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Why Does Weed Make Your Eyes Red

“His eyes are red, he must be smoking weed!” We often hear that a lot of times. In fact, even when a person does not smoke weed, red, bloodshot eyes are usually associated with marijuana. Among the most common effects and signs of smoking weed,is red and bloodshot eyes.

Is this something to be really worried about Expert users often say that there really is nothing to be concerned about your eyes, provided that you are not experiencing any allergic reaction or a result of a much bigger complication. Red, bloodshot eyes are a natural occurrence that comes as a result when smoking cannabis.

What Causes the Reaction

This typical reaction explains the variations of the redness intensity in the eyes. A person may still smoke a strain with low THC and experience zero to minimum red eyes, while they might experience having a beet red eyes the next day after smoking a strain with a higher THC.

This same explanation is also responsible for the fact that red eyes may still happen even when not smoking, such as when consuming edibles. This means that it is not really the smoke that can make your eyes looking red, but it is the cannabinoids that cause it.

With this said, it is highly possible for individuals to experience irritation or allergy to weed, even to smoking, in general. Allergic reactions can intensify the redness of the eyes. There may also be others whose reaction to smoke may be universal, which means that they get red eyes not just because of cannabis, but also tobacco, or even simple smoke sources such as incense.

The Impact of THC

Despite the fact that a lot of people still continue to believe that red, bloodshot eyes are caused by the smoke itself, reality dictates that the smoke only has a little to do with the reaction. Regardless of the type of weed consumption, you may choose, from consuming edibles, smoking, vaping or dabbing, you will still experience red eyes. The reason has something to do with the THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, present in weed.

One of the several ways in which tetrahydrocannabinol affects us is by lowering our blood pressure. When this happens, the blood vessels expand, which also includes the capillaries, veins,and arteries. In our eyes, the ocular capillaries are dilated, which means that they can now take in more blood. These expanded blood vessels on the sclera even make the eyes redder.

THC is also known to reduce the eye’s intraocular pressure. The increase in this intraocular pressure is one of the main reasons why people increase glaucoma and all its other related conditions. Reducing the intraocular pressure is the only way in which glaucoma can be treated. When left untreated, glaucoma may result in severe vision loss, and blindness, eventually.

The primary issue related to the treatment of glaucoma is that the intraocular pressure has to be lowered constantly for the eye to properly function. Another issue is that users who consume a huge amount of THC may experience certain side effects in their daily life.

Pressure Change in the Eyes

One common myth is that red eye comes as a result of the eyes wildly bulging and rotating when a user is high. This is caused by the presence of THC, which is considered as a famous psychoactive and most prevalent compound found in weed. It is also known to reduce blood pressure, increase blood circulation and dilate blood vessels.

The reduction of blood pressure decreases the pressure surrounding the optic nerve. Glaucoma patients also have excessive pressure on the optic nerve, which is treatable by cannabis. The connection between weed and its short-term effects on glaucoma goes way back a few decades ago.

Also, the decrease in the pressure of the inner eye often results in the dilation of blood vessels and capillaries. This means that when the blood increases, the small blood vessels have space to expand, thus resulting in red eyes which is noticeable.

If you are the type that is prone to red eyes after smoking weed, you might observe an intensity in color, especially when smoking a strain with high THC content. The effect can be different from a strain with a low THC content. At the same time, the change in pressure also explains why you also experience red eyes even when eating edibles. This is also the same reason that proves that it is not really the smoke which makes the eyes red, but the cannabinoids present in weed.

Potential Allergic Reactions

As mentioned, it was initially thought that it was the smoke from a weed that causes red eyes. One possible factor that shouldn’t be left out, however, is that there are some people who are just allergic to weed. One of the symptoms is red eyes.

In fact, some cigarette smokers experience red eyes as well from time to time, which is caused by the fact that the human eyes simply do not like getting in contact with smoke. This theory, however, does not completely explain why certain people get red eyes after smoking marijuana by consuming tinctures, oils, balms, and edibles.

Varying User Reactions

The level of redness and similar reactions may vary from one person to another, as much as it also varies depending on the strain consumed. If you are a regular smoker of cannabis, you may have already noticed that the same strain may have different effects on different users. These varying effects usually happen because of a number of factors, which include sex, genetics, general health, as well as the frequency of consumption. An increase in frequency usually results to weed tolerance.

You may have also observed that with your eyes. Some users really get dark red eyes, while on others, the very same strain may result in redness that is barely visible, even non-existent at times. This redness is dependent on the blood pressure of a person. For example, if you are experiencing high blood pressure, THC will not reduce it enough for the eyes to become really red. People with low blood pressure usually ends up having red eyes after consuming a potent strain.

Factors that Contribute to Red Eyes

Aside from allergies, there may also be other factors that can contribute to the red-eye experience. Here are some of them:

  • Genetics

Since our genetics usually have an impact on all the things that we do, it is highly possible that our DNA would reject a dose of weed, and results in red eyes right away. There is not much that we can do about this, but knowing about this fact will help you better deal with the possible results of smoking weed.

  • Strain

Each weed strain contains a wide variety of organic and chemical components. They usually interact with each other through metabolic processes. Thus, it is completely possible to deal with red eyes after using a certain strain and not after selecting a different one.

  • Weed Smoking Experience

Beginners in weed smoking are usually the most prone to having red eyes. Through time, it is highly possible that you will develop a tolerable level of resistance. With more experience, the better you can handle red eyes.

How to Deal with Red Eyes

The real reason for red eyes caused by cannabis is a harmless reaction. While it may not really be a welcoming reaction, it can turn out to be a really beneficial one. If you are also prone to experiencing red, bloodshot eyes after smoking cannabis, there are a number of ways to reduce or minimize redness of eyes.

  • Stay Hydrated

By increasing your liquid intake, you can alleviate the dryness that you may experience. After all, red eyes may be caused by dryness. With this said, it is best to stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water.

  • Choose the Right Strain

Whether you are a newbie in smoking weed, or an expert, choosing the right strain will certainly help you avoid, or at least minimize, the redness that you might experience. You may opt for low, or zero THC strains. Strains that are high in CBN and CBD may be the perfect alternative for individuals who are searching for a way to reduce red eyes after smoking.

  • Prepare Eye Drops

While eye drops are not the solution for completely eliminating or preventing red eyes, per se, but it can certainly help in reducing eye redness. There are a number of good brands in the market. If you are sensitive, it might also be best to choose the right kind of drops in order to avoid further redness from happening.

Variations of different eye drops contain the substance tetryzoline, which is also known as tetrahydrozoline, is an alpha agonist which constricts dilated blood vessels. If THC is what makes the capillaries and blood vessels to dilate, thus resulting in redness, the eye drops contrast the effects and bring the eyes back to its normal state.

These medications are safe for use, though it is still recommended to read the instructions carefully on the label of eye drops. There are certain alternatives to eye drop which may also constrict the blood vessels, including chocolate, caffeine, sodium,and licorice.

  • Cold Compress

There are certain options in using cold compresses to help deal with red eyes. For example, you can place cold slices of cucumber on both of your eyes for about 15 minutes. As an alternative, you can also place green tea bags in the fridge after enjoying tea. Remove them from the fridge and place them on your eyes to relieve the redness. If you are in a bit of a hurry, you may want to try placing an ice pack on your eyes for about 5 minutes or simply splash cold water on the face.

  • Stay at Home

One thing for sure, there is little that you can do in order to reduce the redness of your eyes. This means that you can just simply allow it to be, and just plan your smoking sessions at home. Red eyes are not really harmful, and they usually do not come with negative outcomes. The next time you see those bright, red eyes after smoking weed, keep in mind that extra flow of blood is really nothing to worry about.


It would have been really nice to smoke your favorite strain without having the rest of the world worry about your red eyes. However, in most cases, this cannot be stopped. The good news, though, is that knowledge as to the reason why the eyes turn red after smoking can help you find ways to potentially reduce the results.

Some weed users find it possible to hide their high. On the other hand, most consider having red eyes as a nightmare because the symptom is a clear give-away that they have been indulging weed. Even though it may not really be a problem if you smoke at home, it may become a huge deal if you have to socialize or work.

The primary issue with red eyes caused by weed is the associated stigma that goes with it. This causes people to shy away from weed. Aside from serving as a clear sign that you are smoking weed, red eyes are harmless, which only last for a very short period of time.

As a preliminary measure, it can help to experience with various strains, gradually reducing THC intact if you are suffering from severe red eye. At the same time, as you some weed, you may want to stay conscious and smoke in an area that is well-ventilated. It would also be wise to avoid mixing marijuana and alcohol. The tandem does not go well together.

Investing in effective eye drops is also helpful if you plan on smoking right before leaving the house. In fact, it has already been a staple among stoners for years now and has been found very effective.

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