Back in 1972, an ophthalmologist told his patient, a man named Robert C. Randall, that his glaucoma would cause him to go blind within 5 years. Glaucoma is a disease that usually occurs when fluid builds up in the front part of the eye. This excess liquid leads to increased pressure which in turn damages the optic nerve. This may reduce vision or cause complete loss of it. Distraught, Randall went on to experiment with all available treatment methods; although these showed promise at the outset, his body developed a tolerance to the medication and he was back to square one. This went on for months.

One fine evening, while enjoying marijuana with his friend, he found that after smoking his vision would improve considerably. This led him to one conclusion: Marijuana was his only chance. As such, he began cultivating the devil’s lettuce at his domicile in Washington, D.C, U.S.A. Needless to say, the law eventually caught up to him and he was brought to court. With the help of medical professionals and legal counsel, he was able to convince the judge of his need to smoke the banned drug. Not only did the federal government allow him to use it, they even provided him a legal supply of it.

A similar case, in 2018, Billy Caldwell, a British 12-year-old child had his epilepsy medication, which was cannabis oil, confiscated at Heathrow Airport in London. Following outcry, he was too granted a licence to use it. Cannabinoids, the active ingredients in marijuana, regulate symptoms of many prevalent conditions like migraines, epilepsy and glaucoma. Is there similar hope for lazy eye sufferers?

Also called amblyopia, it is a vision development disorder in which an eye fails to achieve normal visual acuity when the brain and eye fail to work in sync. It is typically cured by forcing the affected eye to adapt, either through lab-based training or by use of an eyepatch. Current research cannot seem to find a mutual understanding of its cause; loss of plasticity in the visual cortex or a specific protein deficiency. Left untreated however, amblyopia has detrimental consequences. It can lead to serious vision loss in the affected eye. Permanent blindness is not off the table either. Perhaps cannabinoids are the answer here as well. Further research is a quintessential must.

It is important to note that in Mauritius, unlike Uruguay and Canada, cannabis is completely illegal. Possession, use and trade of it is a criminal offence pursuant to The Dangerous Drugs Act 2000. Although one may start marijuana-based research through certain legal avenues, this is not for you and me so any miracle discoveries will have to be put on hold. Thus, the therapeutic potential of marijuana in modern society remains untapped to-date.

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