For many , the idea of cannabis being used as an asthma treatment can feel a bit backwards. After all, one of the most common ways cannabis is ingested is by smoking, a method that would seem to be detrimental to those with asthma. However, recent studies have found that cannabis in any form (even smoked) can greatly benefit those suffering from the symptoms of asthma.
Can Marijuana Treat Asthma?
First let’s take a closer look at asthma and what it actually means to have it. Asthma is a fairly common lung disease that results in the narrowing of the airway passage. Due to this narrowing, those suffering from asthma frequently experience feeling out of breath, wheezing or uncontrollable coughing.
While treatment can be used to reduce the effects patients with asthma experience, there is currently no cure for the condition. Asthma attacks can come in many forms and can be triggered by a number of factors including allergies or exercise. While asthma doesn’t reduce your life expectancy, being caught in an intense asthma attack without the proper treatment can be fatal.
So how does a substance that can be smoked help treat asthma? The explanation can be found by examining where asthma begins. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease, while cannabis is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory effects. This means cannabis works in an opposite effect to other substances like tobacco and can actually help expand the lungs instead of constricting them.
Editor’s Note: A 2015 animal study in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics identified THC specifically as the active compound in cannabis that could benefit people suffering from asthma. They found that THC had anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator effects on airways (very similar to the effect Ventolin has on the lungs during an asthma attack). This is great news!
So how powerful can a cannabis treatment actually be? For those suffering from an asthma attack the results are practically instantaneous and are similar to the results found with some of the more common name brand inhalers.