This article is shared with permission from our friends at New Health Advisor.
During an asthma attack, your airways swell and become narrow leading to shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. This lung disease needs to be managed properly or else it leads to life-threatening consequences. Asthma can affect children at any age, and though there is no cure, it is important to seek medical assistance to prevent serious complications.
Every year, more than 3,000 people die in the U.S. alone from asthma-related complications. That is mainly because it is complicated to manage the disease and an attack can happen while doing everyday activities like exercise. People often try different ways to treat their symptoms, and smoking weed is one such option. Is it really effective? Let’s find out now!
Marijuana and Asthma: Is Smoking Weed with Asthma a Good Thing?
You may not have heard of people using weed to treat their asthma symptoms, but the truth is that there is evidence that it actually works. While smoking, cigarettes can make your asthma symptoms worse, smoking weed works differently. Many new studies have confirmed the benefits of using marijuana to treat asthma symptoms. With more research, it is possible to see weed emerge as a mainstream treatment option for chronic lung conditions.
How It Works
Cannabis has medicinal effects on your body, and this actually offers a number of health benefits as well. Here are some reasons why smoking weed with asthma may actually be a good thing.
1. It Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Studies show that cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties and it treats your asthma symptoms by reducing inflammation and opening the airway passages. This really helps reduce symptoms such as shortness of breath and coughing.
Research shows that people who use marijuana on a moderate basis actually notice an improvement in their lung function. It is important to know that the effects of marijuana on your bronchial passages are entirely different from the effects of tobacco cigarettes, which actually leads to constriction of the airway passages.
2. It Has Anti-Spasmodic Effects
In 2014, a study was published in which researchers took bronchial lung tissue from 88 patients and exposed it to electrical field stimulation. Once the tissue was contracted, they administered THC, synthetic agonists of CB-receptors type I and II, and the endogenous cannabinoid 2-AG. The results showed that THC, as well as some other agonists of the CB1-receptor, helped reduce muscle contractions.
Since cannabis works great to reduce inflammation, it also produces a bronchodilatory effect on your system. Bronchoconstriction experienced during an asthma attack becomes more manageable with the help of weed. That happens mainly because cannabis reduces muscular spasms and prevents the contraction and narrowing of the smooth muscles in the bronchioles and bronchi.
3. It Has Antibiotic Properties
While most experts still believe that asthma has some genetic basis, some are of the view that this lung disease may well be the outcome of viral or bacterial infections contracted in early childhood. These infections affect the immune system and make some people reactive to various irritants and allergens.
Many researchers are now trying to find antibiotics to help treat infections and lower the symptoms of asthma. They have found that even some common antibiotics such as azithromycin and erythromycin may help alleviate asthma symptoms in some patients.
With that in mind, it becomes clear why smoking weed with asthma may actually be a good thing. Research shows that cannabinoids, including CBD, THC, and CBG have antibacterial properties and protect you against infectious pathogens. Moreover, the Streptococcus genus, which includes S. aureae and S. penumoniae is a group of bacterial agents linked to asthma, but cannabis helps treat the infections caused by these bacterial agents.
Will There Be Any Risks Involved?
While the use of cannabis certainly seems to be an effective choice to treat asthma symptoms, it is still important to pay attention to all the risks involved in using this option. For instance, many studies show that when you take inhaler-delivered THC in excess, you may end up dealing with bronchoconstriction. In a study, only 3 out of 5 asthma patients experienced bronchodilation after receiving 5-20mg of THC. It implies that even if you are using weed to treat your asthma, you need to be very careful about how much you take.
Many studies have already confirmed that you do not increase your risk of developing lung cancer after smoking marijuana, but there is evidence that excessive smoking may well be associated with an increased risk of developing bronchitis, which involves the mucous membranes of the airway becoming inflamed. Your asthma symptoms may become worse, and you notice serious complications if you develop bronchitis.
Nevertheless, there are other ways to use cannabis without having to worry too much about the risks. Instead of inhaling, you can ingest marijuana through alternative methods, such as edible preparations or vaporizers. Keep in mind that you do not always need to smoke weed to enjoy its therapeutic benefits.