Why Does Cannabis Turn Your Eyes Red? Tips & Advice

There’s no denying that cannabis provides numerous benefits. Scientific studies show that it can ease chronic pain, assist with anxiety disorders, and treat a range of conditions, including epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. 

While its use is becoming more widely accepted, the cannabis user stereotypes remain. You know how it goes. The age-old jokes about the lazy, squinty-eyed weed smoker still exist. And one of the most telling signs of cannabis use? Red eyes. Many users worry about eye redness giving them away and affecting their work and social lives even though they only use cannabis for medical purposes. 

So, why does cannabis turn your eyes red, and is there anything you can do about it? Here’s what you need to know. 

Common Side Effects of Cannabis

Despite the beneficial effects, cannabis also has a few common (and not always desirable) side effects:

  • Altered perception: Higher doses of THC can affect your perception and senses. For instance, time may appear to move more slowly, or your environment may take a moment to catch up with you when you turn your head quickly. Some colors might look brighter, or flavors of different foods might be more pronounced. 
  • Impaired coordination: Cannabis can affect your balance or slow your reaction times. Some strains can also cause drowsiness, which may not be a desired effect depending on your reasons for using it. For these reasons, you shouldn’t drive after smoking, vaping, or eating an edible. 
  • Increased appetite: THC can trigger the release of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger. That hunger boost is a well-known effect known as “the munchies.” 
  • Dry or “cotton” mouth: Smoking, vaping, and even edibles can all inhibit your saliva production, leaving your mouth and throat feeling dry and tacky. 

Some of these side effects occur with larger doses of THC. Others, like dry mouth, can happen even with small amounts of cannabis. What’s more, these effects aren’t always visible or noticeable by others. However, there’s one tell-tale sign of cannabis use that plagues pretty much every user — red eyes. 

Cannabis Education: Why You Get Red Eyes

So, why is it that weed causes eye redness? It has a lot to do with the plant’s THC content. It’s also related to the ability of cannabis to help treat glaucoma. 

Shortly after taking a dose of cannabis, many users experience an increase in their heart rate and blood pressure. A few minutes later, however, THC can trigger a blood pressure drop. Your blood vessels and capillaries, including your eyes, dilate, allowing for increased blood flow in your eyes. That effect decreases pressure in the eyes, which can provide relief for those with glaucoma. Unfortunately for cannabis users, it also causes the eyes to take on a red hue. 

Like the other effects of cannabis, eye redness is only temporary. However, it’s also one of the most telling symptoms that you’ve used cannabis recently. 

Sometimes, smoke allergies can increase eye redness, too. In such cases, your eyes may also get red when exposed to smoke from cigarettes, cigars, campfires, and incense.   

Do All Cannabis Products Cause Your Eyes to Turn Red?

Smoking weed isn’t the only form of consumption that can result in eye redness. Vaping, edibles, and tinctures can also cause this side effect. Again, it has more to do with the amount of THC you consume when you take your dose. Typically, the greater the concentration of THC, the more pronounced the effects. 

Tips for Preventing Cannabis-Related Eye Redness

Preventing cannabis-related eye redness isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. However, there are a few tactics you can try to reduce the side effect:

Use Lower-THC Strains

Some users might not be fans of this suggestion, but you could opt for strains with lower concentrations of THC. Now, less THC doesn’t necessarily mean fewer or reduced benefits. High-CBD/low-THC varieties still feature plenty of other cannabinoids and terpenes that can help provide the desired effects. 

If you prefer not to stray away from your favorite strains (which is understandable), you could try microdosing. With this method, you take just enough to feel relief.  

Avoid the Smoke

If you have issues with smoke, you may be able to reduce (but not necessarily prevent) eye redness by finding ways to avoid contact with it. One of the best ways to do that is to find a different consumption method. You could also try blowing the smoke from your joint or pipe away from you so that it doesn’t get into your eyes. 

How to Get Rid of Red Eyes After Weed Use

If you do find yourself with red eyes after taking your dose, here are a few things you can do to get rid of the color:

Wait It Out

Remember, redness is only temporary. If you have the availability, give it some time. Eventually, your eyes will go back to their usual white color. 


Staying hydrated is always a good idea. When it comes to cannabis use, water may help flush your system. It also helps combat cotton mouth. 


Where THC dilates your blood vessels, caffeine constricts them. A cup of fresh coffee and a couple of dark chocolate squares may temper the redness in your eyes. Caffeine could also provide an energy boost after taking a more sedative strain. 

Eye Drops

Keep a bottle of eye drops in your cannabis kit. Products formulated to treat irritation may also alleviate red eyes from weed use. 

Cold Compress

Cold constricts blood vessels. Lay an ice pack or damp, cool washcloth over your eyes for a few minutes. 

Tea Bags

Green, chamomile, and rooibos teas all have anti-inflammatory properties that could help with eye redness and irritation. Try applying damp tea bags over your eyes for several minutes. 

Check Out VidaCann for Additional Tips and High-Quality Cannabis Products

Red eyes are an unfortunate but common side effect of cannabis use. That doesn’t mean you have to live with rocking the “stoner” stereotype. While you may not be able to prevent it completely, you may be able to reduce the appearance with steps like staying hydrated, keeping eye drops in your bag, and opting for lower-THC strains. Whether you’re looking for additional tips for managing cannabis side effects or some of the highest-quality cannabis products in Florida, VidaCann is here. Visit us online to find your nearest location, check out local menus, and learn more about our brands today. 

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