Contrary to what people might think, cannabis can actually help people suffering from asthma in several ways. It might sound surprising, but compounds present in cannabis will actually relieve the symptoms associated with asthma attacks. If you are one of those many people who picture someone smoking a joint at the mention of cannabis, then you should be glad that you are not alone. But, truth be told when it comes to cannabis everything isn’t that simple.
Asthma: A Primary Introduction To The Disease
Asthma is a long-term inflammatory and chronic disease which affects the airways of the lungs. It is usually genetics that play a primary part in the development of this disease. However, there are several other factors as well which can trigger an asthma attack, including:
- Pollen or Dust – Different Types of Allergens
- Air Pollution
- Smoking cigarettes
- Respiratory Infections
- Change in weather
- Strong emotions
Each of these stimulants can result in a spasm and obstruction in the sensitive airways. Symptoms include :
Does CBD Help Reduce The Symptoms Caused By Asthma?
An asthma attack can happen any time and that is why asthma patients carry inhalers with them at all times. The symptoms of asthma can be kept in check when patients take their medications on time. However, not only suffering from asthma is exhausting and frustrating, but it is also very persistent. This makes conventional medications pretty useless because they contain immunomodulators and steroids. However, the question remains how cannabis is better than these pharmaceuticals when compared?
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Asthma is considered a public health problem and has been classified as an atopic disease, where the allergen (foreign body) has the ability to induce clinical airway inflammation, bronchial hyperresponsiveness, and reversible airway obstruction. Unfortunately, asthma remains a major problem and, till now, there are no effective treatments that are capable of reversing airway remodeling. Cannabidiol (CBD) is known to have immunomodulatory properties through the activation of cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) located in the central nervous system and immune cells, respectively. However, the mechanism through which CBD can affect airway remodeling is not fully understood.
Dr. Donald Tashkin began a study in the year of 1975, where asthma patients were subjected to actual cannabis that contained 2% of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as a form of treatment. It was concluded from this study that patients who were given placebo recovered from the bronchial spasms in one hour but those who were treated with cannabis immediately recovered from every symptom of asthma. This started several other studies on the same subject. Recent anecdotal reports suggests that asthma attacks can be stopped without any harmful side effects with the help of CBD.
Many studies have demonstrated that in asthma, T-helper 2 lymphocytes were present in the lung of patients with asthma. These immune cells are involved in cytokine production, which regulates immunoglobulin synthesis. The interaction between T cells and antigens/allergens is the key to the development of the inflammatory response of the disease.
In 2015, an experimental study was conducted in order to evaluate the anti-inflammatory potential of cannabidiol (CBD). CBD (5mg/kg) was administered to an 8-week-old rat and the levels of interleukins (IL), which are produced from T cells, were estimated. It was demonstrated that CBD treatment significantly reduced IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, IL-6, and TNF-alpha levels and therefore it was proposed that CBD might be a promising drug in modulating the inflammatory response in asthma patients.
Recently, Vuolo et al. conducted an experimental study in 2019 on asthma mice to investigate cytokines levels and CB1/CB2 expressions after administration of CBD. It was noted that CBD treatment, regardless of dosage, resulted in a reduction of airway hyperresponsiveness. Overall, CBD treatment reduced the inflammatory and remodeling processes in the model of allergic asthma.
Years have been spent trying to prove the benefits of cannabis on different health factors. CBD is today renowned for being an extraordinary anti-inflammatory agent. It has captured the attention of scientists, medical experts, and users. By now you can have a clear idea that cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant are actually not bad for asthma as it was once thought. Noteworthy, the aforementioned results are still preliminary and experimental, it’s advised that no one should use CBD for his asthma until large-scale human studies are conducted to investigate CBD’s efficacy in real asthma patients.