If you’re looking to take a DIY approach in fighting your asthma, you may want to start looking into cannabidiol oil. The short answer is yes, this oil extracted from hemp plants is able to reduce the strength of asthma attacks, and a new study from the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics shows that this oil may even be able to prevent attacks in some cases.
Asthma is a common disease that causes breathing problems. (National Center for Health Statistics) There are several types of asthma, including the most common type, which is caused by a combination of symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. (National Center for Health Statistics) For this reason, asthma is considered to be a serious chronic disease in the United States and many other countries. (National Center for Health Statistics)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 25 million Americans suffer from asthma. That is a huge number of people suffering from a disease for which there is currently no cure. Since there is no cure for the disease and existing preventive treatments carry the risk of long-term side effects, more and more people are looking for natural alternatives. Can CBD treat asthma? In this article, we’ll lay out the facts and tell you everything you need to know about using CBD for asthma.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects 1 in 13 people. Swelling and inflammation of the bronchial tubes cause narrowing and excessive mucus accumulation in the airways. This can make breathing difficult for people with asthma. Asthma symptoms range from mild to severe. Asthmatics may have permanently restricted breathing or sporadic symptoms in the form of asthma attacks. Asthma is becoming increasingly common in children. About 50% of teenagers outgrow the disease, and the breathing problems disappear after puberty. The remaining 50% carry the disease with them into adulthood.
There are two main types of asthma
1. Allergic asthma (caused by exertion) Allergic asthma is triggered by common allergens. It can be dust, animal hair or plant pollen. People with allergic asthma are sensitive to some or all of these allergens and develop asthmatic symptoms when they come into contact with them. When an allergen enters the body, it is identified by the immune system, which forces the body to take action against potentially infectious organisms. In people with allergic asthma, the immune system overreacts to prevent these allergens from entering the body. The muscles around the airways contract, the airways become inflamed and excess mucus is formed in response to these allergens.
2. Non-allergic asthma (internal)
Unlike external asthma, internal asthma can be triggered without irritation by common allergens. People with intrinsic asthma can develop asthma symptoms at any time and for no apparent reason. You may have a constant feeling of tightness in your airways or be sensitive to various triggering factors. In addition to allergens, intrinsic asthma can cause symptoms after exposure to several other triggers. Stress, climate change, smoke, chemicals, certain medications and even certain foods can trigger a person’s internal asthma.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
- Shortness of breath
- congestion of the airways and chest
- Strong cough
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of consciousness and brain fog due to lack of oxygen
How is the diagnosis made?
Asthma is diagnosed by a doctor on the basis of a physical examination and blood tests. You will be asked a series of questions to determine if your symptoms are consistent with asthma. These include:
- What are your symptoms?
- When and how often do they occur?
- Do you have certain triggers that cause these symptoms?
- Does your family have asthma?
- Do you have any allergies?
Then you will be asked to take a lung function test to determine the extent to which your breathing is restricted. The peak flow test checks the strength of your breathing. When you blow into the surge device, it gives you a value. This value is measured in litres per minute. A normal healthy adult should have values between 400 and 700 liters per minute. Anything below this level is abnormal and may indicate that you have asthma. If your peak flow is lower than normal and your symptoms are consistent with asthma, you will be diagnosed with asthma. Your doctor will prescribe an inhaler to use daily and a rescue inhaler to use during an asthma attack.
Common asthma triggers
- Animal Hair
- weather changes
- Dry and/or cold air
- Cigarette smoke
- Wood smoke
- Chemical cleaning agents
- Fragrances (deodorants and perfumes)
- Certain foods (lemon, spices, flavourings)
- Viral infections such as colds
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Certain medications
- Acid reflux
Can CBD oil help asthma?
Fighting asthma can be difficult. Asthma symptoms are difficult to control and unfortunately there is no cure. Treatment with prescription drugs is necessary to reduce the symptoms of the disease. While inhalers like Klenil and Ventolin are necessary to stay safe in asthma, they can have harmful side effects on your body. Preventive inhalers are especially bad for you because you have to use them every day. In the long run, they can lead to sore throats, persistent sore throats, a weak voice and fungal infections. There is growing evidence for the use of CBD in the treatment of asthma. CBD is much more natural and has minimal side effects compared to prescription asthma medications. You should never replace your rescue inhaler with CBD, as it can be a lifesaver during an asthma attack. However, using CBD can help you reduce the need for and dependence on other asthma medications.
How does CBD help with asthma?
Although there is no specific treatment for asthma, CBD is certainly an interesting treatment. It can help control your asthma symptoms and reduce your dependence on prescription drugs. So how does CBD help with asthma symptoms? Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits:
1. CBD has anti-inflammatory properties
Inflammation of the airways is one of the main reasons why people with asthma suffer from shortness of breath and wheezing. When a person with asthma is exposed to a trigger, the immune system responds with an inflammatory response. Such a reaction is exuberant and can cause inflammation of the airways to the point where breathing becomes extremely difficult. This reaction can cause people to have life-threatening asthma attacks. CBD can help combat and control this reaction with its anti-inflammatory properties. The cannabinoid interacts with the CB2 receptor of the body’s endocannabinoid system. When activated, these receptors help reduce the concentration of C-fibers and mast cells, which are pro-inflammatory factors. A lot of research shows that CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory. One study has even shown that CBD and other natural cannabinoids can help people with respiratory diseases by affecting inflammatory responses in the body .
2. CBD has antispasmodic properties
During an asthma attack, spasms occur that affect the bronchi and bronchioles. These spasms cause swelling, irritation and can aggravate mucous membranes by causing excessive mucus secretion. These spasms and their side effects make breathing difficult during an asthma attack. Studies show that CBD and other cannabinoids have antispasmodic properties. This is one of the reasons why CBD is effective in patients with multiple sclerosis . These antispasmodic properties can reduce spasms during an asthma attack and help open the airways, relieving asthma symptoms and restoring normal lung function. While more research is needed to determine if the antispasmodic effects of CBD are actually beneficial to asthmatics, the potential is certainly interesting. The effect of cannabinoids on muscles can also help reduce symptoms during an asthma attack. These muscle relaxant and antispasmodic properties may be one of the main reasons CBD helps asthmatics – but the large-scale clinical trials needed to prove this are not yet available.
Facts CBD and asthma research
Many studies support the use of CBD to treat asthma. A 2019 study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology showed that CBD dampens the inflammatory response and speeds up recovery time in non-hospitalized asthma patients . The study showed that CBD reduced airway hyperreactivity, regardless of dosage. At higher doses, they also found that CBD reduced mucus production. In another 2015 study, a number of cannabinoids, including CBD, were tested on guinea pigs to see if they affected hyperreactivity, airway inflammation, and general coughing . The study showed that some cannabinoids (including CBD) have bronchodilatory, anti-inflammatory and antipruritic effects on the respiratory tract. All of these can regulate asthma symptoms.
How can I use CBD to treat asthma?
CBD comes in different forms, from oils to vape pens. So what works best for asthma and how do you use CBD? How you use CBD against asthma is largely up to you, but some methods of use are better than others. Only approved oral forms of CBD and CBD inhalers should be used to treat asthma. Always consult your doctor before using CBD to treat asthma if you are taking other medications. If you are having a severe asthma attack, it is important not to rely solely on CBD to control the attack. In addition to using CBD to treat your asthma, there are other steps you should take to reduce the severity of your condition. You need to change your diet, stop smoking, exercise regularly and avoid causing symptoms. If you’ve never used CBD before, start with a small dose and gradually ramp it up. Studies suggest that low doses of CBD may be sufficient to reduce respiratory hyperreactivity.
1. Oral CBD for asthma
Taking CBD orally is a great way to use the cannabinoid to treat asthma. CBD is available in many forms for oral intake. You can find CBD in the form of oil, which can be taken directly or mixed with food and drinks as a supplement. You can also find CBD in softgels and capsules that you can rinse with water, just like vitamins, supplements, and other medications. You can also find edible forms of CBD, such as gummy bears and lollipops. All of these options, when taken by mouth, are effective in treating asthma. However, oil is by far the most bioavailable way to consume, and it gives you the most control over your dosage.
2. How to use an asthma inhaler with CBD
It is important to have prescription inhalers on hand, even if you choose to treat asthma primarily with CBD. Your inhaler may one day save your life, so don’t give up on your inhaler just because you switched to CBD. The best way to treat asthma is a multi-faceted approach. CBD is a great preventative and helps regulate asthma symptoms. However, more severe attacks may require an inhaler. What about CBD inhalers for asthma? CBD has a high bioavailability when inhaled. When CBD is inhaled, it is absorbed faster. There are an increasing number of CBD inhalers on the market that are similar to those prescribed by a doctor. They use a combination of CBD and a safe propellant to inject the cannabinoid deep into the lungs, where it can be absorbed by lung tissue. There isn’t much research to show that this delivery method is better for asthma than oral CBD, but the better bioavailability can relieve symptoms faster in mild attacks. Do not confuse CBD inhalers with CBD vapor pens. Vaping CBD is an effective form of use, but it can do more harm than good for asthma – which brings us to the next point.
3. Is it safe to vaporize CBD if you have asthma?
Using CBD in a vaporizer is a popular way to consume it. When CBD is inhaled, it is absorbed by the body very quickly, which is great if you want to relieve pain, stress or anxiety quickly, but not so good if you have breathing problems. CBD extract is mixed with vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, flavors and dyes to make e-liquid. When this e-liquid is heated in a vape, it creates a dense vapor that can be inhaled. This vapor can cause asthma symptoms, just like smoking. Although some people do not experience asthma symptoms when they smoke, long-term use can worsen their condition. If you suffer from asthma, it is best to refrain from using CBD vape pens and stick to oral delivery methods or inhalers designed for asthmatics.
How much CBD should I take for my asthma?
is the best form of CBD to take for asthma. Choosing the right dosage is not as simple as reading the label, because everyone reacts differently to the medication. To figure out what dose of CBD is best for you, you’ll have to do some personal experimentation. As mentioned earlier, some studies show that even a small dose of CBD can help relieve asthma symptoms. You should start with a small dose of high quality, low potency CBD and increase the dose until you notice a positive effect on your asthma symptoms. The effective dose for treating asthma can range from 5 to 100 mg, so experiment to find the golden mean. Studies suggest that other cannabinoids may be effective in treating respiratory conditions. With this in mind, it is best to choose a broad spectrum or full spectrum medication to treat asthma.
1. Full spectrum CBD
Full spectrum CBD contains all cannabinoids and terpenes present in the cannabis plant from which it was extracted, including THC (less than 0.3%).
2. Broad spectrum CBD
Broad-spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids and terpenes present in the cannabis plant from which it was extracted, with the exception of THC.
3. CBD isolate
CBD isolate is a pure CBD extract and contains no other cannabinoids.
Final thoughts: Can CBD help asthma?
While there is no clinical evidence that CBD is an effective treatment for asthma, many studies prove that it has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. Other studies have shown that CBD, even in low doses, can reduce airway hyperreactivity. All these factors support its use in asthmatics and prove that CBD is a valuable treatment for this condition. The best form of CBD for treating asthma is oil. Other consumption methods can be effective, but it is best to avoid vaping products because they can trigger asthma symptoms. Be sure to consult your doctor before using CBD to treat asthma if you are taking other medications.
References used in this article
- Pini, A., Mannaioni, G., Pellegrini-Giampietro, D., Beatrice Passani, M., Mastroianni, R., Bani, D., & Masini, E. (2012). The role of cannabinoids in the modulation of inflammation in allergic airway diseases, inflammatory pain and ischemic stroke. Current Drug Targets, 13(7), 984-993.
- Russo, M., Calabrò, R. S., Naro, A., Sessa, E., Rifici, C., D’Aleo, G., … & Bramanti, P. (2015). Satex in the treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis: the role of corticospinal modulation. Neuronal Plasticity, 2015.
- Vuolo, F., Abreu, S. C., Michels, M., Xisto, D. G., Blanco, N. G., Hallak, J. E., … and Dal-Pizzol, F. (2019). Cannabidiol reduces airway inflammation and fibrosis in experimental allergic asthma. European Journal of Pharmacology, 843, 251-259.
- Makwana, R., Venkatasamy, R., Spina, D., & Page, K.. (2015). Effect of phytocannabinoids on airway hyperreactivity, airway inflammation and cough. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 353(1), 169-180.
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