Red eyes: An inconvenient but harmless side-effect
Glazed-over red eyes, cottonmouth, and the giggles. Classic signs that you’ve been smoking cannabis. Luckily, the bloodshot eyes you get from consuming cannabis are completely harmless, but because they’re such a dead giveaway to being high, they can be highly inconvenient.
But are red eyes just a side effect of Delta 9 THC or does Delta 8 make your eyes red also? In this article we’re going to investigate the causes of cannabis red eye, tell you whether you should expect the same from consuming Delta 8, as well as talk about how to prevent and cure it.
What causes red eyes?
For a long time, people thought that the main cause of red eyes was from the cannabis smoke causing irritation to your eyes. But this can’t be true as people get red eyes from all kinds of cannabis products, from eating THC edibles and vaping too. So, if it’s not the smoke, what is it? And what makes some people more prone to it than others?
The answer is… Vasodilation
The reason people get red eyes from consuming cannabis is because of vasodilation. Puffy, red eyes are actually part of our bodies’ natural cardiovascular reaction to THC and the reason cannabis causes this reddening is the same reason why cannabis is recommended in the treatment of glaucoma.
THC causes vasodilation in the eyes by lowering blood pressure, which causes the blood vessels and capillaries in the eyes to dilate or widen.
When our ocular capillaries dilate, this increases blood flow to the eye and reduces pressure (called intraocular pressure). The increased blood flow to your eyeball is what causes the red, bloodshot appearance and the lowered blood pressure can account for the dizziness that also sometimes accompanies this red-eyed state.
You may notice that your eyes turn more red than someone else’s, or vice versa, even though you smoked the same cannabis strain, and this is because the severity of your red eye will depend on personal contributing factors including your health, age, and sex, and ultimately your blood pressure, before ingesting cannabis.
So, what about Delta 8? Does Delta 8 THC also cause vasodilation and reduce intraocular eye pressure?
Does Delta 8 THC cause red eye?
Unfortunately, yes, Delta 8 can and does cause red eyes. Delta 8 gummies have given me red eyes on more than one occasion. The red eye from Delta 9 THC seems to be worse, but that probably has a lot to do with potency and if you consumed enough Delta 8 THC then your eyes would probably be equally as red.
The reason Delta 8 THC also causes red eyes is that the chemical structure of Delta 8 is very similar to Delta 9 THC. Although research into Delta 8 is just in its infancy, it is quickly becoming apparent that Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC share many of the same therapeutic properties, as well as potential side effects.
Delta 8 has already been shown to reduce intraocular pressure in rabbits, meaning it is having the same effect on the cardiovascular system (in rabbits at least) as Delta 9 THC. Lowering the pressure in the eyes will inevitably lead to red eyes and other mild adverse effects that seem to be shared by Delta 8 and Delta 9 include dry eyes, dry mouth, increased appetite, slower reactions, memory loss, and increased heart rate.
Can you prevent red eyes?
If you have a work or family event to go to, then it may not be appropriate to show up with red eyes, so is there a way to prevent them in the first place?
Unfortunately, no, the only sure-fire way to prevent yourself from getting red eyes, or vasodilation, is to avoid all forms of THC. Vasodilation takes place on a subconscious level, so we have no control over it happening once we consume THC.
How to get rid of red eyes?
The quickest way to get rid of red eyes is to use allergy eye drops that are formulated especially for red eyes. They contain tetryzoline, a compound that causes dilated blood vessels to constrict, thereby reversing THC’s effects on your eyes and returning them to their usual whiteness very quickly.
However, using eye drops like this may increase redness with prolonged use, so you shouldn’t rely on them too often. Artificial tears are designed to combat itchiness and dryness and while they will also help, they won’t reduce the redness as quickly as allergy eye drops..
How to get rid of red eyes without eye drops?
If you don’t have any eye drops to hand or if you prefer to not use them (vasoconstricting drops should not be overused because they can seriously damage your eyes), then there are a couple of other things you can try to trigger vasoconstriction in your eyes.
Stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine can help to induce vasoconstriction, so drinking a cup of coffee or eating a few squares of dark chocolate may help to improve the appearance of your red eyes.
Cold water is also excellent at forcing your body to vasoconstrict as, in response to the cold, your body’s survival instinct is to push all of the blood towards the core to protect your vital organs.
So, you can try splashing cold water over your face, placing a cold compress over your eye area, or try laying cucumbers over your eyelids. Any one of these cooling activities will help to reduce the redness of your eyes by reducing the blood flow.
Failing that, if you can’t get rid of your red eyes, then you’ll just have to hide them with sunglasses. Just pray that it’s daytime, so you’re not that dude wearing sunglasses at night.
So, does Delta 8 make your eyes go red? Hell yeah it does!
If you don’t want people to know you’re high from consuming Delta 8, then your best bet is to start carrying around some allergy eye drops in your pocket. Delta 8 causes red eye for the same reasons that Delta 9 THC causes red eye and the only way to get rid of them will be to induce vasoconstriction.
The quickest way to solve your red eye problems is to use eye drops (not always the healthiest option), but in a pinch you should grab yourself a coffee and splash some cold water over your face.