Case Report by Stefan Arnon, MD

Symptoms: Vision loss, headaches, depression

Abstract:   A 37-year old man with retinitis pigmentosa found relief of associated symptoms with cannabis and subjective slowdown in progression of vision loss.

Brief history and target symptomatology:     This 37 y/o PhD university research associate was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) at age 14. He experiences progressive vision loss, headaches, depression and insomnia.

Previous and current conventional therapies:  Supplementation with antioxidant vitamins was ineffective. Serial electroretinopathies (ERG) were discontinued in his belief that the flashes of light caused further damage to his retina and “ophthalmologists only want photographs for their own collection.” His eyeglass prescription is reviewed annually to compensate for his increasing tunnel vision. He has not found significant improvement in his mood with psychotherapy.

Clinical response to Cannabis:   Stress reduced;mood, headaches and insomnia have all improved with cannabis use.

Comments: RP is a genetic disease found in 1 in 4,000 people in the US. In patient’s case, it was traced to mutations in both parents’ X chromosome. There is no known cure; valproic acid, gene therapy and retinal transplantation are currently in the research stage. Administration of a THC analog to rats with chemically induced RP has shown reduction in the rate of degeneration of retinal photoreceptors. .

Reference: Experimental Eye Research (2014), 120:175-185

Usual method of Cannabis administration: Smoked

Frequency of Usage: Three times per day, seven days per week.

Reported by Stefan Arnon, M.D.