Dealing With Red Eyes After Smoking

We’ve all had to deal with it. You pass around a joint or some heady glass and a short while later your eyes look like you’ve got the world’s worst case of hay fever. Bloodshot eyes have long been the bane of the stoner’s existence, forever outing them or threatening to do so to the boss, the parents, business associates, the police, and everyone else.

To their credit, some stoners just don’t care and wear their red eyes as a badge of honor. Most everyone else, however, winds up carrying around a bottle of Visine to help them disguise their altered state. But why do your eyes get red after smoking weed in the first place? Read on to find out and learn some hacks for dealing with the issue.

Why Your Eyes Might Get Red After Smoking Weed

There are a lot of theories floating around Denver about why eyes turn red after smoking weed. We’ve certainly heard plenty of them at the pipe shop. Some seem fairly credible, like the one about pot smoke in the air causing eye irritation. Other theories, like the one that claims red eyes are an allergic reaction to weed, seem less credible because it would mean just about everyone who’s ever smoked a joint is allergic to cannabis. Not likely.

According to various studies both in the US and the UK the real reason your eyes turn red after smoking weed has to do with blood pressure. Apparently smoking cannabis causes blood vessels to dilate which, in turn, causes pressure in your eyes to also drop resulting in the dilation (expansion) of blood vessels and capillaries in the eye. These blood vessels are always there, we simply don’t see them until the drop in blood pressure causes them to expand and become visible.

There is no evidence to suggest that these dilated capillaries are any kind of threat to your eyes. In fact, there’s a lot of clinical evidence to suggest that marijuana use can help people with glaucoma, a serious condition that typically leads to blindness. Red eyes from smoking weed then are more of a nuisance than anything else. Although they might cause trouble, depending on who spots you walking around with bloodshot eyes.

Things You Can Do to Eliminate Red Eyes

Now that we have a better understanding of what causes red eyes after smoking herb, let’s look at some of the things you can do to alleviate the condition. Some of these are likely to be familiar, others not so much.

Use eye drops

This is probably the most common solution used by people who have a need to keep up appearances. Visine owes much of its profitability to countless stoners who have been using it for decades now. It’s a good and useful product and works fast to counteract the dilated blood vessels in your eyes, returning them to their normal undetectable state.

Visine and similar products are not without their potential downside, however. These products contain the active ingredient tetrahydrozoline which is what causes the blood vessels to constrict and disappear. Used occasionally tetrahydrozoline is considered safe. But using it every day to cover for your red eyes at work can potentially lead to eye pain, blurry vision, elevated heart rate, dilated pupils, and more.

Use a cold compress

Not even everyone at the 710 Pipes headshop has heard of this one. Probably because it is not terribly practical in the sense that you can’t do it at work without arousing the suspicion of your co-workers. Nonetheless, if you’re home and you want to clear up your bloodshot eyes before your parents arrive you could try applying a cold compress to your closed eyes for a few minutes.

Some people use ice packs, but if you’re going to go that route you need to put something between the ice pack and your eyes to keep them from becoming too cold. Anyway, after a few minutes applying the cold compress the dilated blood vessels in your eyes should have returned to a more or less natural appearance.


If you can’t beat ‘em, cover ‘em up! If you’re getting high outside on a bright sunny day nobody is going to think twice when you walk around with your sunglasses on. However, if it’s a cloudy day or late in the day or you’re inside walking around with your wraparound Oakley’s on it’s going to raise a few eyebrows. Maybe you care about what people think or maybe you don’t. If you don’t, more power to you.

Sunglasses certainly have their place and have been employed by stoners for decades as a way to cover their red eyes. They’re a safe and effective method of doing so but if you’re going to go the sunglasses route make sure you get some good ones that filter out UV rays.

Wait it out

All things must pass, including red eyes from smoking weed. So if you are in no particular hurry and don’t have to worry about anyone seeing your bloodshot eyes just wait it out. A couple of hours after your last hit your eyes should return to something like normal.

How Come Some People’s Eyes Don’t Get Red?

It’s not particularly common but some people do not experience red eyes after smoking weed. The exact reason why is a subject of much debate. Some believe that heavy cannabis smokers eventually build up a kind of immunity to certain side effects, such as red eyes. While there is precious little clinical evidence to support such an idea the proof, some would say, is in the clear eyes.

Some medical professionals believe a lack of bloodshot eyes after smoking weed has to do with the person’s overall health. In particular, whether they have high or low blood pressure. But again, there is virtually no clinical evidence to support this theory, so it should be taken with a grain of salt. The fact is some people’s eyes don’t get red and not even those of us who run Ye Olde online head shop really know why.

Check Out the 710 Pipes Online Smoke Shop

Whether your eyes get red after smoking herb or not, check out our online or brick-and-mortar headshop in Denver. Our vast array of bongs, vapes, and cannabis paraphernalia will be enough to make your eyes red and send you to a state of unbridled bliss. To find us just do a quick Google search. Or if you prefer you can give us a call at 303-365-0710 and ask one of our friendly and helpful staff members for directions.

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