CBD oil and asthma
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- Research overview
- The studies
- Patient perspectives
- What the experts say
- Bottom line
If you or someone you love has asthma then you know how debilitating the symptoms can be. Wheezing, coughing, and labored breathing are just a few of the disruptive effects of this chronic lung disease that affects 25 million Americans. Smoking cannabis might not be the best idea for someone with lung disease, but what about using CBD oil to treat asthma?
Wheezing, coughing, and labored breathing are just a few of the disruptive effects of asthma. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
As there is no cure for asthma, researchers are seeking treatments that manage the symptoms with the fewest possible side effects. According to some recent research conducted on animal models, cannabidiol (CBD) oil could be one potential therapeutic option.
The results of a 2015 study published in “Mediators of Inflammation” showed that CBD was able to stop the oversensitive inflammatory response in rats induced with asthma. The study’s authors said CBD is a potential new asthma treatment.
A 2015 study showed that CBD could be a potential new asthma treatment. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
A subsequent 2019 study published in the “European Journal of Pharmacology” found that CBD reduces airway inflammation and fibrosis in mice with allergic asthma. Further, the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis may be useful in treating asthma. Researchers who had previously shown that CBD administered to mice prior to a lung injury reduced inflammation also examined the effect of CBD given after the injury. They found that CBD had “a potent anti-inflammatory effect” and improved lung function.
Finally, there may be some therapeutic value in full-spectrum oil, which does contain the intoxicating cannabinoid THC as well as CBD. A 2016 literature review published in the “Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology” found that THC may help suppress the immune system. In some types of asthma, the immune system overreacts to an environmental trigger, resulting in bothersome symptoms. The findings of this study could be especially beneficial for those who suffer from allergic asthma. Researchers in this study also noted that the cannabinoid system plays an important role in balancing immunity.
Asthma is a condition that most sufferers learn to manage over time, through lifestyle and environmental changes as well as prescription maintenance medication and rescue inhalers for asthma attacks. Nick Foster is an author and blogger who writes about methods for controlling asthma. On his blog Treating Asthma at Home, Foster writes that his asthma was mostly controlled by diet and exercise, but he still felt symptoms and discomfort occasionally so he decided to try CBD. After taking 20 milligrams a day sublingually or orally, he blogged about the results. “I’ve been taking CBD for about a year now, and I still haven’t had to sit through any discomfort or other asthmatic symptoms, let alone use my rescue inhaler,” Foster said.
Since he was a child, Salvatore Miceli has kept an inhaler in his pocket, ready to treat his near daily asthma attacks. In 2018, Miceli tried CBD oil for the first time and has observed a greater clarity in his breathing. He shared with Weedmaps in a phone interview, “Not only does the CBD oil help me breathe better but it also makes me calmer. Asthma attacks can be stressful and scary, so it’s great to have a treatment that addresses that as well.”
Miceli’s experience with CBD oil has been so positive that he has considered canceling his upcoming surgery to repair a deviated septum. He said, “If the results continue like this, then I would love to skip the surgery.”
Is Miceli’s success with CBD oil to treat asthma surprising to medical professionals? That depends on who you ask.
What the experts say
The lowered levels of anxiety Miceli credits to CBD oil do not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the benefits of medical marijuana. In fact, cannabis has been emerging as an alternative to anxiety medications and some top physicians are recognizing the potential.
Dr. Bonni Goldstein, medical director of Canna-Centers Wellness & Education in California and medical adviser to Weedmaps, has observed exceptional long-term results with hundreds of anxiety patients who have been treated with cannabis medicine.
“Cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, and CBG can be utilized to help anxiety sufferers reduce symptoms and improve the quality of their lives,” Goldstein said.
But what about the direct breathing issues related to asthma? Organizations such as the Lung Institute are quick to dismiss the idea of asthma patients smoking cannabis as dangerous, but some experts believe that using alternative measures such as CBD oil may yield a better outcome. In 2017, Bronchiectasis News reported that vaporized or edible forms of cannabis may offer temporary relief to some individuals with lung disease.
Vaporized or edible forms of cannabis may offer temporary relief to some individuals with lung disease. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
With a fundamental lack of research into how CBD oil affects people with asthma, many medical experts remain on the fence about the treatment’s benefits and drawbacks.
CBD oil may be able to offer anti-inflammatory relief to some asthma patients when administered under a physician’s care.
CBD oil and asthma Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Research overview The studies Patient perspectives What the experts say
Study: Cannabidiol (CBD) as an Effective Asthma Treatment
Publié le 3 Août 2015
Atopic diseases, or those that cause an individual to experience immediate allergic reactions (asthma being one of the more common), affect about 20 percent of the population in developed countries.Researchers looking for a way to combat the longtime public health concern conducted a series of testsinvolving the use of cannabidiol (CBD). Although the research used rats as subjects the results are nonetheless encouraging. Early research suggests that CBD is an effective treatment for minimizing the inflammation experienced by asthma sufferers.
With the approval of the Ethics Committee at Brazil’s Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense, and in conjunction with the NIH Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, researchers conducted a studyusing 8-week-old rats sourced from a breeding colony. The rats were housed five to a cage and exposed to a 12-hour light cycle. They were given food and water to enjoy at their leisure.
“Early research suggests that CBD is an effective treatment for minimizing the inflammation experienced by so many asthma sufferers.”
The rats were injected with chickenovalbumin (OVA) alone or in combination with aluminum hydroxide. OVA is atypical to the environment and known to provoke Tp and Th2 responses. A second boost of either OVA or aluminum hydroxide was administered 14 days later. After a week, the rats were given aerosol challenges using saline or a similar solution. During the last two days of the study, 21 of the rats were separated into 3 groups–a control group, an asthma group (injected with OVA), and an asthma/treatment group (injected with OVA and CBD).
Those in the asthma/treatment group were given an injection once a day of a solution of CBD and TWEENⓇ80 (which was prepared immediately before administration and kept out of light beforehand). Blood samples were then obtained from the rats 24 hours later so that researchers could assess their levels of cytokines. Cytokines are small proteins released by cells that have specific effects on the interaction and communication between cells and on the behavior of cells.
The study revealed that the rats treated with CBD experienced a reduction in two types of cytokines; known as Tp and Th2. In addition to showing that CBD treatment was effective in reducing cytokine levels, the study suggests that CBD may influence a reduction in the major stimuli of mucus hyper-secretion, another prominent symptom experienced by those with asthma.
The findings of the study were consistent with that of the Ribero study, which shows CBD to have potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties. It is noted, however, that the asthma-associated inflammation of the rat models differed somewhat from that of the LPS-induced inflammation of the mice models being studied for decreasing inflammation due to lung injuries.
While the rat model study gave researchers some good data to interpret, it was not without limitations. One limitation was the fact that researchers were unable to review solid evidence of airway inflammation because they were unable to properly assess the effect CBD has on bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cytokines. Lung function was also not measured, so it is unknown how CBD affects air flow and related obstruction.
Despite the limitations, this study and many others like it are demonstrating the need for more effective, rigorous and timely studies, especially in human trials with a larger sample size. While most people support the legalization of cannabis, few agree on what constitutes effective treatment. A major reason for this is the lack of scientific research. To truly understand and document the full impact of the Cannabis plant and its compounds, improvements in research technologies and data-gathering techniques are desperately needed.
Study: Cannabidiol (CBD) as an Effective Asthma Treatment