- Asthma is a serious medical condition that makes it hard to breathe.
- In 2019 alone, asthma affected 262 million people and led to more than 455, 000 deaths.
- CBD can open the airways, reduce inflammation of the airways and improves the relaxation of muscles.
- CBD oils, edibles and tinctures are the best forms of CBD products to be used by asthmatic patients.
- Combining CBD and asthma medications can lead to fatal side effects.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a condition that makes it hard to breathe. People with asthma have sensitive airways in their lungs, and when they encounter certain things like dust, smoke, or exercise, their airways can get narrow, making it difficult to breathe. This can cause symptoms like coughing, wheezing (a whistling sound), and a feeling of tightness in the chest. Asthma is a major non-communicable diseases that can affect both adults and children alike. It is the most common chronic disease among children.
According to information from WHO, asthma affected an estimated 262 million people in 2019 and caused 455,000 deaths. Inhaled medication can control asthma symptoms and allow individuals with asthma to breathe more easily. Medicines, often delivered through an inhaler, help open up the airways and reduce inflammation, making it easier for people with asthma to manage their condition and lead a normal, active life.
What are the causes of asthma?
Asthma is a complex condition with several contributing factors. While the exact cause of asthma is not fully understood, several factors can increase the risk of developing asthma. Here are some common contributors:
- Genetics: A family history of asthma or other allergic conditions can increase the likelihood of developing asthma. Certain genes may play a role in making a person more susceptible to environmental triggers.
- Environmental Factors: Exposure to certain environmental factors and allergens can contribute to the development of asthma. Common triggers like allergens (pollen, dust mites, mold, pet dander), irritants (Tobacco smoke, air pollution, strong odors, and fumes) and infections can lead to asthmatic episodes.
- Early Childhood Exposures: Early exposure to tobacco smoke, viral infections, or allergens in infancy and early childhood can influence the development of asthma.
- Occupational Exposures: Some workplace environments with exposure to irritants or allergens can contribute to the development of occupational asthma.
- Respiratory Infections: Severe respiratory infections, especially during early childhood, may increase the risk of developing asthma.
- Airway Hyper-responsiveness: Individuals with asthma often have airways that are more sensitive to various triggers, leading to exaggerated responses and symptoms.
- Medical conditions: Conditions like Obesity is associated with an increased risk of asthma, and it can worsen asthma symptoms in individuals who already have the condition.
Symptoms of Asthma
Asthma symptoms can vary in severity and may come and go. Common symptoms of asthma include:
- Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing or feeling like you can't catch your breath is a hallmark symptom of asthma. This can be triggered by various factors, such as exercise, exposure to allergens, or respiratory infections.
- Wheezing: Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling sound that occurs when breathing out. It is often a result of narrowed airways, a characteristic feature of asthma.
- Coughing: Persistent coughing, especially at night or early in the morning, can be a symptom of asthma. The cough may be dry or produce mucus.
- Chest Tightness: Individuals with asthma may experience a sensation of tightness or discomfort in the chest. This can be accompanied by difficulty taking deep breaths.
- Fatigue: Feeling tired or experiencing a decrease in energy can be associated with asthma, especially when the condition is not well-controlled.
- Difficulty Sleeping: Asthma symptoms can worsen at night, leading to difficulty sleeping. Nighttime coughing and wheezing are common.
- Peak Flow Variability: Peak flow refers to the maximum speed at which air can be expelled from the lungs. Asthma can cause variability in peak flow measurements, and monitoring this can help assess asthma control.
Can CBD help treat asthma?
Although more research is needed, there are several research papers that shows the potential role of CBD in dealing with symptoms of asthma. Some of these benefits are discussed below;
Asthma attacks are often linked to inflammation in the airways. This inflammation can be triggered by the immune system reacting to irritants or allergens. A 2019 research study on mice discovered that when they were given CBD, there was reduced airway inflammation during an allergen-induced asthma attack. Scientists think that CBD's interaction with cannabinoid receptors in the body's endocannabinoid system is behind its remarkable ability to modulate the immune system.
There are pieces of evidence pointing to the possible role of CBD in dealing with all kinds of pain including chest pain that is common with asthmatic attacks.
CBD has demonstrated analgesic effects in both animal and clinical studies, making it a promising option. Recent evidence suggests that cannabinoids, including CBD, may have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. CBD interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system, reducing pain and potentially lowering sensitivity to asthma triggers, which could lead to fewer asthma attacks.
People with asthma are most likely to experience stress and anxiety which often impact their mental health. Some inhalers that help with breathing can also make anxiety worse. Luckily, CBD has been shown to have anti-anxiety effects. It can be used alongside prescription medicines, helping patients manage their anxiety without adding extra stress. Studies suggest that CBD's anti-anxiety effects might be really helpful for people with asthma.
Reduce muscle spasms
During an asthma attack, the airways in the lungs get very narrow, making it hard to breathe. Cannabis can help widen these airways, which is good for asthma. However, when cannabis is smoked, it can go into the smaller airways even more than cigarette smoke, which might not be so great for people with asthma.
CBD also acts as a bronchodilator which open up the airways to allow more air. This can help asthmatic patients reduce the potentials of experiencing a chronic attack.
What type of CBD product works best for asthma?
CBD comes in different forms, but if you have asthma, it's best to avoid smoking CBD hemp or vaping. Smoking and vaping can make asthma symptoms worse. Instead, a good way to manage asthma is by using CBD oil drops, capsules, or edibles as part of your daily routine. These take a bit longer to work, but they last longer in your body. This means you don't need to take them as often. Edibles and capsules are easy and convenient ways to get the benefits of CBD without bothering your asthma.
You can also try Nesas Hemp CBDa full spectrum organic hemp oils. CBDa is 1000 times more active than CBD. It is safer and produce a more visible effect in shorter time. See our article on CBD vs. CBDa for more information.
Frequently asked questions
Can CBD interact with asthma medications?
CBD has the potential to interact with certain medications including asthma medications.
Can CBD prevent asthma attacks?
Yes, there are evidences that show CBD's anti-inflammatory effects may help prevent asthma attacks,
Can children with asthma use CBD?
Pure CBD is safe for all ages including children. However, it is important to determine the right dosage before using the product. Remember to purchase only pure CBD oils and start with as low dose as possible.
Are there specific dosages of CBD for asthma?
CBD dosage can vary based on factors like body weight, individual response, and the severity of symptoms. It's recommended to start with a low dose and gradually adjust based on the observed effects.
Should I stop my prescribed asthma medications if I use CBD?
No, individuals should not stop their prescribed asthma medications without consulting with an expert. CBD can be considered as a complementary approach, and its use should be discussed with an expert before making major decisions.
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Vuolo, F., Abreu, S. C., Michels, M., Xisto, D. G., Blanco, N. G., Hallak, J. E., … Dal-Pizzol, F. (2018). Cannabidiol reduces airway inflammation and fibrosis in experimental allergic asthma. European Journal of Pharmacology. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2018.11.029.
Krzyżewska, A.; Baranowska-Kuczko, M.; Jastrząb, A.; Kasacka, I.; Kozłowska, H. Cannabidiol Improves Antioxidant Capacity and Reduces Inflammation in the Lungs of Rats with Monocrotaline-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension. Molecules 2022, 27, 3327.