Changes in marijuana laws and the increased use of medicinal marijuana have led to questions about what conditions it can be used to treat. Many people wonder whether marijuana can affect or treat asthma.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that occurs when the airways in the chest get narrower or become inflamed. Symptoms of asthma include coughing, difficulty breathing, and wheezing.
There is no cure for asthma, so treatment involves managing the symptoms and preventing complications. Could marijuana help reduce symptoms? Read on for more information about the possible benefits and risks.
Marijuana for asthma
Marijuana is available to use in many forms other than smoking. For example, water vaporizers or bongs filter the smoke through water, which may reduce the potential for lung irritation.
FOLLOW US ON:
There are also edible and topical forms of marijuana, such as cannabidiol (CBD) oils, which may be more suitable for someone with asthma.
These products may give the benefits of marijuana without the risk of lung irritation.
Marijuana is a type of cannabinoid, which is known to contain anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties.
Sometimes, it is used medicinally to treat chronic conditions that cause pain and inflammation, such as multiple sclerosis and cancer. Researchers have looked into whether people with other inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, can use marijuana safely.
Research has found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active component in marijuana, can help suppress the immune system, which may help reduce symptoms caused by autoimmune diseases such as asthma.
There is a variety of ways to use marijuana. Much of the research on cannabinoids for asthma has focused on the cannabinoid chemical, rather than more popular forms.
For example, a 2013 study found potential benefits from the use of a water vaporizer. The study found that people using a vaporizer were significantly less likely to combine marijuana with tobacco than if they were smoking it.
They also found that people perceived some health benefits when using a vaporizer, as they were inhaling vapor and not actual smoke.
Another 2015 review argues that inhaling marijuana through a vaporizer is likely less harmful than smoking it, especially as frequent smokers often report respiratory problems such as coughing and wheezing.
Despite some research that suggests that some forms of marijuana may be beneficial for people with asthma, it still has risks.
Smoking marijuana can make some asthma symptoms worse, including:
shortness of breath
swelling of the throat