by: Mary Lizz
For most people, the idea of inhaling cannabis to treat the symptoms of asthma is just unheard of. It is the natural knowledge that smoking tobacco is harmful to your health as well as it can worsen the symptoms of asthma. However, it has been discovered that marijuana can in fact, have positive effects on asthma symptoms.
What is Asthma?
Well, asthma is the precarious chronic respiratory disease that results in the difficulty of breathing. In the U.S., asthma has affected approximately 35 million people, claiming the lives of about 4,000 each year. Asthma is typically caused by the inflammation of the bronchial tubes, affecting the chest, as if a tightening was occurring, making it difficult to breathe. This disease has affected a total of around 300 million people worldwide, claiming the lives of 250,000 in 2011.
Asthma is characterized by symptoms which include wheezing, coughing, especially during the night, and shortness of breath. This is usually the result of allergic reactions to the environmental pollutants such as pollen or dander.
How marijuana treats asthma symptoms
It is broadly known that cannabis is a potent anti-inflammatory. Anti-inflammatory medications are the most common treatment among individuals who have asthma. Steroids inhaled via the devices known as inhalers, are short-acting bronchodilators that work to open the airway passages, discharging the coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness caused by asthma.
Many individuals assume that the effects of smoking cannabis and tobacco are identical. Although, the effects marijuana has on the bronchial passages are the opposite of tobacco cigarettes. Some studies show that individuals who suffered from asthma and tend to smoke marijuana on a reasonable basis, mostly improved their lung function, lacking any suffering of lung damage which is commonly associated with tobacco cigarettes.
Medical Advantages of Medical Marijuana use for Asthma
Cannabis as an antispasmodic
Marijuana is a known bronchodilator, in the effect that it decreases resistance in the respiratory airway and increases airflow to the lungs, through its tendency to reduce the inflammation. However, it is also believed that marijuana has a tendency to reduce the muscular spasms, which are the involuntary contractions associated with asthma. This plays a significant role in the management of the bronchoconstriction during an asthma attack.
How cannabis is a bronchial dilator
The tendency of marijuana to act as the bronchial dilator is perhaps its most essential property regarding asthma treatment. During an asthma attack, the bronchioles become constricted, causing ones oxygen rate to be severely reduced.
The extent of the bronchoconstriction during an attack is usually determined by the peak expiratory flow measurements. The measurements are taken from patients and then compared to the readings taken in their normal conditions. Several studies have shown that the administration of marijuana in numerous forms can significantly enhance bronchoconstriction both during the asthma attack and in normal circumstances.
Terpenes in Cannabis that Could Help Asthma
Terpenes are the compounds that typically give the plant its fragrance and flavor. Various levels of terpenes in distinct strains of marijuana are what give it a more natural and fruity smell and taste. Apart from stimulating your senses, a lot of particular terpenes produce therapeutic effects, as well. There are many Terpenes in cannabis, the ones known to help alleviate symptoms of asthma include:
Beta-Myrcene, which is one of the most popular terpenes in marijuana. Its aroma is described as herbal, rooty, balsamic, or spicy. Beta-myrcene helps to ease pain, inflammation and also relaxes the muscles.
Limonene is another popular terpene in cannabis. Its aroma is usually discovered in citrus plants. The Limonene terpene is known to fight tumors and bacterial infections. It also stimulates the immune system and alleviates depression and anxiety.
Beta-caryophyllene. This terpene tends to give off a clove and black pepper taste and smell. Just like many cannabinoids, these terpenes tend to bind naturally to a CB2 receptor, mostly found in the immune system. Beta-caryophyllene is known to be antibacterial and antiseptic, and tends to ease inflammation and nerve pain.
Linalool is commonly used as an ingredient in perfumes due to its pleasant floral aroma. Most often found in lavender, mint, citrus, and birch. It helps to reduce epileptic convulsions, reducing depression and anxiety, and can make SSRI antidepressants more efficient.
Alpha-pinene is usually discovered in pine trees and coniferous plants, proven to help dilate the bronchial tubes and reduce inflammation. It is found that alpha-pinene offers people with asthma a higher success rate at calming asthma attack symptoms by enhancing the air flow to lungs.
Since terpenes have a broad variety of medical benefits, and every terpene has numerous characteristics, there are overlapping synergies that exist between them. For instance, the projecting synergies can result when you combine Beta-myrcene with the THCA for inflammation, which is essential for a person with asthma. Thus, when choosing the perfect strain of marijuana for asthma, you should acknowledge the important role of terpenes and cannabinoids.
What strains have which Terpene?
Well, the presence of specific terpenes depends heavily on the great diversity of the environmental factors such as the flowering time, grow medium, and the curing procedures. Some strains have the genetic potential to give high levels of specific terpenes, but the only way to recognize for sure is via a lab tested product.
It may seem natural for people with asthma to avoid cannabis, but research supports the opposite. Though, additional research is needed to fully discover all the benefits cannabis has to offer, specifically for asthma patients studies do suggest a promising place for cannabis in the treatment of asthma.