Aug 25 , 2020
People have been smoking cannabis for a long time now, and the psychoactive effects of smoking cannabis have long since been known. Even long before THC was discovered or understood, we knew that we could use cannabis to feel good in all sorts of ways, from mood elevation to pain relief. But more recently, we’ve begun to understand exactly what’s in cannabis, what THC is and does, and now we’re beginning to learn more and more about cannabidiol (CBD) and the other cannabinoids found in cannabis.
THC is the key compound that made cannabis so famous (which is fair, since it’s the part that actually gets you high), but CBD is finding its time in the spotlight. CBD offers a host of incredible properties from insomnia relief to pain relief (it can even help with anxiety). But, despite CBD’s full legal status and the general acceptance of cannabis culture, there is still some stigma surrounding cannabis use.
Getting caught with stereotypical bloodshot red eyes can still land you in hot water with some people. So what if you aren’t even planning on getting high and just want to take some CBD for your back pain? Will that make you give off the impression that you just smoked a fatty before you showed up? We’ll answer all your questions about CBD, THC, red eyes, and more, and we’ll show you our favorite ways to clear up red bloodshot eyes.
Does CBD make your eyes red?
In short, no. In fact, a very resounding no. CBD does not, will not, cannot make your eyes red. It completely lacks the properties in THC that cause bloodshot eyes. This means if you’re just taking CBD, you’re good to go! There are no notable side effects, including red eyes, so you can take your favorite CBD gummies or CBD vape pen anytime and anywhere without fear of looking stoned. But what about those of us that want to take our CBD with some good, old fashioned, THC-laden cannabis? Well, if that’s your plan, you can pretty much count on bloodshot eyes to pair with your giggles and munchies.
Why does smoking cannabis make your eyes red?
While the main reason for red eyes when we smoke cannabis is basically a side effect of getting high, there can actually be a few more reasons it could make your eyes red. Keep in mind that although CBD itself won’t make your eyes red, if you’re coupling it with THC (or if you’re smoking a high CBD strain that still has a considerable amount of THC in it) and don’t want to be called out for your stoney eyes, you’ll need to take steps to prevent that from happening.
The number one reason for red eyes when we use cannabis is resultant of the same thing that gets us high - THC. When THC enters the system, your blood vessels expand, causing blood pressure to drop. This lower blood pressure leads to increased blood flow to make up for the lower pressure. This becomes particularly apparent in our eyes, which take on a red hue as the blood vessels expand and blood flow increases to make up for the lower blood pressure.
Beyond the fact that THC lowers blood pressure, there can be several other factors that cause or worsen red eyes. One of these is simply irritation. If you’ve ever found yourself sitting in a hazy cloud after a couple of blunts, rubbing your eyes from irritation, then you’ll already be aware of just how irritating smoke can be for the eyes. While hotboxing may be touted as a way to get the most out of your cannabis, it’s certainly never going to help with your red eyes.
Another reason cannabis use makes eyes red besides lower blood pressure is all the coughing that can come along with a good rip. We’ve all got that one friend who always milks the bong a little harder than they should and winds up coughing up a lung. A good coughing fit can also affect your blood pressure, thus affecting your blood vessels and making your eyes that much more red.
While allergies certainly don’t affect every cannabis user, many of us have at least a mild allergy to cannabis (or other things that can wind up on the cannabis we smoke, such as pet dander and other types of pollen). If you’re worried about red eyes and have a known allergy to cannabis, you’re going to basically have to use something to clear up your severely irritated, watery, itchy, stoney red eyes.
How can I fix my red eyes?
While a couple of basic fixes may help reduce red eyes (like smoking in an open air environment or taking allergy medication), there’s really just one surefire fix for red eyes: eyedrops. If you have an aversion to putting in eyedrops, you may be better off smoking when you’re sure to be in good company that won’t care about your red eyes. And if you’re just not used to eyedrops, don’t worry - they aren’t so bad once you get used to putting them in yourself.
Rohto Redness Relief Drops - $4.98
Rohto is our number one go-to for redness relief. Your red eyes don’t stand a chance against these incredible eye drops. Keep in mind that they’re also “cooling” eye drops, so if you’re not used to those, don’t be caught off guard by the cooling sensation. Some people call it a slight burning sensation the first time they use eye drops like these, but it becomes a very enjoyable one after a use or two. Most importantly, these eye drops will absolutely clear up your red eyes.
LUMIFY Redness Relief Drops - $19.93
LUMIFY is another incredible product for your eyes. These drops are the only OTC eye drops that use brimonidine, an active ingredient which targets the source of redness without some of the side effects of other redness relievers. The price tag may seem a little steep, but after you put these in your eyes you’ll never go back to other drops.
Clear Eyes Redness Relief Drops - $5.44
Clear Eyes is one of the best-known redness relief drops (who doesn’t remember that old Ben Stein adds with the bloodshot eye beachball?). These drops are perfect for red eyes, and they come without the intense cooling effect of some other drops. Keep in mind that these aren’t as strong as our first two products, so they’ll probably cover up a bowl or two, but deep bloodshot red eyes may not clear up as completely.
Visine Advanced Redness Relief - $5.99
Visine is another time tested, tried-and-true brand. Their popularity has been well-earned for decades now. This new formula designed specifically for eye redness is a great mix of effective and affordable. In some patients, Visine can cause a bit of a “yellowing” effect, rather than truly “whitening,” so you’ll have to try them out and see if they suit your needs.
Similasan Complete Eye Relief Drops - $15.99
If your red eyes are the product of more than just getting high, whether it’s irritation, allergies, or both, these are the perfect drops for your tired eyes. Formulated with natural active ingredients, these are free of any harsh vasoconstrictors which can be damaging to the eyes. Grab this money-saving two-pack and enjoy all-natural relief for your red eyes.
To reiterate, if you’ve been wondering “does CBD make your eyes red,” the answer is a very firm no. CBD is perfect for relief without inebriation, but your red eyes are entirely the product of THC. Both THC and CBD are extremely unique and helpful components of the cannabis plant, but their effects are quite far from each other.
If you want to read further into the world of cannabis, check out these topics:
- Does all cannabis contain CBD and THC?
- How do THC and CBD interact?
- Does THC have medicinal properties?