Studies have shown that cannabinoids found in marijuana can protect your lungs, alleviate discomfort and constriction from asthma.
Facts are, 1 out of 12 people now suffer from asthma (chronic respiratory disease that is present during childhood). While many experience little to no symptoms with treatment, it still correlates with over 3,000 deaths a year. Many asthma sufferers fear smoking marijuana because they believe it will agitate the condition. There are new studies that are proving cannabis has almost no impact at all on lung health in the long-term. The study further concluded that cannabis is helpful than terrible for those who suffer from asthma.
Cannabis opens rather than restricts the airways.
The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics has published a study that proved cannabinoids are good for the lungs. By using guinea pigs, researchers measured the ability of cannabinoids to inhibit bronchoconstriction. Researchers in this study looked specifically at CBD, CBG,THC, CBD-A, and THC-V cannabinoids. The study showed that THC-V cannabinoids were able to prevent constriction, with THC being highly effective. Cannabis is now seen as a bronchodilator than a bronchoconstrictor.
Results from this amazing study has many baffled, considering that bronchoconstriction is the leading problem with asthma sufferers. When in an asthma attack, the bronchioles (air passages in mouth and nose) close up. With that, oxygen isn’t able to pass through airways. As the study proves, cannabis is able to help open up the airways, while others have proved that cannabis helps with constriction of the bronchioles while in an asthma attack or resting.
Co-founder of The Canna MDS and current Medical Chair of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, Dr. Rachel Knox, spoke with Green Flower on Cannabis’s benefit to patients with asthma. She said: “THC is actually a very potent bronchodilator and that’s exactly what we need when we’re treating asthma. When we are suffering from an asthma attack, those bronchioles are squeezing on themselves, making it very hard to breathe. Well, enter THC. It opens those bronchioles right up and we can breathe better.”
Cannabis possesses powerful anti-inflammatory effects
Inflammation in the airways restricts airflow to the lungs, by making them close and making breathing much difficult. Even in the bronchioles and bronchi can suffer low-level inflammation. Inflammation isn’t only just in asthma attacks, but also while in asthma attacks while resting. When these attacks occur, inflammation becomes worse leading to total loss of breathing.
Cannabis would help with this as it has anti-inflammatory properties that intercept with cannabinoid receptors in our bodies, involving our lungs too. An example, the Journal Mediators of Inflammation, showed that cannabinoid CBD has potent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive responses.
The study also concluded that CBD helps eliminate mucus hyper secretion -a top problem with asthma. This study hasn’t been conducted on humans, but researchers have stated that CBD is an effective treatment for asthma as it maintains balance with the inflammatory responses in our bodies.
Cannabis reduces muscle spasticity
Bronchospasms, also known as bronchial spasms, causes difficulty in breathing by constricting the lung muscles. Cannabis is effective at treating and stopping muscle spasms. How is it possible? by calming the lung muscles, the airways open up, allowing an increase in the flow of oxygen. Dr. Jessica Knox says it has to do with two components in specific strains of cannabis-alpha-pinene and CBD.
Alpha-pinene and CBD have some muscle spasm relief effect which is crucial to hitting those bronchial muscles and helping them relax so that you can breathe better.
In 2014, a study was conducted that proved the effectiveness of cannabis in treating muscle spasms in the lungs. The researchers believe this may explain the acute bronchodilation (expanding of the bronchial air passages in the respiratory tract) that is produced when consuming cannabis.
Cannabis alleviates asthma-related pain
About over 75% of patients with asthma, experience chest pains during an attack. It’s imperative to note that there are no pain receptors in our lungs. Due to the inability to breathe, sufferers will feel pain until airflow is back to normal. In severe cases, the pain is chronic and hard to bear. When our airflow is hindered, it adds on more stress on accessory muscles such as our sternocleidomastoid and scalene.
When in an asthma attack, those muscles contract to further expand our ribcage. With the added stress on those muscles, sufferers from asthma will experience pain. The primary cause to this is, is that these muscles aren’t regularly used for breathing. It’s the same scenario when you have a vigorous, beginner workout. When you utilize a muscle that hasn’t been used much, pain occurs.
There has yet to be any scientific study that addresses whether or not cannabis is really effective in alleviating chest pain from asthma, however we do know that cannabis is able to reduce muscle spasticity and pressure in asthmatic lungs. This will bring in air flow, allowing these accessory muscles to relax. There have been many studies out there have proved cannabis has powerful pain-alleviating effects.
Best method for treating asthma with cannabis?
It’s clear that the impact of cannabis on asthma patients is obvious. Still, many asthma sufferers still feel hesitant in smoking cannabis. Seriously though, isn’t that the last thing someone with asthma would want to do?
There are studies from the 1970’s that prove cannabis widens, and doesn’t restrict the airways. With modern technology, there are effective treatment options available. One of the new options, is vaporization.
A leading medical cannabis physician, Dr. Dustin Sulak, says he has found that vaporizing cannabis is a highly effective treatment for patients with asthma.
He says that this is because a good quality vaporizer will give proper temperature control:
Probably 90% of people with asthma can take a single vaporize inhalation… If they do it right, they’re going to be able to breathe deeper, expand their lungs, and relieve constriction.
Dr. Sulak suggests a daily dosing to get to a healthy base for your system, for better control of your asthma. To get fast relief, in the situation of an asthma attack, he advises you to use a vaporizer or tincture.
They are easy on the lungs and can give you the right dose of medication to ensure no irritation. Dr. Sulak advises that patients pay close attention to their bodies. “It’s very important to realize that your body talks to you.
So if you are using a vaporizer as a method to treat your asthma and it’s causing you to cough or worsening your symptoms, vaporizing may not be for you,” he says. In those particular cases, Dr. Sulak says a tincture (best administered sublingually) or edible will do the trick.
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