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Medical Marijuana and Its Potential for Treating Asthma - Medical Weeds Online

Medical Marijuana and Its Potential for Treating Asthma

Medical Marijuana and Its Potential for Treating Asthma

It might sound surprising, but there are actually documented cases of smoked cannabis actually halting ongoing asthma attacks. 

Contrary to popular belief that marijuana causes asthma, evidence suggests that the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in the respiratory system’s activity and can modulate it in various ways.

Both preclinical and clinical research hint at cannabis’s potential as a bronchodilator, offering aid in asthma treatment. However, existing studies are either limited in scope or conducted on animals, highlighting the need for further research to conclusively determine the efficacy of cannabis for asthmatics. 

If you’re thinking of cannabis as a potential remedy for asthma, we highly suggest you consult with a doctor who’s well-versed in cannabinoids.

Studies Surrounding Asthma and Cannabis

The interaction between marijuana and the endocannabinoid receptors in our lungs has prompted researchers to explore its potential in treating asthma. Initially, there were concerns that cannabis smoke might pose risks similar to tobacco smoke for asthma. 

However, research suggests that cannabis serves as a reliable bronchodilator, meaning it can open up constricted airways during an asthma attack. This is in contrast to tobacco smoke which is known to constrict airways which can trigger asthma attacks.

Studies on smoked marijuana with low levels of THC (1-2.6%) have demonstrated its bronchodilator effects.

One study showed that cannabis could swiftly halt bronchospasm and associated lung hyperinflation. Another study observed bronchodilation with cannabis smoke, with more pronounced effects associated with higher THC levels, and importantly, without central respiratory depression. 

It’s important to note that both studies had small sample sizes and used cannabis with lower THC levels than what is commonly found in available marijuana strains. 

Future research may explore more common cannabis chemotypes or THC alone to understand their influence on lung function.

Interaction Between Asthma and Marijuana

To understand how marijuana works to treat asthma, we should first delve into the broader mechanisms of cannabis within the human body. 

Cannabis primarily interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which is a crucial regulator that maintains balance (homeostasis) for key functions such as sleep, hunger, mood, immune response, and memory. 

This system comprises three components: endocannabinoids, receptors (such as CB1 and CB2 receptors), and enzymes.

Endocannabinoids activate or modulate endocannabinoid receptors, which triggers the system’s balancing effects. Enzymes then metabolize endocannabinoids, clearing them from the body. 

While endocannabinoids typically activate the system, cannabinoids from the cannabis plant can also trigger it. This can impact various essential functions and produce noticeable effects in the human body.

Endocannabinoid receptors are present throughout the body, including the lungs. Almost every cell type in the human lungs expresses an endocannabinoid receptor, with both CB1 and CB2 receptors found in the lungs and bronchial tissue. 

CB1 levels are notably higher than CB2 levels in the lungs, indicating susceptibility to the effects of the endocannabinoid system and, consequently, cannabis.

Studies exploring the impact of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids on these receptors reveal their potential as potent anti-inflammatory agents. This property aligns with observations in studies and accounts suggesting that cannabis, or its common components THC and CBD, acts as a bronchodilator. 

This bronchodilatory effect involves opening up airways and reducing mucus production, potentially offering relief for individuals with asthma.