Medical Marijuana and Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

A great number of medical patients whom begin using cannabis as a legitimate medicine due so out of necessity. Along this line of thought, there are a myriad diseases which modern medicine can’t seem to supply remedies for—with prescription meds often times providing more debilitating side effects than remedies. That being said, for many individuals afflicted with the neurological disorder idiopathic intracranial hypertension, a natural medicine with relatively mild side effects is long overdue. As medical marijuana is slowly becoming accepted by mainstream medicine the world over, sufferers of idiopathic intracranial hypertension are taking notice and beginning to experiment with the herb.

Those afflicted with idiopathic intracranial hypertension often times confuse the ailment with that of a brain tumor, as both diseases present similarly with physical symptoms. While the root cause of idiopathic intracranial hypertension remains unknown, the disease expresses itself with an increased amount of cerebral-spinal fluid in the space between the brain and the skull. This over-excessive amount of cerebral-spinal fluid causes intense compression on the brain, known as intracranial pressure, that results in symptoms of “headache, transient vision loss, tinnitus, and diplopia”. Moreover, long-term intracranial pressure on lower portions of the brain can sometimes lead to optic nerve damage and eventually blindness. As a result, pro-active curative relief from the cranial pressures of idiopathic intracranial hypertension is essential to avoid permanent blindness in patients.

There are a number of case studies in which the use of medical marijuana provides profound relief from idiopathic intracranial hypertension. To begin with, the New York Psychiatric Institute reports an instance in which a lady with a “longstanding history” of idiopathic intracranial hypertension found great relief from symptoms with cannabis smoking. This study is quite noteworthy as all symptoms of idiopathic intracranial hypertension are directly related to increased intracranial pressure—meaning that cannabinoids actually helps relieve a cause of the disease, rather than just the symptoms. In another case study, the American Academy of Optometry reports that a 37 year old female victim of idiopathic intracranial hypertension smoked marijuana to alleviate headaches when she unexpectedly ran out of her prescription medications. After the cannabis provided her substantial relief from the symptoms of the disease, she began using the “synthetic cannabinoid dronabinol” as a full-time medicine. Remarkably, the use of dronabinol works so effectively to curb her intracranial pressure that doctors consider her to be in remission from idiopathic intracranial hypertension as a whole.


As medical marijuana becomes more modernized and sophisticated through western medicine, the chemical compounds within the herb take on novel forms and uses through human intervention. That being said, the modern cannabis medication dronabinol is comprised of synthesized cannabinoids encapsulated into pill form. Dronabinol, also known as marinonl, was originally created to help with the nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite that arises in people undergoing chemotherapy as well as suffering from aids. As aforementioned, doctors are beginning to find other uses for dronabinol, namely that of idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Currently, for patients with extremely serious afflictions dronabinol is a legal medicine in all 50 states and is only accessible through a doctor’s prescription.

Kent Gruetzmacher M.F.A. is a Colorado based freelance writer and the Director of Business Development at Mac & Fulton Executive Search and Consulting (, an employment recruiting firm dedicated to the indoor gardening and cannabis industries. He is interested in utilizing his M.A. in the Humanities to critically explore the many cultural and business facets of this youthful, emergent business by way of his entrepreneurial projects.

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