cool kid of the modern day wellness scene (not to brag, but we totally called it).
As Well+Good’s co-founder, Melisse Gelula, phrased it at last night’s Well+Good TALKS event at The Assemblage in New York City—which covered the nation’s, *ahem,* budding love affair with this the high-vibe ingredient—CBD no longer has to hide under the high school bleachers. Instead, it’s finding its way into your beauty arsenal, your fridge, your supplement lineup, and even onto your menu.
Even though you, healthy living fanatic that you are, might think you know everything there is to know about this stand-out ingredient, these five nuggets of intel—which had the editors’ present frantically scribbling in their notebooks—are sure to catch you by surprise.
Keep reading to see what panelists Chris Sayegh, owner and head chef of The Herbal Chef; Cindy DiPrima Morisse, co-founder of CAP Beauty and The Daily Hit; and Michael Bumgarner, founder and CEO of Cannuka, had to say on this lit topic.
Here are the 5 dopest things you never knew about CBD.
Cannuka offered guests on-site healing hand facials
1. You can use CBD to reduce under-eye puffiness and help soothe your sunburn
As DiPrima Morisse points out, inflammation is to blame for the vast majority of skin issues, including rashes, psoriasis, and yep, puffy eyes. So given that CBD boasts anti-inflammatory properties when applied topically, it only makes since that all three panelists rave about the major difference it can make in your complexion. “If you get a sunburn, apply some CBD on it. It’s a total game-changer,” says Bumgarner, adding that a topical application can also aid common conditions like eczema and rosacea.
Guests enjoy samples of Dirty Lemon’s Cannabis Blend drink
2. There’s no physical reaction to ingesting too much CBD
If you accidentally indulge in a few too many spoonfuls of CBD oil, Sayegh says not to sweat it. “There’s no physical reaction to it,” he explains—as long as whatever product you’re ingesting doesn’t contain THC. (In fact, clinical trials have shown you’d need to ingest a dose equivalent to 20 mg per each kilogram of your body weight—AKA a ton—to experience negative physical side effects.)
An audience member asks a question of the expert panel
3. Your body takes in more nutrients when you ingest cannabis than when you inhale it
Thanks to cannabis’ high bioavailability (meaning, its ability to effectively enter your bloodstream), Sayegh says that eating your milligrams—rather than smoking them—allows your body to absorb 70 to 90 percent of the plant’s powerful nutrients, including CBD. (Smoking, which can cause lung damage, is widely considered the least healthy way to reap the plant’s benefits.)
From left to right: Cannuka’s Michael Bumgarner, Well+Good co-founder Melisse Gelula, CAP Beauty’s Cindy DiPrima Morisse, The Herbal Chef’s Chris Sayegh
4. CBD can make you sleepy *and* amp you up
Although CBD is known for its zzz’s-inducing powers, DiPrima Morisse points out that it could also have the opposite effect on you. “It’s almost like an adaptogen—a dual-direction sort of product—because people also use it in the morning to energize,” she says. According to early research on the topic (a lot more needs to be done before any definitive conclusions can be drawn) this contradiction may be due to varying doses, with higher servings tending to lead to sleepier subjects, and lower doses to more stimulated ones.
5. You can think of your daily dose of CBD like a vitamin
Since CBD packs all these aforementioned benefits, Sayegh says you can take your daily dose in tandem with the rest of your supplemental routine of vitamin D, omegas, and probiotics (or whatever your healthy cocktail of choice). He recommends taking 5 mg of CBD to kickstart your morning (which, non-coincidentally, is exactly the recommended dose of DiPrima Morisse’s Daily Hit). If you want to use CBD as a sleep aid, however, Sayegh says 15 mg should do the trick, and when using the ingredient to help soothe muscle aches and pains, he recommends 15-35 mg.
Can CBD Help Your Eye Bags?
Approximately 1 in every 7 Americans take some sort of CBD-rich product. In fact, according to the most recent Gallup poll, about 14% of the U.S. population uses CBD products daily. Since the 2018 Farm Bill made industrial hemp legal, and CBD is mainly extracted from hemp, we’ve seen the number of cannabidiol products skyrocket since then.
As we learn more about the potential CBD has and what benefits it might offer, we see more products formulated to help with something more specialized. The massive array of CBD Topicals, for example, aren’t formulated to alleviate discomfort universally; there are CBD topicals for feet and hands, very specific areas of the body, and even sheet masks for the face. The sheer variety can make it difficult to choose a product for your needs; and at the same time, it can also be a difficult situation differentiating between a plethora of brands all trying to sell the same things while remaining unique.
So what gives? Is it possible for CBD Topicals to help alleviate discomfort on an issue-by-issue basis? Let’s say for the sake of this article, can CBD Topicals help with something like eye bags?
what causes bags under the eyes?
First of all, what causes the dreaded eye bags or puffy eyes we dread seeing when we wake up in the morning? There’s like not just one reason, so we’ll touch on the most common causes as follows:
- Aging, in general
- Sinuses and allergies
- Fluid retention from too much sodium in your diet
- Stress and/or anxiety
- Lack of genuine rest or regular sleep
If you’re not sure exactly what’s causing your bags, it be a combination of these causes that you can discover through some observation. Keeping a sleep journal to notate how much sleep you got or when you were struggling to sleep is an excellent start. Turn it into a good diary too while you’re at it as this will also keep track of what you are consuming to see if food proves to be the culprit.
It can be a huge struggle trying to figure our the root to your eye bags – fortunately, there’s potential that CBD may be able to help no matter the initial cause.
how do cbd topicals work?
Before we can answer if CBD topicals help with eye bags, we first have to look at how CBD topicals work! The human body (and most other mammals) has what’s known as the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.
Making up the ECS are the endocannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, that are placed across different areas in the body. The ECS also contains endocannabinoids that utilize both these receptors and enzymes. In the 1990s, we identified the ECS as a complex cell-signaling system because of the role these CB receptors seem to have.
CBD is almost identical, on a molecular level, to the endocannabinoids we naturally produce; so when these endocannabinoids bind to receptors throughout the body, its effects largely vary depending on where the receptors are located throughout the body. For example, by interacting with the CB2 receptors in your immune system, it triggers a natural response for other receptors in the body to better regulate inflammation.
So how to CBD Topicals work? Well, there just happens to be CB1 receptors all across the skin. On the epidermal layer of the body, it’s easy to see that cannabinoids that interact with these receptors would cause different results.
CBD creams and other topicals are useful alternatives to products that contain THC, as well as over-the-counter steroid-based topicals that provide more temporarily relief at the expense of elasticity and melatonin production that would otherwise retain the healthy aspects of the skin. Becoming more popular among a group of aging CBD users, topicals are often used for everything from inflammation to joint pain.
can cbd topicals help with eye bags?
Now that we know a little more detail about how CBD Topicals work, we can answer the more pressing question on everyone’s minds – is it going to help with bags under the eyes? In short, yes, but there are some things to keep in mind. CBD Topicals may help with eye bags and puffy eyes, but not every CBD Topical is the same.
In fact, CBD can come in many different forms, including salves, balms, gels, patches, lotions, creams, ointments, and even a pure oil form. Most of these forms are easily absorbed when applied to an affected area directly; however some forms are easier to absorb than others.
Furthermore, relief is rarely immediate. Depending on the severity of your discomfort, frequency of use and dose amount vary the efficacy of the product, ranging between 1 and 48 hours before feeling said desired relief. Consistent and regular dosing is recommended here as to best avoid the long wait before its effects are felt.
Consistent, regular use on an as-needed basis throughout the day is what most users find Topicals to perform at its best. Thanks to CBD’s inherent abilities to act as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, using this to treat localized discomfort works a whole lot better than a Tincture or Gummies would. So try it out!
the other ingredients involved
It’s not just CBD that’s making the topical effective for your puffy eyes. The efficacy of the product depends greatly on what other active ingredients are formulated with it. While CBD has its own beneficial and medicinal properties, the hemp plant contains over 400+ other cannabinoids, some of which carry their own benefits.
Outside of hemp, your skin needs other vitamins and nutrients to keep it at its best. Once again, this is where Envy’s CBD Topicals shine. In addition to our Full Plant Extract CBD containing all the necessary cannabinoids to ensure ultimate comfort, each of our products also possess its own collection of emollients all geared towards softening and restoring your skin back to its natural beauty.
For the purposes of eye bags and other aesthetically-centric facial issues, just our Face Cream alone possesses the following:
- Organic Aloe Vera. Anti-inflammatory agent
- Vitamin E.Protection against free radicals
- Vitamin C.Increases collagen production
- Vitamin B5.Softens skin
- Avocado Oil.Moisturizes dry skin
Carefully selected, each of these additional, natural ingredients play a role in the reduction of your puffy eyes. They either help with inflammation, maintaining the reduction of puffiness, moisturizing of the skin, or a combination of all three.
the bottom line
When it comes to eye bags, puffy eyes, or any aesthetically compromising issue your face or overall skin experiences, look to CBD Topicals as an alternative to finding relief. While CBD Tincture oils and Gummies may provide total, whole-body relief over a period of time, applying CBD and its vitamin-rich emollient mixtures directly to the affected area has its benefits.