Marijuana is being hailed for its medical benefits, but it might sound a bit strange when you hear that marijuana actually can help asthma patients. A doctor will tell any asthma sufferer that smoking cigarettes is absolutely not beneficial for the lungs, but what about cannabis? Can it really help asthma patients to breath easier?
Asthma is an awful and chronic disease that affects the airways of the lungs. It is a very common condition that affects 1 out of 12 people. The airways of a person suffering from asthma are inflamed and produce extra mucus. This makes it harder to breath and can trigger coughing and wheezing, chest pain, and be the reason for shortness of breath.
Asthma comes in various variations and some asthma sufferers hardly have any problems. But for others it can be a serious issue that affects daily live and activities. Although the symptoms of asthma can be controlled, there is no real cure for this condition and people can still die as a result of asthma. Around 250.000 people die from asthma related issues each year.
Asthma is usually being controlled with corticosteroids and salbutamol taken with an inhaler. Corticosteroids are considered very effective to control in controlling asthma long-term as they help to bring down the swelling of the airways. But it’s not uncommon that these medications come with unwanted side effects such as high blood pressure, anxiety and even depression.
CANNABIS FOR ASTHMA TREATMENT
Although in the last few years more research is being done, people have actually been using cannabis for the treatment of asthma throughout the long history of mankind.
The earliest stories of marijuana and the treatment of asthma go back to the Chinese emperor Shen Nung who lived around 2700 BC and to the Egyptians who used marijuana as early as 2000 BC.
In a groundbreaking study that took place in 1973, Dr. Donald Tashkin found that cannabis and the salbutamol are equally effective in treating asthma.
Cannabis has an almost immediate dilating effect on the lungs. As asthma comes in attacks, patients can get an almost immediate relief from asthma attacks after smoking cannabis. This can be as effective as the usual inhalers but without the undesired side effects. Cannabis also causes the maximum dilation of the lungs faster and with a longer lasting effect.
The best method of delivery is using a vaporizer, as it is better for asthma patients to stay away from any kind of smoke.
As THC and CBD are known to have an anti-inflammatory effect, also more recent studies have shown that cannabis can be used in the treatment of asthma and more and more patients are using medical cannabis to treat asthma attacks.
Hopefully with the more widespread acceptance of marijuana as medicine, new research will show wether the use of cannabinoids can also help to improve the symptoms of asthma over time and not just the attacks.