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I'm a Medical Research Pioneer

June 29, 2013

Tags: glaucoma, THC, medicine, science, Robert Ritch, Nick Taylor, Marinol, medical marijuana, eye treatment, THC capsule, dronabinal

I am on the front lines of medical research.

Some quick background: I was diagnosed with glaucoma a few years ago. Itís the kind where stuff clogs up the mesh that allows your eye to drain and causes fluid buildup that raises the pressure on your optic nerve. The pressure eventually causes irreversible damage and blindness. There are drops that lower the pressure, but I canít tolerate some of them and the ones I can are less effective.

There are two laser procedures. Theyíre supposed to blast openings in the mesh at the back of the eye to promote drainage. Iíve had both of them on my left eye. They leave you with diminishing options since they cause some tissue damage. I had the last one about three weeks ago.

It diminished the pressure in the eye a little bit. Ideally, the pressure on your optic nerve should be measured in the teens. Mine was 30 before the procedure and in the mid-20s after it Ė better but still not where it should be.

My doctorís name is Robert Ritch. Heís what Mark Twain would have called a rip-snorter: loud, demanding, volatile, impatient and obsessive on the subject of glaucoma. An office visit is a ticket to performance art; interns and fellows swirl in his wake like leaves in a stream, moving from patient to patient in five examining rooms at any given time. He treats rock stars and royalty and the heads of unsavory governments because heís very, very good at what he does. Which is why I go to him even though he doesn't take Medicare and I pay out of pocket. Plus heís fun to talk to.

Heís also curious, smart, and willing to try anything. (more…)

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