Red Eyes While Smoking Cannabis

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Categories : Medical cannabis

Red Eyes While Smoking Cannabis

A reddening of the eyes is a common side effect of smoking cannabis, and it can have multiple causes. Although it is totally harmless, not everybody is fond of this effect and may want to reduce and avoid it. There are multiple ways to achieve this whilst still enjoying the effects of smoking weed.

Due to its massive social use and controversial status in many areas of the world, cannabis has many different stereotypes revolving around its use. Along with a person being extremely laid back, and severe cases of the “munchies”, another common occurrence from smoking cannabis is a reddening of the eyes, or, “red eye”. Many of us have had the experience whilst being stoned, strolling into the bathroom only to look at ourselves in the mirror momentarily to see two bright red, narrowed eyes staring back at us.

Red eye has a multitude of causes. Despite it being completely harmless, it can be an obvious sign, that a person has indulged in some marijuana. Whilst this is not a problem around friends and fellow stoners whilst chilling on the couch, walking the mountains or attending music festivals, it might be a problem during trips into public places, where cannabis use is not at all tolerated.

So what exactly causes red eyes? And how can a person disguise it when needed? Here are some answers.


The main cause of gleaming red eyes after smoking a packed bowl or monster joint is a simple biological phenomenon, a drop in blood pressure. The catalyst behind this occurrence is the magnificent, multifaceted cannabinoid known as THC. Besides its many other functions within the body, one of which is getting a person stoned in the first place, it also decreases blood pressure, which in turn dilates capillaries and blood vessels in the body. When this happens, blood flow is increased in the eyes, due to the ocular capillaries dilating and a reduction of intraocular pressure. This is the mechanism, that results in beaming red stoner eyes. We have all heard jokes about elderly people smoking weed to treat eye conditions. And that’s because marijuana is a damn good all-natural treatment for glaucoma, and this exact mechanism is what results in its effectiveness. Pressure behind the eye is relieved through cannabis ingestion.

Another factor, that might add to the intensity of your red eye is smoke. If you are hitting ginormous bowls or constantly hitting large joints, there is a likelihood, that you are going to get at least a tiny bit of smoke in the eye. As well as being painful, this can cause irritation to the eye and increased redness and speculation of smoking.

A final possible factor for increased red eye is inadequate hydration. If you are dehydrated, this may cause dry and irritated eyes. It may also cause more of a concentration of THC within the blood.


There are various cheap and easy methods to hide red eye if you are heading out in public and don’t want it to be too obvious, that you have smoked marijuana recently. Here are a few.


Perhaps the easiest and quickest way to ensure your eyes aren’t a bright red colour is through the use of eye drops. Eye drops will help you to avoid red eyes and clear the redness from them temporarily.


Probably the most obvious of solutions, but may still depend on the right situation. Sunny days and bright beaches are a perfect time to use sunglasses. Wearing them on a winter's night to take a trip to the store might look a little out of place though.


Keeping a glass of water or juice by you at all times when smoking is a great idea. If it isn’t there at the start, you might get a little too relaxed and choose not to make the journey to hydrate yourself. Having this supply of fluids in close proximity will keep your eyes from getting dry and looking more red than they should.


With the huge diversity of marijuana available to smokers today, we can indeed be strategic and smoke the right strain for the occasion at hand. If you know beforehand, that you have to leave the house soon to run an errand or meet a friend, but still want to smoke some cannabis beforehand, maybe consciously choose a strain, that is lower in THC, the cannabinoid that will ultimately lower blood pressure and cause red eyes. Perhaps a strain with a higher CBD percentage?


Another option, perhaps the easiest of them all, is to wait it out. Get some ventilation into the room to clear out all of the smoke, drink a few glasses of water and occupy your mind with a good book or informative video while you wait for the effects of THC to wear off and for your eyes to return to their normal state.