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How Cannabis Oil Helps Asthma Sufferers Breathe Better

Marijuana or cannabis for medical use is increasingly becoming accepted in many countries around the world. The country is still on the infancy stage in terms of extensive and academically accepted studies that solidify marijuana’s medical benefits. However, well-reported anecdotes are compelling enough for many medical practitioners to recognize the healing properties of cannabis.

Word-of-mouth among patients is also more widespread, generating increasing demand for medical marijuana. Cannabis is believed to be effective for a wide range of illnesses, from chronic pain and insomnia to cancer and heart disease. One chronic condition that medical cannabis has been found to effectively address is asthma. Medical marijuana products such as cannabis oil for asthma is highly sought after these days because it helps relieve the symptoms of the disease.

The Burden of Asthma

Asthma is defined as a chronic or long-term disease of the lungs, where they become inflamed. The airways are constricted, and thus produce the commonly known wheezing or whistling sound when a patient breathes. Asthma also produces a feeling of tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, and frequent coughing.

People may already have asthma but not be aware of it. In the United States alone, it is believed that as many as 25 million individuals have this condition, and nearly 7 million of them are children. However, asthma can afflict any person at any age or stage of life. There are those who “outgrow” asthma and its symptoms. For some, asthma symptoms may be mild and might resolve on their own with minimal medication. But for many, they suffer from difficulty of breathing for the rest of their lives.

Symptoms of acute asthma attacks are usually treated with oral or intravenous corticosteroids, which work to immediately stop the inflammation and constriction of the airways. However, such steroids are not indicated for frequent and long-term use because of undesirable side effects. Drugs called bronchodilators are also given, along with short-acting beta antagonists which are dispensed using inhalers or nebulizers.

For long-term management of chronic asthma, inhaled corticosteroids are prescribed. Steroids, when inhaled, are generally safe for long-term use and have fewer side effects. Some inhalers combine long-acting beta antagonists with corticosteroids to achieve better asthma management. Leukotriene modifiers in oral medication form also help relieve asthma symptoms for up to 24 hours.

Marijuana and Asthma

Keep in mind that unfortunately, asthma has no real cure. Only its symptoms can be treated, and its exacerbation can be managed. It never goes away, but is rather dormant and may flare up when stimulated by allergens, stress, air pollutants, and other factors. The ultimate goal is for those afflicted with asthma to lead normal, productive lives, and this is the reason why medical marijuana or cannabis holds much potential.

Cannabis being a natural substance from plants is thought to be a better alternative to pharmaceutical drugs and steroids. Long-term use of the latter leads to undesirable and risky effects such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and potential changes in mood and behavior. Medical cannabis, meanwhile, provides the same anti-inflammatory and bronchodilatory action, reportedly with less to no side effects.

Additionally, cannabis brings a host of other related benefits that may enhance the overall physical condition of asthma sufferers. While asthma is not generally characterized by symptoms of pain, the analgesic effect of cannabis provides general relief for whatever physical discomfort or malaise that a patient may feel. Cannabis also has strong and effective antibiotic properties, which may help clear any respiratory infection related to the asthma or allergy attack.

What makes cannabis particularly effective in treating asthma is its anti-spasmodic properties, which complements its bronchodilatory action. Cannabis reduces the involuntary contraction or spasm of muscles in the bronchi and bronchioles of the lungs, which provides enhanced comfort and relief. Additionally, cannabis has been traditionally known as an expectorant. In fact, it has been found as a component of cough medicine since the ancient times in India and China. Again, this is an additional action that helps provide relief to asthma patients.

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

Understanding Cannabis

Just what makes marijuana or cannabis special? The important part or component of the marijuana plant is the chemical compound cannabinoid found in its flower buds and glands. This chemical interacts with the natural cannabinoid receptors in the cells of the human body, which comprise the human endocannabinoid system or ECS. This is believed to control the neurotransmitter activity of the brain as well as the peripheral nervous system, affecting bodily processes such as appetite, mood, memory, pain, and the like.

This is the reason why taking cannabis has such as large and palpable impact on the human body. Any lack or imbalance in the natural cannabinoids of the human ECS is enhanced by the introduction of cannabinoids from the marijuana plant. Such cannabinoids from plant sources are called phytocannabinoids. Cannabinoids play such a huge role that scientists have also come up with synthetic cannabinoids, which are used in pharmaceutical drugs.

The astounding fact is that there are more than a hundred types of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Those of interest for medical purposes are mainly tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The former is the psychoactive component responsible for what is commonly known by laypeople as the “high” caused by recreational use of marijuana. CBD, meanwhile, is more sought after for its therapeutic and curative effects. However, the ideal formulation for medical purposes is a balance between these two components.

Medical Cannabis Intake

Patients suffering from ailments and conditions such as asthma have various options in terms of consuming or taking in medical cannabis. Each method has its pros and cons, and thus must be considered carefully. Users should also keep in mind that rules regarding medical marijuana purchase, possession, and use vary from state to state.

In general, the dried flowers of the cannabis plant can be smoked in the traditional way—wrapped or rolled up in paper, or burned in a pipe or “bong.” Obviously, this method should not be used by asthma sufferers as it can trigger asthma attacks. Smoking, marijuana or otherwise, can also have long term adverse effects to the body.

Popular handheld vaporizers or “vape” devices can also be used by instilling liquid cannabis extract. Tinctures and oils are other types of liquid cannabis, which are popular for the ease of use and versatility. They can be ingested as is, or applied under the tongue (sublingual application).  Cannabis oil can also be incorporated into topical ointments, creams, salves, lotions, etc.

Just like traditional pharmaceutical drugs, medical cannabis can also be manufactured in pill and tablet form. They can also come in patches and suppositories. Finally, medical cannabis can be eaten just like any other ordinary foodstuff, when mixed in beverages such as teas or treats such as brownies. Cannabis oil can be infused in more formal, gourmet dishes such as salads and soups.

For medical users, the most important characteristic of cannabis to note is that heat is what activates its psychoactive THC component. This is why smoking cannabis produces such an effect. Liquid cannabis when ingested in food is also one of the most efficient and potent ways of introducing cannabinoids into the body, since it is absorbed directly into the liver. It takes a long time for the effects of ingested cannabis to wear off.

Cannabis Oil for Asthma

Among the many cannabis products available today, one of the most preferred forms is cannabis oil. It is also known as Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), Phoenix tears, or “milagro” oil. Since cannabis oil is most often used for medicinal or therapeutic purposes, it is also called CBD oil to denote the concentration of the curative cannabinoid as opposed to the psychoactive THC.

How is cannabis oil produced? Cannabis flowers and buds (where the cannabinoids are richly found) are cooked using a solvent (usually alcohol), and the thick sticky resin is collected. This potent, highly concentrated liquid is effective in providing an immediate dose of cannabis for acute medical needs such as pain or asthma attack. In liquid form, cannabis is also easier to calibrate and dispense properly.

Cannabis resin is actually composed of fats or lipids, and as such, its cannabinoids are similarly soluble in fat. Sometimes, olive oil or coconut oil is used as a carrier for liquid cannabis concoctions, so that the cannabinoids are absorbed into the body in a faster way. Raw cannabis oil, where THC is found in its primary acid form (known as THC acid), is not psychoactive. It is considered the highest quality of cannabis oil. It is highly sought after because it the resin is extracted without using heat, and such process is quite difficult to achieve.

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Smoking Cannabis and Asthma

There is quite a lot of discussion revolving around the method of smoking cannabis in treating asthma. Rightfully, it seems counterintuitive because smoking generally irritates the lungs and may cause further exacerbation of asthma. That is why a lot of asthma patients are favoring liquid cannabis in forms such as cannabis oil in treating their condition. Such liquids can be vaporized in handheld devices to deliver bronchodilation and anti-inflammatory action without the harmful effects of smoke.

Cannabis oils can also be incorporated in daily meals, which helps institutionalize long-term treatment in a convenient and pleasurable manner. Cannabis oil can deliver positive effects in a faster and more potent way, especially during acute asthma attacks when the patient is unable to breathe due to extreme inflammation of the airways.

What to Look for in Cannabis Oil

Just as cannabis oil is one of the most popular and preferred methods of consuming medical marijuana, so must buyers beware of the quality of the cannabis oil they find in the market. Because it is in high demand, some unscrupulous manufacturers come up with cannabis oil that may be questionable in terms of quality and efficacy.

As mentioned earlier, alcohol or ethanol is commonly acceptable in distilling cannabis oil. The most ideal method utilizes CO2, but this process is specialized and quite expensive so it is very difficult to come by cannabis oil produced this way. What buyers need to look out for is cannabis oil manufactured using butane and naptha as solvents. These substances are extremely dangerous and carcinogenic, and will obviously complicate one’s health problems instead of solving them.

The quality and efficacy of a cannabis oil product can be determined by its purity, which is in turn achieved by using only the best cannabis flowers and plant components. They should be free from contaminants such as bacteria, mold, insects, dust, or other impurities that may result from storage or handling. A big trend nowadays is toward organic cannabis, which is a great way to ensure that the resulting cannabis oil is free from chemicals and pesticides. Naturally, marijuana plants that have been sprayed with insecticides will end up absorbing them and passing them into the derived extracts and oils.

Finally, buyers should be able to discriminate between cannabis oil and hemp oil. While each has their own distinct properties and benefits, cannabis oil is not quite the same as hemp oil. The former is made directly from cannabis buds and flowers, while the latter is made from pressing hemp seeds that are grown and produced intentionally as food-grade products. Hemp oil similarly possesses important fatty acids that positively impact the human endocannabinoid system, but it does not have the same potent cannabinoids as pure cannabis oil. 

Cannabis Oil: the Right Treatment?

Asthma is a debilitating condition that can even lead to death. Patients suffering from it understandably seek an efficient and effective long-term treatment that can help them lead more comfortable daily lives. For those thinking about medical cannabis treatment for asthma, be sure to consult a doctor or healthcare practitioner for proper guidance. Cannabis products such as cannabis oil may be recommended in conjunction with existing pharmaceutical treatments or other regimen.

Cannabis is truly exciting for all the promise that it brings, but it is best utilized with the right information and knowledge at hand. As with any other type of drug or treatment, proper monitoring and use is necessary in order to prevent any adverse effects. In the long run, when consumed properly, medical cannabis may prove to be the “miracle cure” that asthma suffers are seeking.