Cannabis Science

Does Weed Help Pink Eye?

closeup of eye

Waking up to the feeling of sand in your eye is one of the worst ways to greet the day. Your eyes feel glued shut, and after getting up to look at them, they’re pretty red. Yup, you’ve got pink eye. You’ve already heard about the healing properties of weed, and so naturally, you’re wondering if weed can help your pink eye infection. Here’s what we know. 

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Does Smoking Weed Help Pink Eye? 

John Hopkins Medicine describes pink eye, or conjunctivitis, as an infection or irritation of your conjunctiva. As they put it, conjunctivitis is the membrane that lines the inside of the eyelid and the whites of the eyes.

Some of the symptoms of pink eye, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, are:

  • Swelling of eyelids
  • Pink or red discoloration of the eye 
  • Itching, irritation, or burning sensation in the eye
  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Discharge from the eye 

Now that we know exactly what pink eye is and the symptoms, let’s talk about whether or not smoking weed can help pink eye. 

Unfortunately, there is no scientific proof that smoking weed can help pink eye. 

We found a 2021 study that investigated the therapeutic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on certain eye issues. The study showed that CBD has inflammatory properties and could help people with corneal pain, inflammation, and other eye issues. However, it did not investigate CBD’s effects on the pink eye. Therefore, we can’t say it can help people with pink eye.

But this research is promising. 

Compassionate Certification Centers believe that medical marijuana can alleviate some of the symptoms of pink eye, such as sensitivity to pain and inflammation. 

We also spoke with Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry about pink eye and whether or not weed helps pink eye. 

He tells us, “There is no scientific evidence that marijuana or CBD helps treat pink eye (conjunctivitis). Pink eye is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection, irritants, or allergies – none of which would be improved with cannabis use. In fact, smoking could further irritate inflamed eyes. Appropriate medical treatment is required based on the underlying cause.”

Treatment of Pink Eye 

So, since weed is not a viable treatment for pink eye, naturally, you’re wondering what treatment options are available. 

The treatment depends on what caused your pink eye. 

Dr.Chaudhry says that viral pinkeye usually resolves within 1-2 weeks. However, if you want to relieve your symptoms, he recommends cool compresses and artificial tears.

If bacteria cause your pink eye, Dr.Chaudhry says treatment includes antibiotic eye drops or ointments. He recommends strict hygiene practices to prevent spreading infection to others.

If an allergy causes your pink eye, Dr.Chaudhry says you can manage it by avoiding allergen exposure, over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops, or prescription anti-allergy eye meds.

Finally, Irritant pink eye improves by identifying and avoiding irritating substances and using cool compresses, according to Dr.Chaudhry. 

Can I Smoke Weed With Pink Eye?

If you have pink eye, you’re probably wondering if a blunt is a good idea.

Dr. Chaudhry says it’s not recommended. 

“Smoke of any kind can further irritate inflamed or infected eyes related to pink eye. Also, marijuana can impair the immune response needed to fight off infection. It’s best to refrain from smoking until symptoms fully resolve, see an optometrist, and finish any treatments prescribed. That will lead to the fastest recovery.”

While it’s clear that smoking weed with pink eye isn’t recommended, you may be wondering if smoking weed can make pink eye worse.

Dr.Chaudhry tells us that weed may worsen pink eye. 

“Marijuana smoke contains irritants that could worsen inflammation, redness, and discomfort from pink eye. Smoking also suppresses immune function, potentially interfering with the body’s ability to clear up a viral or bacterial infection associated with conjunctivitis. Refraining from cannabis use during active pink eye is advisable.”

If you take medical marijuana, please have a talk with your doctor about your pink eye treatment options and the impact of your weed consumption.

Can Weed Give You Pink Eye?

There is a misconception that weed can give you pink eye. However, according to Dr. Chaudhry, it’s very unlikely. 

“It is very unlikely that smoking marijuana directly causes pink eye. However, cannabis smoke may irritate the eyes and cause dryness or redness which could be mistaken for minor viral conjunctivitis. Persistent redness/irritation can also increase risk of bacterial infection. So while weed is not a direct cause, it may exacerbate symptoms in some cases. Proper diagnosis by an eye doctor is recommended.”

You can check out over-the-counter eye drops if you don’t actually have pink eye and just have red eyes from smoking weed. 


Does weed help pink eye? While weed is believed to have medical properties like the ability to reduce inflammation and pain, weed is not an approved treatment for pink eye. Your best bet is to see a doctor who will prescribe a treatment based on the cause of your pink eye. You may want to avoid consuming weed while your pink eye is healing for a quicker recovery. 


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].