For those living with a respiratory condition, like asthma, breathing can be an everyday battle. An asthmatic condition, or the feeling of having restricted airflow, is comparable to sucking air through a narrow straw.
Asthma is an inflammation of the lungs, characterized by spasms in the bronchi that narrow vessels and constrict airflow. Extra mucus is produced, making it even more difficult to breathe.
When it comes to treating the symptoms of asthma, mainstream remedies, such as inhalers, have been the go-to in terms of delivering on the spot relief for the pesky breathing condition.
Asthma medications work to stop acetylcholine from binding to receptors, the compound which helps maintain muscle tone within air passageways. By preventing this reception from occurring, medications and other remedies stop the molecule–the same one responsible for contractions during asthma attacks–from being produced altogether.
Although inhaling smoke to treat a respiratory condition seems to go against better judgment, testimonies and studies are indicating that there are positive correlations between the use of marijuana and asthma treatment.
Marijuana and Asthma
So does marijuana help asthma? Is inhaled marijuana smoke a viable remedy for combatting the symptoms of a respiratory condition?
Marijuana has a bronchodilator effect–meaning, that it causes a widening of the bronchial airways (just like any medicine taken by inhalation for the alleviation of asthma). The cannabinoid THC, operating as a bronchial dilator in a similar fashion to the steroid-based doses puffed from inhalers, is the main actor here. It can be ingested via inhalation or by orally administering the dose.
For people afflicted with more severe cases of asthma, the bronchial dilating effects of cannabis are somewhat comprised by the method of inhalation. Instead, most are referred to liquid tinctures of THC to be administered orally.
Supporters of marijuana’s asthma-treating capabilities also advocate the use of vaping as an alternative to smoking. The process is hot enough to activate the cannabinoids, but not enough to burn the plant matter that results in potentially harmful smoke. By cutting out elements of the THC ingestion process that are irritating to the body, lung function is preserved and asthma remains without inflammation.
Last Words on Marijuana and Asthma:
- Marijuana use does not put someone at risk for developing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the health condition formerly known as emphysema.
- Marijuana, and more specifically the THC within, causes what’s known as bronchial dilation. It helps to increases airflow within passageways in the lungs. Marijuana does help asthma, after all.
- In an eight-year study, the rate of lung function decline in cannabis smokers compared to that of non-smokers was concluded to be about identical. In other words, lung function is not impaired with chronic marijuana smoking, and the decline is accelerated in groups of tobacco-only smokers.
- While tobacco users were prone to develop lung cancer, there has been no evidence of increased risk of lung cancer occurrence in association with marijuana smoking.
So does weed help asthma? Signs point to yes, that marijuana can provide dilating-relief to narrowed bronchial airways. Moreover, marijuana smoking poses no risk for developing a respiratory condition like COPD.
By: Diego Felix