Treating asthma with CBD

A Guide for Treating Asthmas with Cannabis and CBD

You may think that cannabis and asthma don’t go together, but that’s not entirely true. Learn how to treat asthma with CBD as well as what the research has to say about cannabis and asthma.

What is Asthma?

Doctors define asthma as a “chronic inflammatory disease of the airway”. The symptoms include; shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing. The symptoms can vary in severity between individuals and even between episodes (source).

What causes asthma?

Right now there is no known cause for asthma, so let’s talk about what causes the symptoms to occur. People with asthma have difficulties breathing when they are exposed to ‘triggers’ which causes the airflow in and out of the lungs to become obstructed. This obstruction occurs because of one, or both, of the following:

  • The lining of the airways becomes inflamed (irritated, reddened and swollen), and may produce more mucous. The more inflammation the more sensitive the airway becomes, and the more severe the symptoms.
  • The muscles that surround the airways become sensitive and start to twitch and tighten, causing the airways to narrow. This typically occurs if the inflammation is not treated.

Though, the airways of someone with asthma are inflamed all the time to some degree. The more inflamed the airway the more sensitive it becomes. This leads to an increase in breathing difficulty.

What are the typical asthma triggers?

Inflammatory Triggers Symptom Triggers
Inflammatory (allergic) triggers can cause inflammation of the lungs’ airways or tightening of the airways’ muscles. Inflammatory triggers include: Symptom (non-allergic) triggers generally do not cause swelling, but they can provoke “twitchy” airways, especially if they’re already inflamed. Symptom triggers include:
  • Dust Mites
  • Smoke
  • Animals
  • Exercise 
  • Mold 
  • Cold Air 
  • Pollen
  • Chemical fumes and other strong-smelling substances like perfumes
  • Viral Infections
  • Certain food additives like sulfates 
  • Certain Air Pollutants 

(source)

Traditional Treatment for Asthma

There are two methods for treating asthma and therefore controlling the symptoms; 

  • Long term control and prevention of symptoms, and
  • Response to flare-ups.

Long term prevention typically includes medication that helps to reduce inflammation. It can also sometimes include allergy medications depending on the triggers. Quick-relief inhalers are used to manage acute flare-ups by opening the swollen airways. 

It is also important to learn and be aware of personal triggers. Typically individuals will create an asthma action plan with their doctor to determine the best course of action based on their individual symptoms.

Read more about these treatments and the specific medications here.

Cannabis and Asthma: What the research says

Considering the fact that asthma affects the lungs, and smoke can trigger symptoms many may think that cannabis would not be an effective or appropriate treatment for asthma. Though cannabis and CBD can be consumed in many different ways other than inhalation, so smoking should not be the focus. Cannabis and CBD may still help people suffering from asthma. 

We know that CBD is effective in treating inflammation. Despite the concerns associated with smoking cannabis, it has been used for treating asthma for many years. A study from 1975, on the effects of smoked marijuana on asthma, found that THC relieved symptoms almost immediately. In comparison, those who were given a placebo recovered between 30 to 60 minutes. 

Another study in 2014, found that THC activated the CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system which stopped spasms by expanding the airways and making it easier to breathe.  

An animal study in 2015, found that CBD has the potential to modulate inflammation in the lungs.

Alternatives to smoking

A possible alternative to smoking cannabis is vaping. Not only does vaping help to get the cannabinoids to the site of the problem but it is better for our lungs than smoking is. Because vaping does not heat the cannabis to the same temperature it creates vapor rather than smoke. 

Though you still may be cautious of using a product that is inhaling into the lungs and that is understandable. There are other alternatives to smoking and vaping; these include; tinctures, capsules, and edibles.  

  • Tinctures are taken sublingually (under the tongue) and absorbed directly into the bloodstream
  • Capsules and edibles are taken orally

Tinctures have a more customizable dose due to them being an oil and are dosed using a dropper. We recommend that if you chose a tincture to record the dose and time of consumption every day so you have an accurate record of what is more appropriate for you. With tinctures, there is also variety in concentrations.

Capsules and edibles are typically in premeasured doses which may be an easier method for many people. Predosed edibles typically come in sweets like brownies, cookies, chocolates, caramels, etc. which can be very appealing but may not be practical or appropriate for everyday use. With Miss Envy’s edible products (THC Olive Oil and CBD and THC coconut oils) you can make any of your favourite meals into edibles that are dosed appropriately just for you. You can even just add a few drops of tincture to your favourite beverage.

Check out our blog for new and exciting recipes to try every week. Try adding cannabis to your breakfast, this is an Envy favourite.

Treating Asthma with CBD: Which is better THC or CBD?

CBD is effective in treating inflammation. Preliminary research suggests that CBD can reduce inflammation in the lungs caused by asthma as well as reduce the amount of mucous. Regular use is recommended to help keep inflammation low and reduce symptoms. Some people are using CBD vape pens for acute flare-ups with success.

CBD is often the choice for daily treatments for many people because it does not create a psychoactive high. Though evidence suggests that using THC and CBD in conjunction may be more effective. With tinctures, you can use both in combination easily.  Miss Envy has a 3:1 and 1:1 CBD/THC tincture. If CBD alone is not quite effective enough for you we would suggest trying a combination of both cannabinoids. CBD does counteract some of the psychoactive effects of THC, but we still recommend starting with the higher concentration (3:1 CBD/THC) as well as starting with a low dose to find what is most effective for you.

Do not discontinue any current medications without speaking to your doctor, and get their advice on adding CBD to your asthma treatment action plan.

Have you used cannabis to treat your asthma symptoms? We want to hear from you. Leave us a comment or send us a message on social media @miss.envybotanicals

Vaping Disclaimer

Miss Envy Vape Pens contain only certified lab-quality CBD and natural fruit terpenes. They have no nicotine or vegetable glycerin (VG) a thick, sweet liquid or propylene glycol (PG) is a much thinner tasteless liquid commonly found in the vape pen market.

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