Asthma, as you probably know, is a very common lung condition that is affecting around 25 million people in the US alone. And as per the estimates, nearly 11 million asthma patients have an attack every year. The condition can even prove fatal in some cases. And sadly, most of these fatalities are only because of improper treatment and care.
Asthma is a very long term ailment, which doesn’t have a cure until now. However, in the past few years, there have been a few studies focusing on finding a relationship between cannabis and this condition. While the research is still not very extensive, medical cannabis doctors say that cannabis probably has the potential to help asthma patients. However, one thing is clear- “smoking” weed is probably not a very good idea if you have asthma. But what about other methods?
Let’s see what do the 420 doctors have to say on this.
Traditional Treatment Methods for Asthma
As we said earlier, asthma is a very long-term condition. And it doesn’t have a cure until now. So, when we talk about its treatment, we are only talking about controlling its symptoms.
Here are a few goals that doctors usually focus on while treating asthma:
- Prevent chronic coughing
- Finding a way to help patient sleep at night
- Reducing dependency on quick-relief methods
- Reducing the probability of having a serious asthma attack
To do this, doctors generally focus on finding the patient’s trigger so that they can avoid them. And in medications, doctors may give them a few medicines to inhale.
Cannabis for Asthma: A Brief History
Did you know that people are using cannabis as a medicine since ancient times? Yes, it was used by ancient Egyptians to treat various medical conditions, which probably included asthma too. Marcel Proust, a very famous French writer (1871 to 1922), also consumed it and used to call his marijuana joints “anti-asthma cigarettes.” And in the 1920s, many physicians used to prescribe cannabis as a cough medicine.
But then, the link between cigarettes and lung cancer was discovered. And with this, all forms of smoking (including marijuana) were banned.
Owing to this prohibition, even in the modern era, the research on the relationship between cannabis and asthma is almost non-existent. However, we do know that THC has some bronchodilatory effects. Also, you should note that one very major symptom of asthma is inflammation. And cannabis is pretty famous for its anti-inflammatory effects.
Cannabis for Asthma: The Research
A long term study that started in the year 1985 looked at around 5000 volunteers, including cigarette and cannabis smokers, over a span of 29 years. The cannabis users involved in the study usually smoked around three times in a month. And the tobacco smokers smoked around eight cigarettes per day. The study was named CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults), and it involved testing the lung functioning of these volunteers over time.
The researchers found that over time tobacco smokers saw a significant fall in their lung function. But surprisingly, in the case of cannabis smokers, the effects were totally opposite. However, you should note that the positive effects in the case of cannabis smoking were seen only when the dosage was low. For cannabis smokers who smoked more than 20 times a month, the lung functioning was almost the same as tobacco smokers.
The data above suggest that a low to moderate level of cannabis consumption probably doesn’t have any long term effects on lung functioning.
Ways of Consuming Cannabis for Asthma Patients
As per the data above, there probably are some merits in using cannabis to treat asthma. However, it still wouldn’t be a good idea to light up a bong or a joint and take a hit. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you are consuming cannabis or tobacco, smoke of any kind is harmful for your lungs.
But can you consume it using other methods?
At various places, vaporizers are considered relatively safer to consume cannabis. While they may not be as irritating to your lungs as smoking, we have no evidence that vaporizers are totally safe for asthma patients. And thus, 420 doctors suggest you should probably avoid these too.
How about edibles?
Edibles can actually be a very suitable cannabis consumption method for asthma patients. They are metabolized in your stomach and usually take some time to show its effects. However, you should note that the effects you get from this method are sometimes very strong. And thus, you need to be very careful. Also, before you consume cannabis in any form, talk to your doctor first.
While there is no such thing as “Best cannabis strains for asthma”, there are a few that an asthma may enjoy. Here is a list of five classic cannabis strains that you can easily find in edible form.
This particular strain is quite famous among cannabis enthusiasts for having a very high level of CBD (~17 percent) and a minimal THC (~1 percent). And owing to this, this is a perfect choice for those who want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without getting high.
The high level of CBD in Charlotte’s Web also helps fight pain and inflammation. Plus, you can use it to combat anxiety and depression too.
Amnezia Haze, which is a cross between Jamaican, Cambodian, and Thai strains, is very well known for its earthly citrus scent. It’s a strong Sativa-Dominant strain with a THC level of 21 percent and the CBD level of around 1 percent. The users of this strain often claim of getting a feeling of euphoria and happiness with its use. Plus, it can also help you boost your mood and uplift your spirits.
This particular strain is a perfect example of high THC and CBD working amazingly together. It is made by crossing MK ultra with G13 Haze, and has a CBD level of 12 percent and THC up to 15 percent.
The high you get from this strain very relaxing and mellow, and it will bring a smile on your face. Cannatonic is also very famous for its use in treating various medical conditions.
As we saw, cannabis probably has the potential to help people manage their asthma. However, you should note that the research in this area is still at a very initial stage. And thus, if you are thinking of giving it a try, you should discuss it with your doctor first.
Medical marijuana doctors also suggest that you steer clear of smoking if you have asthma. There are many other methods of consumption, like edibles and oils, which are not harmful to your lungs.