- General Health
CBD for Asthma | Can It Help?
Anyone who lives with asthma or allergies will know that smoking, whether weed or cigarettes, can just exacerbate the problem. So it’s no surprise that people may like the idea of turning to the variety of smoke-free CBD products as an anti-inflammatory alternative. But is CBD for asthma really effective?
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 235 million people have asthma. It’s a condition that affects 1 in 13 Americans and is a common chronic condition among both adults and children. Even more shocking is that this number is rapidly increasing over time.
Although asthma isn’t classified as an exhausting condition, it could very easily turn your world upside down. The great news is that according to research and anecdotal evidence, CBD oil for asthma may be a practical solution.
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is one of the most common conditions affecting the respiratory system. It’s a disease that causes inflammation of the airways and lungs, often making it difficult to breathe. The airways of asthma sufferers swell up and become narrower. This swelling causes chest pain and coughing, and in the most severe cases, makes breathing difficult.
Asthma is a long-term disease, and some doctors may refer to it as a chronic respiratory disease. Severe asthma can make it challenging to be active or even talk. Some people refer to asthma as “bronchial asthma.”
Those who have asthma may also experience asthma attacks. An asthma attack is a very sudden worsening of symptoms. When you have an attack, the airways tighten, swell up, or become filled with mucus.
There are three major symptoms of asthma:
- Airway obstruction: When you have asthma, the bands of muscle that surround the airways tighten and the air can’t move freely. Because there’s less air in the lungs, you will feel short of breath.
- Inflammation: Swollen and red bronchial tubes are also a common asthma symptom. This inflammation can cause damage to the lungs.
- Airway irritability: People who have asthma have sensitive airways that often overreact and become narrower due to even the slightest triggers.
What Causes Asthma?
When you have asthma, the airways react to various things in the environment known as asthma triggers. In other words, the causes of asthma. Contact with any of these triggers can cause symptoms to start or worsen. Here are the most common asthma causes/triggers:
- Allergens such as mold, pet dander, pollens, and dust mites
- Air pollution
- Infections like colds, flu, and sinusitis
- Tobacco smoke
- Medications such as aspirin
- Strong emotions such as crying, anxiety, stress, or laugher
- Cold air or changes to weather
Allergies with asthma is a notable problem. 80% of people who suffer from asthma have allergies to things like grass, trees, air, mold, dust mites, and more. Food allergies can also be asthma triggers. The most common foods linked to allergic symptoms include; cow’s milk, eggs, soy, fish, wheat, peanuts, shellfish, and even fresh fruits.
How Asthma Is Classified
Doctors rank asthma severity according to the symptoms:
- Mild intermittent asthma: This is when mild symptoms occur less than twice a week. There are few asthma attacks, and nighttime symptoms are less than twice a month.
- Mild persistent asthma: Symptoms occur three to six times a week, and nighttime symptoms happen three to four times a month. Asthma attacks may affect activities.
- Moderate persistent asthma: Symptoms occur almost every day and at least one night per week. This is an advanced stage of asthma.
- Severe persistent asthma: You experience ongoing symptoms both day and night. It’s so frequent that you have to limit your activities.
Additionally, asthma is also classified in the following ways:
- Adult-onset asthma: Asthma can affect persons at any age, but it is more common in people under the age of 40. You’re more likely to suffer from it if you have a family history of allergies, asthma, or eczema.
- Asthma in children: Symptoms include frequent coughing spells, less energy during play, rapid or shallow breathing, whistling sound when breathing in or out, tightened neck and chest muscles, and more.
- Status asthmaticus: These kinds of prolonged asthma attacks don’t respond to treatment by bronchodilators and are considered to be a medical emergency. Immediate treatment is necessary.
- Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction: Also referred to as exercise-induced asthma, this happens during physical activity when a person breathes in air that is drier than what is in the body and the airways narrow.
- Other types of asthma: These include; allergic asthma, nonallergic asthma, occupational asthma, aspirin-induced asthma, cough-variant asthma, and more.
There is no cure for asthma. The most common and best asthma treatment is an inhaler that sprays drugs to open up the person’s airways. Rescue inhalers, also known as quick-relief inhalers, are medications that you breathe in.
Inhalers are used to relax the muscles that tighten around airways. It helps to open them up so you can breathe easier. Here’s a breakdown of these medications:
- Short-acting beta-agonists: This is the first choice for quick relief.
- Anticholinergics: This is used to reduce mucus and also open up the airways
- Oral corticosteroids: This is used to lower the swelling in the airways.
- Combination quick-relief medicine: Contains both a short-acting beta-agonist and anticholinergic. If you aren’t able to use an inhaler, you can get them from a nebulizer.
As for preventative and long-term medications, there are also a few options. The aim is to reduce swelling and mucus in the airways, thus making it less likely that patients will react to asthma triggers. These include:
- Inhaled corticosteroids: This is the most effective long-term medication; these are made to reduce mucus in the lungs and prevent swelling.
- Inhaled long-acting beta-agonists: These are used to open airways by relaxing the surrounding muscles.
- Biologics: These target a protein or cell in the body to prevent airway inflammation. They can be either infusions or shots you get every few weeks.
There are a variety of other treatment options, and, of course, research now suggests that CBD oil for asthma may be useful.
Natural Asthma Treatment
For those who are tired of depending on medications and inhalers for treatment, you could try natural asthma remedies. Keep in mind that many of these may not be as effective, but they are worth considering:
- Steam baths: This is by no means a cure, but can help to relieve some of the symptoms because it might offer moisture to the airways. Steam baths are good for alleviating airway irritation and nasal congestion.
- Ginger: Ginger is believed to reduce inflammation. A recent study found that oral ginger supplements were linked to an improvement in asthma symptoms.
- Honey: Honey is found in many cough and cold medicines, used to help calm a cough and soothe an irritated throat.
- Turmeric: Turmeric has some anti-allergy properties and is thought to have an effect on histamines, which may cause inflammation.
- Garlic: Garlic has been utilized as a natural remedy to manage various diseases, specifically cardiovascular disease, due to its anti-inflammatory effects. Because asthma is an inflammatory disease, it makes sense that garlic should be one of the good natural remedies for asthma.
- Acupuncture: A traditional Chinese treatment, acupuncture involves sticking needles into specific parts of the body. Asthma patients claim that it’s a practice that helps to ease symptoms.
- Yoga: Stress may trigger asthma symptoms, and the breathing exercises used in yoga may be able to help people with asthma to control breathing and relieve stress.
CBD Treatment for Asthma
With powerful antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD could help to reduce the frequency of asthma attacks and allow asthma sufferers to breathe more easily.
Without diving too much into the science, CBD works by affecting the body’s inflammatory and allergic response. Essentially, this means that CBD reduces inflammation throughout the body. It also prevents the body from overreacting to common allergens, as well as other irritants, which may cause asthma symptoms.
CBD is not only good for reducing inflammation, but it can also induce relaxation, sedation, and sleep. Furthermore, you don’t need to inhale or smoke it to benefit.
Now for the scientific part. The key benefits when it comes to CBD and asthma are linked to CBD’s nature as a cannabinoid. It is able to bind to receptors that trigger a string of events eventually, leading to a change in neurotransmitter activity.
CBD has known anti-inflammatory and bronchodilatory effects, which is why it could help with asthma. Because of its ability to mediate pain receptors, CBD may also be effective at relieving the sensation of chest pain. It also has bacterial properties that can help in treating certain infections that trigger asthma.
CBD for Asthma
Here are some of the main benefits of using CBD treatment for asthma:
- Anti-inflammation: One of the main complications of asthma is the chronic inflammation of the air passages – bronchi and bronchioles – in the lungs. A 2015 CBD asthma study has demonstrated that CBD can reduce inflammation significantly.
- Bronchodilation: One of the most noticeable effects of asthma is how it restricts the airways. Studies dating back to the 1970s have reported the positive effects of smoking cannabis, which helps to open up the airways. However, getting high is not a practical solution. Fortunately, CBD has the same bronchodilatory effects, but with none of the psychoactive feeling of being “high.”
- Pain relief: Aside from the reduced airflow and obstruction of airways caused by asthma, there’s also pain and discomfort that occurs during an asthma attack. Fortunately, CBD is a known pain reliever. In fact, pain relief is one of the main reasons that people lviing with asthma take CBD.
- Muscle spasticity: Irritable, twitching, and spastic airways are a way of life for most asthma sufferers. Thankfully, CBD isn’t only good for relieving inflammation and pain; decades of research shows that it may also be effective at relieving muscle spasms.
- Getting rid of mucus: One of the most annoying things for asthmatics is passing mucus, filling up your airways – mucus makes it harder to breathe. It can also be thick, dark, and hard to pass, especially if your airways are already tight. CBD has been found to be an effective expectorant, which means that it helps to expel mucus, thus freeing up the air passages and allowing air to get through.
Does CBD Oil Help Asthma?
Although research into CBD and asthma is limited, the evidence thus far seems to suggest that CBD oil could very well help asthmatics. The anti-inflammatory and bronchodilatory effects are the main benefits associated with using CBD for asthma.
Some people suggest using a CBD vape for asthma because vaporizers that contain CBD oil can help to soothe the smooth muscles around the airways and also reduce spasms.
We cannot say for certain that CBD oil will help asthma sufferers. However, based on the benefits we’ve discussed above, it certainly seems as though CBD could relieve and help ease several of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with the condition.
Most methods for treating asthma involve using inhalers. Now, you can also get CBD asthma inhalers. They are similar to normal inhalers used to treat asthma, except they contain CBD. The device contains an aerosol spray mist that, when used, allows consumers to get a quick dose of CBD.
Bottom Line on CBD for Asthma
Generally, CBD has been found to be well-tolerated and has a good safety profile, which means that there are no specific risks involved when using CBD for asthma. Research thus far is promising, so there’s no reason not to give CBD a try. However, you should still chat with your doctor before making any changes to your current medication.
Ultimately, CBD seems to offer several medicinal benefits when it comes to treating respiratory diseases like asthma. CBD is an incredible bronchodilator that helps to restore the normal flow of oxygen into the lungs. It’s anti-inflammatory and is therefore effective at counteracting the inflamed state of the bronchi and bronchioles.
Furthermore, when using CBD oil for asthma, you also benefit from the relaxation of smooth muscles that surround the bronchi tubes since CBD also has antispasmodic effects.
All that said, further research needs to be done to determine just how effective CBD is at treating asthma symptoms. But for now, you might as well give CBD a try.