Can You Use Medical Marijuana for Asthma?
The laws concerning marijuana has been changing recently, and various states have already legalized medical marijuana. The use of medical marijuana has also increased, which got many people question: what conditions can it treat? You may also be wondering whether you can use medical marijuana for asthma, which is one of the most common questions.
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung disease associated with inflammation or narrowing of the airways in the chest. This disease commonly causes symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and trouble breathing.
Unfortunately, asthma cannot be cured, but you can still control the symptoms using medication and lifestyle modifications. Some people think that consuming marijuana can help to relieve the symptoms as well. How true is that?
Can You Use Marijuana for Asthma?
What is marijuana? It’s a type of cannabinoid, whose active component is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabinoids are known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties.
Some specialists use marijuana medicinally as part of the treatment of chronic diseases inducing pain and inflammation. Conditions commonly treated with marijuana include multiple sclerosis and cancer. There has also been research on whether marijuana can be used for other inflammatory diseases like asthma.
According to research, THC can actually help to alleviate the symptoms of asthma and other autoimmune conditions by suppressing the immune system.
The most common method to use marijuana is to smoke it, but it may lead to lung irritation. Apart from smoking, you can consume THC using vaporizers or bongs filtering the smoke through water or add them to food.
You can use marijuana in many different forms, such as herb itself, edible or topical forms (e.g. cannabidiol oils), or cannabinoid chemical. When it comes to asthma in particular, researchers have rather been focusing on the cannabinoid chemical.
According to a study published in 2013, the use of a water vaporizer instead of smoking may be beneficial for people with asthma. This is because many people are used to combining marijuana with tobacco when smoking it, which is not recommended for asthma. Some people involved in the study also noticed some health benefits when inhaling vapor with marijuana extract, rather than smoking it.
Another study published in 2015 suggests that using a vaporizer with marijuana is safer that smoking it and helps to avoid common respiratory problems related to smoking, such as coughing and wheezing.
What Are the Risks of Smoking Marijuana for Asthma?
If you have asthma, smoking marijuana can increase your respiratory symptoms, which is why it is not recommended. Smoking weed can cause coughing, wheezing, phlegm, breath shortness, and swelling of the throat. While these symptoms are not likely to last long, they can trigger a severe asthma attack.
Smoking in general can significantly irritate the lungs, which can make your asthma worse. Therefore, experts recommend that people with asthma avoid smoking marijuana and any other substance.
Besides, smoking marijuana in excessive amounts puts you at an increased risk for bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to some research. The link between these conditions and light smoking is still unknown.
Sometimes, marijuana smokers may develop bullae in their lungs. Those are large bubblelike cavities filled with air that can cause breathing difficulty. In severe cases, these bullae can lead to a lung collapse, which is potentially life-threatening and requires an immediate treatment.
It may be true that other forms of marijuana can be less harmful than smoking, but there are still some risks.
The Bottom Line
If you are suffering from asthma symptoms, you may want to try various additional treatment to find relief. However, you should always speak to your doctor first, to avoid the risk of complications.
Your doctor will evaluate your condition and recommend the most effective and safest treatment option.