Does CBD Hemp Flower Make Your Eyes Red?

Blond women holding her glasses in the left hand opening her eyes wide so you can see how bloodshot they are.

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Nothing says “I just smoked” quite like red, bloodshot eyes, but it may surprise you to learn that the CBD in your hemp flower likely isn’t the culprit.

CBD hemp flower sometimes causes red, bloodshot, or watery/dry eyes, but this usually occurs because trace amounts of THC are found in the buds. THC, a cannabinoid found in high volumes in marijuana, impacts tear production, blood vessel dilation, and other factors that cause changes to the eyes. 

It is possible for CBD to cause similar side effects, just like it’s possible to find CBD hemp flower that doesn’t produce these results. Because THC is probably the source of your red eyes, though, it’s advisable to avoid it as best you can if you don’t want to deal with them. Doing so is easier than it may seem.

Why Using Cannabis Causes Bloodshot Eyes

Cannabis plants, including both hemp and marijuana, are rich in natural compounds like terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids

These compounds interact with the body in unique ways to influence things like mood, immune functioning, and other bodily processes. 

The eyes are not exempt from this reality. Cannabinoids, like CBD, are particularly influential when it comes to causing bloodshot eyes; once bound to specific receptors in the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids can change the way our eyes function.

The Culprit: THC

The bright red, bloodshot, watery eyes that are typically associated with cannabis actually come not from the plant itself, but a specific cannabinoid found within it: THC.

THC, another type of cannabinoid found in high volumes in marijuana and low volumes in hemp, regulates tear production in the eyes as it binds to the C1 and C2 receptors found in the body.

In other words, when THC enters the body and is metabolized, it joins forces with specific receptors that have the ability to influence the amount of tears your eyes produce. 

Likewise, these receptors can also cause the blood vessels in the eyes to widen and swell, leading to the bloodshot, red look we’re familiar with. 

Does CBD Hemp Flower Give You Red Eyes?

CBD is not often linked to red eyes, largely because it is not known to interact with the eye’s blood vessels and tear production abilities in the way THC does. 

But that doesn’t mean it’s unheard of to experience red eyes after using CBD hemp flower.

In fact, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that either phenomenon could occur, depending on the individual. 

But what does the research tell us? Currently, studies show that red eyes sometimes occur after an individual uses CBD, but this phenomenon is far less common with CBD hemp flower than marijuana.

While few individuals in existing research examining these symptoms report red eyes, some do. 

Because we understand how THC works and how it differs from CBD, we can say with some level of confidence that CBD is more unlikely to cause these symptoms.

But more research is certainly needed to know for sure how high the risk of these experiences is as well as what can be done to prevent it. 

CBD Hemp Flower & THC

Something important to note in regard to CBD hemp flower and red eyes is the fact that many strains of CBD hemp flower may (legally) contain trace amounts of THC. That means that CBD hemp flower may give you red, bloodshot eyes, even if CBD itself doesn’t produce that reaction in you. 

How much THC you’re dealing with will depend on the type of flower, but to meet federal guidelines, hemp flower must have 0.3% THC or less (by weight). 

You can rest assured that this amount is too small to produce psychoactive effects or cause THC toxicity, but (especially if you smoke a lot of flower) it may be enough to cause things like red eyes.

THC doesn’t have to be an enemy, though. In fact, its presence in your flower, even in the trace amounts allowed by the federal government, can enhance the strength and efficacy of your CBD thanks to the entourage effect.

Does CBD Affect Your Eyes?

Some CBD users may experience red or otherwise irritated eyes after using a product, particularly CBD hemp flower, but the cannabinoid on its own is generally not known to affect the eyes. 

Of course, every individual is different, and so too are the reactions our bodies have to the products we use. 

If you do notice adverse effects after using CBD hemp flower or another product type, it’s not a bad idea to slow down or halt use.

In that vein, you may notice some changes to the way you feel after ingesting or smoking CBD that indicate an allergy may be present, or that something else about your product is irritating your system.

Does CBD Make Your Eyes Dry?

CBD is not known to cause dry eyes; in fact, there may even be some potential to use CBD in eyedrops or to treat chronic health conditions that affect the eyes, like glaucoma. 

In one study examining the effects of pure CBD and CBD-dominant, THC-containing flower, participants consistently failed to rate dry, red eyes as a symptom. This value rose, however, when participants used the product containing THC.

If you do feel like your eyes tend to be dry or itchy after you smoke CBD flower, it’s possible you may be experiencing an allergic reaction. Smoking may be especially likely to cause this problem. 

When in doubt, it’s wise to consult a healthcare professional about your concerns and how to safely use your CBD products with your personal limitations.

Does CBD Make Your Eyes Glossy?

Because CBD doesn’t drastically change the way your eyes produce tears like THC does, it usually does not cause watery or glossy eyes. It is possible, though, especially when smoking CBD flower with THC in it. 

As is the case for dry, itchy eyes, watery or glossy eyes that don’t seem to go away may be indicative of an allergy. Keep an eye out for persistent symptoms or ones that cause more than just mild discomfort.

Does CBD Make Your Eyes Feel Heavy?

As relaxation is a common benefit associated with CBD, you may feel like your eyes are droopy or heavy after smoking it. 

But in terms of physically impacting the eyes to cause this “heavy” feeling, there’s not really any evidence to suggest that CBD is at play.

Strawberry blonde women blowing out a cloud of smoke a mountain range in the background.

How to Get Rid of Bloodshot Eyes

Regardless of what in particular is causing them, bloodshot, red eyes are seldom fun to deal with. It’s usually best to take a two-pronged approach, as few products out there can successfully target both dryness and inflammation.

To tackle the dryness in your eyes, we recommend using natural tears, such as Thera Tears, to provide the soothing moisture you need to get back on track. 

This sort of product is the safest type of eye drop you can use, but it can’t do much to help you with the redness itself. 

To do that, you’ll want to use a specialized eye drop, such as Clear Eyes, that’s formulated to approach the problem at its source. 

Together, these two products can help you (and your eyes!) feel back to normal quickly and easily. 

Final Thoughts

Based on what we know now about CBD and the ways it interacts with our bodies, it seems safe to say that when red, bloodshot eyes occur after its use, the trace amounts of THC that come with it may be to blame.

However, it’s not outside the realm of possibility to experience red or dry/watery eyes after using pure CBD. This side effect is very uncommon, though; in the studies we explored above, no more than 2-3% of participants reported it. 

This is good news for those who aren’t fans of the adverse effects that tend to come with THC. It’s almost always possible to completely avoid them and still reap the benefits of the cannabis plant through the use of CBD products.

CBD hemp flower may not be the best product option if you want to avoid red eyes, but some strains of flower may still work for you. Otherwise, there are dozens of other product options available that bypass this risk. 

No matter what you decide, be sure to shop with trustworthy sellers to ensure you get the most product for your money, but also that you aren’t exposing yourself to irritating ingredients. 

For a comprehensive collection of product and seller recommendations, as well as information that can help guide you toward a purchase decision that works for you, be sure to check out our directory

We’re dedicated to making CBD products like flower accessible and comprehensible so you can medicate with ease!

If you’re specifically looking for CBD flower, click here to check out our personal favorite company, Secret Nature.

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Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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