According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a total of 24.6 million Americans (including 6.2 million children (aged 0-17 years)) have asthma. One of the most worrying aspects of the condition is its rapid increase. In 2001, 20 million people had asthma. Even allowing for the growth in population, the total percentage of people with asthma has grown from 7% in 2001 to almost 8% in 2017.
Even though Asthma isn’t classed as a debilitating condition, it can often be a nightmare to live with. Traditional treatment can help, but in recent years cannabis has been adopted by many asthma suffers as it helps to treat and even prevent asthma attacks.
Sounds amazing, right? Well before you rush out, buy some bud and roll up a joint, continue reading as not every form of cannabis consumption is best for asthma sufferers.
What is Asthma?
If you have asthma, it means you suffer from a chronic disease of the airways that makes it difficult for you to breathe. It involves inflammation of the air passages that lead to the temporary narrowing of airways that carries oxygen to your lungs. It is a very serious condition that leads to approximately two million hospital visits per year in the United States alone.
Here are the three well-known features of asthma.
1 – Obstruction of Airways
When we breathe normally, the bands of muscle around the airways are relaxed which allows air to move easily. If you have asthma, things such as environmental triggers, colds, and substances that cause allergies tighten the bands of muscle around the airways which prevents air from moving freely.
As a consequence, you feel short of breath, and as the air moves through the tightened airways, it causes a wheezing sound.
2 – Inflammation
Asthma sufferers have swollen and red bronchial tubes. Unfortunately, this inflammation probably leads to the long-term lung damage that is associated with asthma.
3 – Airway Irritability
If you have asthma, your airways are incredibly sensitive and will overreact and narrow when faced with triggers such as fumes, dust, and pollen.
What Are The Symptoms For Asthma?
There are various asthma symptoms including:
- Frequent coughing spells which may happen when laughing or exercising.
- Less energy during activities or pausing to catch your breath.
- Tightening or pain in your chest.
- A feeling of weakness or tiredness.
There are numerous ways that asthma is triggered. As you have sensitive airways, contact with ‘triggers’ cause symptoms to get worse. These triggers include:
- Changes in temperature and/or humidity.
- Strong emotions such as laughing, crying or stress.
- Inhalation of smoke
- Certain medications such as aspirin
- Allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and mold spores
- Infections such as cold or flu
It is also common to have asthma attacks which consist of a sudden worsening of symptoms. During an asthma attack, your airways swell up, tighten or fill with mucus. Symptoms of asthma attacks include:
- A coughing fit, especially during the night
- Trouble breathing
- Chest pressure, pain or tightness
What Are The Traditional Remedies For Asthma (Not Cannabis Related)?
Unfortunately, asthma is a long-term condition, and at present, there is no permanent cure. When it comes to treatment, the goal is to ‘control’ the condition which involves:
- Preventing chronic issues such as coughing fits.
- Reducing reliance on quick-relief medication.
- Enabling you to sleep through the night and maintaining your existing activity level.
- Preventing serious asthma attacks that require immediate medical attention.
Asthma management involves discovering your triggers and avoiding them. In terms of medication, patients receive:
Inhaled Corticosteroids: You receive an inhaler which is designed to be used when you feel any symptoms. It releases corticosteroids designed to counteract swelling and inflammation.
Other Long-Term Medicines: Common medication includes Omalizumab and Cromolyn.
Quick-Relief Medication: This is medicine for when you need something fast acting when asthma symptoms are coming on strong. The most popular choice is short-acting beta2-agonists.
Medical Research on Marijuana for Asthma
Studies on the benefits of marijuana for asthma sufferers go back to the 1970s and determined that the THC in cannabis had a bronchodilatory effect. The most important thing to remember is that asthma is known as a chronic inflammatory disease while cannabis is becoming known for its anti-inflammatory effects.
A 1973 study by Vachon et al. found that the THC found in marijuana was capable of dilating respiratory passages and inhibiting coughing. Remarkably, when smoked, marijuana could expand the bronchial passageways; compare this to tobacco smoking with restricts the passageways.
A study by Pletcher et al., published in 2012 showed that moderate cannabis smokers with asthma improved their lung function and did not suffer the same lung damage as smokers. The remarkable thing about the study is that was conducted over a 20 year period!
A Better Way for Asthma Sufferers to Use Marijuana
Although there is seemingly merit in smoking marijuana to help with asthma, it is much better to consume the cannabis differently. As the most common way to treat asthma is through inhalers, it makes sense to utilize a cannabis vaporizer. A vaporizer is a safer alternative to smoking and is far more convenient. You can carry it with you and inhale on the go.
With vaporizing, you benefit from optimal cannabinoid release in the body which makes it ideal as a method of combating attacks. While edibles work well, they are not reliable when facing an attack. When you vaporize CBD oil, it isn’t harsh on the throat or lungs, and you receive the highest possible concentration.
Please note, you won’t be able to use more than 200mg of oil at one time or else it will turn into vapor. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best marijuana strains; make sure your oil comes from these marijuana types.
Top 5 Marijuana Strains For Asthma
1 – Dynamite Marijuana Strain
We recommend the purple and pink buds of Dynamite because they have the highest indica content. With a THC content of 24%, it provides your body with a euphoric effect followed by a sense of calm which is ideal for dealing with stress and anxiety.
2 – Afghan Kush (Indica Marijuana Strain)
Also known as Afghan OG, this marijuana strain contains 21% THC and 6% CBD. It is an indica marijuana strain, and its effects last up to 3 hours. Afghan Kush offers a bland yet fruity taste, and as it doesn’t provide a harsh aftertaste, it is ideal for people living with asthma.
3 – Amnesia Haze (Sativa Marijuana Strain)
This Sativa dominant marijuana strain (80%) is ideal for daytime use even though its THC level is 22%. Amensia Haze works well for asthma users and individuals suffering from anxiety or depression.
4 – Cheese (Marijuana Strain)
This marijuana strain is actually farmed in the UK and is excellent when it comes to overcoming body aches and anxiety disorders. Cheese is a strong marijuana strain and could cause mild side effects in beginners, but these usually wear off within a few hours.
5 – Trainwreck (Sativa Dominant Marijuana Strain)
This strain is another Sativa dominant option (80%) and gets its name because it will hit you like a train shortly after taking it! It is a combination of Mexican and Thai sativas and an Afghan indica which gives you a seriously mellow body high. Trainwreck is used to treat stress, insomnia, and anxiety so it can help you sleep through nights where you’re normally awake due to coughing fits.
Final Thoughts on Marijuana Treatment for Asthma
By decreasing inflammation and opening up the bronchial tubes, marijuana is potentially effective treatment for asthma. We recommend using CBD oils in a vaporizer and don’t believe that smoking is the best way to consume marijuana when you have asthma.