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6 Benefits of Using Marijuana for Asthma

Asthma is one of the most common types of respiratory diseases, affecting 1 in every 12 people in the US. Half of the people suffering from this disease have already experienced severe asthma attacks, which is characterized by wheezing, shortness of breath, and in some cases, even passing out. Over 3,000 patients suffering from asthma die every year, while countless more have to deal with everyday struggles related to the disease.

The bad news is that asthma does not have any known cure. Once you have the disease, the only thing you can do is control its symptoms and prevent attacks by avoiding possible triggers. The good news is that patients suffering from asthma may find some form of relief in a rather interesting solution - marijuana.

Most people are familiar with marijuana as a drug that is commonly smoked through the use of a joint, blunt, bong, or water pipe. It's not surprising that many people don't consider marijuana to be of any use to patients suffering from respiratory problems, especially something as serious as asthma. What they do not know is that marijuana can still be consumed without being smoked. Cannabis oil can be consumed by using it as an ingredient in recipes, or diffused and inhaled as vapor just like certain types of asthma medication.

There are 2 things that make marijuana work: THC and CBD. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is largely responsible for triggering psychoactive effects and the feeling of getting high, while CBD or cannabidiol is responsible for marijuana's more soothing effects. These 2 compounds are also known as cannabinoids – chemicals unique to the cannabis plant. THC and CBD work because they are very similar to the compounds released by the human body to regulate certain body functions, some of which are related to symptoms associated with asthma.

What can you expect from consuming marijuana if you are someone who is suffering from asthma? As it turns out, the drug provides plenty of benefits that can help make the disease more manageable. Disclaimer: Although marijuana has plenty of benefits that can help in managing asthma, medical experts do not recommend treating the drug as a replacement for conventional asthma medication.

Research And Studies Show That Cannabis May Be Able To Help With Asthma.

1. Pain Relief

One of the worst parts of having asthma is the sharp, burning sensation in the chest that happens before and during an asthma attack. More than half of asthma patients experience this type of chest pain, which can last for up to several hours. People with asthma often have to deal with chest pain by taking in aspirin, but consuming marijuana may also help. This is because studies have shown that marijuana possesses analgesic properties. The cannabinoids in the drug affect the pain receptors found in the central nervous system, reducing (if not completely eliminating) the painful sensation in the chest.

2. Reduced Effects of Allergy

According to statistics, people suffering from asthma are more likely to have some form of allergy that can trigger an asthma attack. An allergic reaction usually causes the air passage to swell up, restricting air flow and causing shortness of breath. Although marijuana hasn't been shown to prevent allergens from triggering an attack, the cannabinoids in the plant can prevent inflammation during an allergy flare-up, basically acting as an anti-inflammatory drug. Since cannabis oil can be inhaled if diffused using a vaporizer, the effects take place quickly enough to prevent an attack from getting worse.

3. Ease of Breathing

During an asthma attack, the bronchioles in the lungs can become too constricted to allow adequate oxygen flow. The lack of oxygen can make you feel lightheaded and weak, and some people suffering from an asthma attack can even lose consciousness because of the lack of air flow. Research has shown that the cannabinoids in marijuana make it an effective bronchodilator, reducing the constriction and restoring oxygen flow to normal levels. In fact, one particular study even shows that marijuana is just as effective as salbutamol, a common type of medicine used for managing asthma.

4. Antibiotic

There is a lot of evidence that support the theory that bacterial infections have a significant effect on the severity and likelihood of asthma attacks. An infection can put a strain on your body's immune system, making you more vulnerable to getting triggered by allergens. Fortunately, evidence shows that the cannabinoids in marijuana have excellent antibiotic properties, especially against certain streptococcus bacteria commonly associated with respiratory infections. In fact, marijuana's antibiotic properties are well-known since the ancient times; Egyptians and other ancient civilizations used the plant to prevent wound infections.

5. Mucolytic Effect

The increased production of mucus is essential in trapping dust particles, bacteria, and other allergens in order to prevent them from triggering asthma attacks. A closer look at ancient Chinese and Indian medicine will show that marijuana has been used as an expectorant. Marijuana users report having increased mucus production after smoking or inhaling marijuana. A recent study backs up these claims, as regular cannabis users have been shown to have higher levels of mucus secretions compared to non-users. Nobody knows how it works, but scientists are convinced that there is an active substance in marijuana that causes its mucolytic effect.

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6. Reduced Bronchial Contractions

Medical researchers believe that involuntary contractions of the bronchi and bronchioles during an asthma attack are similar to muscle spasms. Because the THC in marijuana has been shown to help reduce muscle spasticity, researchers also have a good reason to believe that the drug does more than just act as a bronchodilator when it comes to preventing asthma attacks. While the theory still calls for further research, it may be instrumental in establishing marijuana as an effective anti-asthma drug.

A lot of work still needs to be done when it comes to understanding the role of marijuana in preventing asthma attacks, but it's clear that many people are already having an easier time managing their asthma because of the plant. In the near future, further studies on the drug may lead to doctors including marijuana as part of their prescription for asthma.