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Do Edibles Make Your Eyes Red?

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A close up shot of a woman's eye, which looks red and puffy

Red eyes can be a classic sign that someone’s smoked cannabis. You’ve seen it on TV, you’ve seen it in movies, or you may have even seen it in the mirror, but it’s an undeniable fact that smoking weed can turn your eyes red. Now, suppose you turn to something a little more edible to avoid using the last of your dry eye drops. 

These days, you can get cannabis in all shapes and sizes, and edibles are a popular choice. Some people think that by avoiding smoke, you can prevent red eyes. But the answer is a bit more complicated. Whether or not you get red eyes depends on the cannabinoid chemical in your edible, THC or CBD. Edibles with THC can make your eyes red. 

As your eye care professionals, we can help you learn more about how cannabis can affect your eyes and provide daily eye care tips for a wide range of additional eye diseases and other health conditions, from pink eye to diabetes

What Are Edibles?

Simply put, edibles are cannabis-infused food products. This doesn’t mean someone is taking cannabis and cooking it into a pie. Rather, edibles are made from oils called cannabinoids that are extracted from cannabis. 

The two major cannabinoids in edibles are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the much easier-to-pronounce cannabidiol (CBD).

You can find edibles in almost any shape you can imagine, including:

  • Gummies
  • Candy
  • Chocolate
  • Brownies
  • Cookies
  • Drinks
  • Supplements

Keep in mind that edibles can take longer to affect you—from 30 minutes to 2 hours—since they have to first go through your digestive system. They can also be more potent and last longer, so the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction suggests starting with edibles with no more than 2.5mg of THC.

Start low and slow, as consuming too much can lead to health complications such as chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and nausea.

Chocolate marijuana edibles spread out on a table. Marijuana edibles contain THC


THC is the most researched cannabinoid out there at the moment. It’s the one responsible for your high and, similarly, the one that makes your eyes red. This redness is because THC can lower your blood pressure and dilate your blood vessels. Our eyes have many tiny blood vessels, so when they dilate, this can lead to the stereotypical bloodshot look.

The potency of cannabis can depend on the concentration of THC. Distributors typically show this as a percentage referring to the weight of THC or the volume of the oil. For example, dried cannabis has an average THC potency of 15% today.

Edibles, however, entirely depend on the amount of THC extract added. Therefore, any edibles you buy in-store should have the total THC printed on them as milligrams (mg) per unit.


Cannabidiol (CBD) doesn’t produce the same high as THC, and there’s even evidence that it may lower the effects THC has on the mind. Researchers are currently looking at CBD for therapeutic uses, and you may find it in some natural health products.

Because CBD doesn’t dilate your blood vessels as THC does, it doesn’t lead to red eyes. But, of course, this only happens if your edibles don’t have any traces of THC, as some products may have both.

Treating Red Eyes from Edibles

Red eyes from THC are not typically dangerous, but they can be annoying. You may notice your eyes are irritated, puffy, and uncomfortable, but that feeling should fade after the THC wears off.

However, other eye issues can result in red eyes too. Redness could be a sign of dry eyes or an eye infection such as conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. If you notice that your red, irritated eyes don’t go away, it’s best to visit an optometrist for an eye exam to make sure it’s not something more serious.

If your red eyes are just from edibles, there are some steps you can take to reduce the symptoms:

  • Stay hydrated: Drinking lots of water may help fight eye dryness and irritation
  • Use eye drops: You can use eye drops specifically for dry and red eyes to reduce symptoms or the bloodshot appearance. Dr. Vagners recommends LUMIFY. Available at York Mills Eye Care or order online, shipped to your home from our webshop.    
  • Apply a cool compress: If eye irritation and puffiness are becoming a bit more than you can handle, press a cool face cloth against your eyes for a few minutes.
  • Reduce THC intake: Since THC dilates your blood vessels, you can always stitch to CBD-only edibles or eat edibles with a lower THC percentage to help reduce the redness.

Stop Seeing Red

It’s not just the edibles turning your eyes red—it’s the THC inside. Thankfully, red eyes from edibles aren’t usually dangerous. But as with anything, moderation and attention are essential.Your red eyes might be due to something other than consuming cannabis. If that’s the case, York Mills Eye Care has a friendly team ready to diagnose whatever irritates your eyes. So take a moment to relax, but make sure you contact us to book an eye exam if your symptoms persist.

Written by Dr. Vagners

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