Cannabis Enhances Night Vision (Probably)

green eyeFishermen Report Cannabis Enhances Night Vision

Cannabis enhances night vision? Twenty-five years ago, The Guardian reported on a strange phenomenon in Jamaica: local fishermen that smoked cannabis or drank cannabis-infused rum seemed to have noticeably better night vision. In fact, local fisherman described “an uncanny ability to see in the dark”. In 2002, Moroccan fisherman recorded a similar phenomenon.

Tadpole Study

Now, in 2016, a new study on tadpoles is shedding light on the mechanism at work. For example, scientists measured an increased sensitivity to light when they applied synthetic cannabinoids to the tadpoles eyes. After being exposed to cannabinoids, the retinal ganglion cells in the optic nerve fired more rapidly to light. Tadpoles naturally avoid any dark dots when placed in a petri dish. Tadpoles typically avoid the dark dots. Dark dots may indicate a predator or other threat.

Based on this knowledge, scientists compared tadpoles exposed to cannabinoids to tadpoles that had not been exposed. In regular light conditions, tadpoles from both groups behaved the same. The cannabinoid-exposed tadpoles avoided significantly more dots in lower light conditions. The research appears to indicate that cannabis enhances night vision in tadpoles. Hence, the research indicates that cannabis or cannabis-derived medications may effectively treat degenerative eye diseases. Degenerative eye diseases include, for example, glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa, as well as others. Although the jury is still out, it seems possible that cannabis enhances night vision.

Read the full article from Science Alert here or read the original study here.

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