At first thought you’d probably think that cannabis and asthma would be a recipe for disaster. How could smoking anything have a positive impact on someone’s asthma other than to possibly give them another attack. But surprisingly, it appears to be just the opposite. Cannabis is actually one of nature’s greatest expectorants (something that helps loosen mucus) and has been proven to clear the human lungs of smog, dust, and the phlegm associated with tobacco use. I personally witnessed this after quitting cigarettes after 17 years back in 2009, as I watched my wheezing dissipate and need for an inhaler eventually disappear while only using cannabis.
Doctors and scientists have been finding that marijuana smoke effectively dilates the airways of the lungs, the bronchi, opening them to allow more oxygen into the lungs. According to a recent University study in Brazil, it is also one of the greatest natural dilators of the tiny airways of the lungs, the bronchial tubes, making cannabis an impressive bronchial dilator for at least 80% of the population (the remaining 20% sometimes show minor negative reactions). Within the the medical community, there has long been a heated debate over whether or not cannabis is helpful for asthma patients when smoked. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease and cannabis is a known anti-inflammatory, so could the benefits outweigh the smoking risk? Many studies seem to suggest just that, pointing to THC’s ability to dilate respiratory passages and inhibit coughing, factors that make it potentially beneficial for many patients. Turns out, cannabis actually does the opposite of tobacco smoke in that it expands, rather than constricts bronchial passageways.
Recently, researchers have been studying whether people with inflammatory conditions like asthma, can use marijuana safely. Findings of a study published in 2015 suggested that CBD may benefit people with asthma, due to its anti-inflammatory action. They also found that THC can help suppress the immune system. This could help reduce symptoms that stem from auto-immune diseases, such as asthma. Since asthma is an allergic reaction, the immune system is over-reacting to something in the environment that is triggering the attack, so suppressing those reactions is the key. Another study suggested that a certain form of THC may have bronchodilatory properties, which means it could actually help make breathing easier for people with asthma. With all these findings, it would appear the evidence is there to support cannabis being seriously considered as a legitimate treatment for asthma.
At the end of the day, inhaling any smoke into your lungs can be dangerous and have negative effects, but thankfully there are so many other ways to administer THC. From edibles to vaping, the options are endless for someone trying to reap the benefits of this miraculous plant, without damaging their lungs. With the medical science community finally doing rigorous testing on cannabis, thanks in large part to legalization, folks can hope to see a future where they can ditch their Albuterol inhaler for a much more stylish and enjoyable vape pen.