Does Cannabis Help Asthma?


Asthma is a respiratory condition marked by spasms in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing. It usually results from an allergic reaction or other forms of hypersensitivity. Treating asthma with cannabis sounds a bit odd. Which is why we're looking at the interaction of cannabinoids and terpenes when it comes to treating asthma.

It's no surprise that smoking (tobacco, cannabis or other combustible substances) irritates your lungs. I've known doctors that have yelled at patients for smoking with an asthma condition. However, cannabis opens air passages in comparison to tobacco.

That's correct. The New England Journal of Medicine published this article called, "Single-Dose Effect of Marihuana Smoke — Bronchial Dynamics and Respiratory-Center Sensitivity in Normal Subjects."

Normal volunteers with previous marijuana smoking experience inhaled the total smoke from 3.23 mg per kilogram of marijuana, using a bag-in-box technic. Randomly, nine received marijuana containing a high (2.6 per cent), and eight a low (1.0 per cent) concentration of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol.

Physiologic variables were monitored before and for 20 minutes after smoking. In the high-dose group the heart rate increased 28 per cent. Concomitantly, airway resistance, measured in a body plethysmograph, fell 38 per cent; the functional residual capacity remained unchanged (± 50 ml) throughout, and specific airway conductance increased 44 per cent. Flow-volume loops showed a 45 per cent increase in flow rate at 25 per cent of vital capacity. The low-dose group showed no increase in heart rate but significant, if lesser changes, in airways dynamics. Carbon dioxide sensitivity, measured by rebreathing remained unchanged in both groups.

Their findings show that cannabis smoke, unlike cigarette smoke, causes bronchodilatation rather than bronchoconstriction and, unlike opiates, does not cause central respiratory depression. Meaning cannabis helps open up airways, versus restricting them.

In regards to cannabis terpenes, limonene has shown properties of reducing airway inflammation. Pinene also helps open up airways. If you've ever been hiking in a coniferous forest and took a deep breath through your nose--you may have felt your lungs open up from the fresh pine scent. That's pinene!

With all things, know your limit and gain experience. In our opinion, vaporizing cannabis or cannabis oil is less harsh on your airways than combustion smoking. You can effectively take advantage of the benefits of THC, limonene and pinene like you would in smoking, by vaporizing.

Some strains that have a high amount of limonene in their terpene profile would be Tangie, Clementine, and Super Silver HP. Strains known to have high levels of pinene include most OG phenotypes, Jack Herer and Bubba Kush.

Information courtesy of NCBI, Wikileaf and The New England Journal of Medicine.

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