You’ve probably heard the expression, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” Eye color is one of the first things looked at in a person’s face, and it can range from common colors like brown or blue to rare colors like hazel and gray. But what do red “rabbit” eyes usually indicate? Aside from being an albino or suffering from allergies, reddened eyes usually means the person is high AF! When the sclera (white part) of the eye looks bloodshot or has red streaks, there’s a good chance it indicates marijuana use. In this article, we’ll be looking over what exactly causes red eyes with cannabis use, if certain products cause reddened eyes more than others, and if there’s any way to prevent (or lessen) the appearance of bloodshot eyes.
What About Cannabis Makes Your Eyes Get Red?
It’s a common misconception that red eyes are simply irritated from weed smoke. This assumption makes sense at first, until you realize that other products like gummies, tinctures, and softgels can also make your eyes red. What gives?
It’s actually not weed itself or smoke that makes the eyes red, though it can contribute to dryness or irritation. The real culprit is THC! As THC works its way through your body, it lowers your blood pressure. This causes dilation of your blood vessels and capillaries, specifically your ocular capillaries. The blood flow to your eyes increases and pressure in the eye decreases (known as intraocular pressure). That tell-tale redness is caused by this increase of blood flow to your eyes and ultimately leaves you looking toasted.
We’ll be talking a bit more about this intraocular pressure and how it’s useful in glaucoma patients in a future article, but for right now, at least you understand why your eyes get red.
Are There Ways To Avoid/Reduce the Appearance of Red Eyes?
If you’d still rather take the risk of your reddened eyes giving you away, there are some ways to lessen the unsightly appearance in front of friends and family.
Eyedrops: Stay Moist!
Many brands specifically state that they are to help reddened eyes. While this is most likely to combat allergies, it may help to reduce the appearance of your bloodshot eyes. If someone comments on your eyes looking suspiciously red, whip out that bottle of eyedrops and shrug it off as seasonal allergies. This will probably only work during certain times of the year when allergies are more common, but can be quite handy in a pinch.
Water: Drink Lots Of It & Rinse Your Face!
One of the more annoying side effects of getting high is the constant dry mouth. If you do experience an uncomfortable sticky dryness, you may not even need the extra encouragement to drink more. Rather than loading up on sodas and juices, be sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Another thing to try is to rinse your face and eyes with a splash of cold water. This can help you feel more awake, refreshed, and less inclined to let your eyelids droop.
While this actually isn’t a way to reduce redness, it may be the foolproof way to avoid those unsightly eyes (no pun intended!). Try experimenting with various products to see which ones don’t leave your eyes noticeably red. You may notice that products containing low amounts of THC won’t affect you as strongly (i.e., gummies instead of vape carts) or that the redness fades after a few hours despite you still being high. You may want to avoid activities that require a lot of interaction, such as family reunions as opposed to going to see a movie, or opting to get high when you know you won’t be around people.
Keep Some Sunglasses Handy
Ever hear the expression “Hide in plain sight”? This can help when your eyes are noticeably reddened and nothing you’ve tried works. Grab a pair of your favorite shades and hide behind the tinted lenses until your reddened eyes aren’t as noticeable. This works especially well with sunny outdoor functions, and may distract others from wondering why your eyes are hidden.
Choose Products With Lower THC Levels
The more cannabinoids in the product, the higher the chance of getting reddened eyes. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, all hemp products must contain 0.3% THC or less. You’ll want to check the CoA to see the amounts of each cannabinoid in the actual product. If you find yourself dealing with reddened eyes frequently, it might not be a bad idea to go with products that are lower on the 0.3% threshold.
Are There Certain Products That Make Your Eyes More Red?
It’s a tricky question to answer, as cannabis affects each user differently. Some consumers may never experience reddened/bloodshot eyes, while others experience full-blown “rabbit eyes.” As stated before, red eyes are a result of THC lowering your blood pressure and your blood vessels and capillaries being dilated. You may be particularly sensitive to THC and experience red eyes more frequently than your peers.
The common misconception is that inhalables are more inclined to leave you with red eyes, but the truth is that any product containing high amounts of THC can do the trick. The only way to know for sure if certain products affect your eyes more severely is to experiment with various types of products. You may notice reddened eyes more with vape carts versus capsules, but again, this is solely unique to you. Try keeping a journal to help you notice if your eyes get red with certain product types.
So…Red Eyes Are Actually A Good Thing?
If you’re experiencing red eyes for the first time or notice that your eyes look redder than usual, it’s actually a good thing! The redder the eyes, the stronger the concentration of THC found within the product you’ve consumed. This can ultimately result in more potent effects and a stronger high. While red eyes aren’t detrimental to your health, there’s an uncomfortable stigma surrounding them that you may want to avoid. The redness typically fades after a few hours and your other “pearly whites” will be back to normal.
As a side note, reddened eyes that are watery and itchy may be a more serious problem. You may have an allergic reaction to cannabis products, which could leave your eyes puffy and somewhat reddened. If you’re sensitive to tobacco or incense, there’s a chance you may feel the same way around cannabis smoke/vapor. If you experience uncomfortably red itchy eyes, cease use immediately and contact your primary care physician.
Reddened eyes are a very common and instantly recognizable side effect from cannabis use. Contrary to popular belief, reddened eyes are not caused by the smoke from joints/blunts, but can be caused from edibles, capsules, vape carts, and any other product containing THC. THC has the unique ability to lower your blood pressure, which in turn causes your capillaries and blood vessels to dilate, ultimately resulting in those reddened eyes. While there are some ways to reduce or hide the appearance of red eyes, you may be better off letting your eyes return to normal naturally. Red eyes are actually a sign of a potent cannabinoid concentration, meaning that the redder your eyes get, the stronger the effects will be!
Here at TwoHawk Extracts, we’re all for letting those red eyes show! We’re proud to showcase our exquisite lineup of products ranging from gummies, softgels, tinctures, disposable vapes and vape cartridges. We carry a variety of psychoactive cannabinoids including Delta-8 THC, Farm Bill Compliant Delta-9 THC, HHC, and THC-O . Each of our products have been subjected to third-party independent labs to ensure purity and potency, the results of which are listed in each of our product descriptions as well as via a scannable QR code on the product packaging. Should you have any questions regarding anything in this article or about cannabis in general, feel free to reach out to su! Our team of cannabis specialists look forward to answering your questions and shedding some light on all that the hemp plant has to offer. Join us in our next article, where we’ll discuss what secondhand cannabis smoke is and whether or not it can affect you. We look forward to seeing you there!