As asthma is an inflammatory lung disease, it should not come as a surprise that CBD is often recommended for asthma treatment. CBD has powerful antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties and can offer quick relief from asthma symptoms and reduce the frequency of asthma attacks.
However, asthma is a complex disorder with many subtypes, possible causes, and triggers and what makes the disease even more complicated, is that symptoms often vary throughout the year.
Although prescribed drugs can relieve the symptoms, the side effects associated with asthma medications are many- from a rash, rapid heartbeat, and dizziness to glaucoma, weight gain, and high blood pressure.
This is why more and more people are now preferring to opt for a holistic approach to asthma. One such alternative for treating this condition is CBD.
The trick is to find a good quality CBD product that is extracted from organic Hemp and is third-party tested. The rest the product will pretty much do itself, from reducing the frequency of asthma attacks to relieve asthma-related chest pain, CBD can do it all.
Asthma – A Respiratory Condition or Yet Another Disease of Civilization?
Numerous studies suggest that asthma has become more common in recent years. Although we can generally blame it on the our reckless urban lifestyles, some specific explanations are:
- Increased air pollution
This makes sense but asthma is often more prevalent in under-developed areas than in industrial regions. However, air pollution is definitely an aggressor and a risk factor for asthma-related problems.
- Indoor living
Amidst the energy crisis, most modern homes are built in a way that prevents energy loss. However, what this also means is that air circulation inside such homes is usually poor.
Such environments usually offer ideal conditions for the development of asthma because of the dust mites, mold, pet danders, second-hand cigarette smoke etc in such a place,
Besides, studies show that quite many people who previously lived mostly outdoors move to cities and crowded living quarters, develop asthma.
Not all allergies are the same but life-threatening allergic reactions have doubled in the last ten years, particularly in the developed world.
Most of them are found in children under the age of five. To make things worse, many of those affected by allergies also have asthma because allergies can often trigger and worsen asthma attacks.
There is also a view that just like cancer, stroke, obesity, depression, autoimmune disorders, and diabetes, asthma has become yet another disease of civilization. These are the disease that are caused by the modern environment and lifestyle and that have created conditions that make asthma such a common disorder.
Although the number of infectious diseases has decreased dramatically, indoor living, electromagnetic frequencies, and unhealthy living habits still act as stimuli that elicit the allergic response from our immune system.
There are many types of asthma, with allergic asthma being the most common one. Typical allergens that can trigger it include pollen, dust mites, cold, and pet dander.
Asthma starts in the respiratory airways and is caused by inflammation and swelling that makes lung airways narrow and filled with mucus. As a result, breathing becomes difficult, a person may experience wheezing, coughing, and chest pain. Many children affected by asthma eventually “grow out” of it while many adults develop it later in life.
Asthma is not necessarily a life-threatening condition and many people experience only mild symptoms that they learn to live with, the details of which are mentioned below
Asthma Triggers and Symptoms
As asthma is a chronic condition, most people learn to recognize and avoid the triggers, eg if it’s pollution, you should avoid pollution hotspots such as bus stations, busy roads, etc. If it’s food, you should stay away from foods that trigger it. And if it’s your home environment or personal habits, you should do something about it, eg get rid of dust mites by frequent house cleaning, avoid spending time around people who smoke, avoid jogging, etc.
However, if due to the nature of your work or lifestyle this is not always possible, you should make sure you always carry your inhaler with you.
But, it’s even more important to recognize the warning signs that happen just before an attack. That’s when your asthma symptoms suddenly worsen and you may require immediate medical care.
These symptoms include frequent cough (especially at night), shortness of breath, feeling very weak after exercising, wheezing or coughing during or after exercise, signs of allergies, etc.
Many people with asthma never experience a full-blown attack but if you start getting symptoms three times a week or more, see your GP as soon as possible.
Asthma is usually diagnosed by physical examination or a test that measures the force with which you can exhale air from the lungs and while there are many other asthma tests, you’ll probably be tested for allergies first because of how common they’ve begun and how often they trigger asthma attacks.
The most common allergen asthma triggers include:
- Pet dander
- Grass and trees
Non-allergens asthma triggers include:
- Cold weather
- Strenuous exercise
- Emotional reaction
Prevent Asthma by Keeping Your Lung Healthy
Just like with other chronic conditions, if you live with asthma, your main goal should be to manage the symptoms. To do this, you need to take your lung health seriously.
While there are many prescription medications that you can take to keep asthma attacks under control and ease the symptoms, many of them come with dangerous side effects.
For example, long-term use of preventive inhalers can leave you with a sore throat and oral fungal infections. Besides, some of the medications contain zileuton which can increase the risk of depression and can cause hallucinations.
Although asthma is treatable, you need to know that chronic respiratory diseases, including asthma, are the third leading cause of death. Most of us rarely think about our lungs until we develop a condition.
What we usually forget is that our lungs age and change with time. Just like our joints, they become less flexible and gradually grow weaker and more vulnerable.
Here are 5 rules to follow to keep your lungs healthy well into the old age:
- Don’t smoke (or stop smoking)
Smoking is linked to many lung diseases, including asthma. When you inhale smoke, you take in many different types of toxins. They damage your lungs, increase mucus, and inflame tissues. Over time, your airways narrow down and you find it more and more difficult to breathe.
Smoking, especially chain-smoking, contributes to premature aging of the lungs. The accumulated nicotine, tar, and other chemicals eventually change healthy tissue into cancerous cells. What’s so sad is that most people know and understand all of this and yet still smoke.
Regular physical activity is what can keep your lungs healthy and in good shape (just like the rest of your body). During exercise, your heart beats faster, your lungs have to work harder and in the process, they expel carbon dioxide.
Regular physical activity can help you stay healthy regardless of your age and even if you develop lung disease, exercise will boost your resistance to pathogens, keeping your lungs young!
- Avoid exposure to air pollutants
Even if you don’t have asthma, you should try to stay away from air pollutants. Of course, in this day and age that is not easy but there are many ways of avoiding such exposure. For example, avoid secondhand smoke, try not to go out when air pollution is high, avoid jogging near busy roads, etc.
Of course, avoiding polluted areas is pretty much impossible for some people eg those involved in mining, construction and waste management, etc in which case you should take all possible safety precautions.
- Prevent infections
Taking care of your lungs becomes even more important if you are past your prime because your lungs become more vulnerable to disease as you age. The easiest way to avoid lung infections is to keep your hands clean and avoid touching your face.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated at all times. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables to provide enough nutrients for your immune system to stay healthy.
- Breathing Exercises
Most of us don’t know how to breathe properly. We take shallow breaths and use only a small portion of our lungs. Shallow breaths come from the chest, while deep breaths come from the belly.
Try learning to breathe from your belly by watching it rise and fall as you breathe. If you are familiar with yogic breathing, that will be easy. Deep breathing helps clear the lungs because it makes a full oxygen exchange possible.
Learning to breathe deeply is very easy. Sit quietly and breathe slowly through your nose (count to 4), then exhale twice as slowly through your mouth (count to 8). Deep breathing is one of the easiest ways to destress and feel more relaxed.
Holistic Approach to Asthma
Asthma is not always easy to diagnose, partly because there are many symptoms and partly because these may vary from person to person and throughout the year, eg pollen and the cold weather do not last the entire year.
As people become better informed, they realize that the quick relief that conventional drugs offer often comes with serious side effects and so they turn to holistic medicine.
When it comes to asthma treatments, the holistic approach usually revolves around avoiding triggers, improving the physical condition of the lungs, and taking nutritional supplements.
4 natural treatments for asthma:
- Reduce exposure to triggers
The first thing to do is to find out what triggers your asthma. Most of the time it is some kind of allergen, so find out what you might be allergic to. The next step is working on how to avoid or reduce exposure to those triggers.
This may be as simple as avoiding certain foods or as complicating as installing air filters in your home, office, and car or choosing ionization units for low ozone output.
- Reduce sensitivity and spasticity of the airways of the lungs
You can achieve this by taking magnesium supplements as they successfully relieve muscle spasms, including those around the airways of the lungs. Green tea and Lobelia herbs are also effective bronchodilators.
- Balance the allergic/inflammatory pathways in the body
You can significantly reduce the risk of developing asthma by taking Omega-3 supplements or foods (fish and flaxseed). Stay away from processed foods that contain colour and taste additives.
Certain medications, eg aspirin, ibuprofen, and other anti-inflammatory drugs may also trigger an asthma attack.
- Correct nutrient imbalances
Nutrients that can help fight asthma include vitamin C, B6, and B12 as well as minerals selenium and molybdenum. Vitamin C is particularly important and vitamin B12 and molybdenum make you more resistant to additives found in restaurant food that may trigger asthma.
Besides, it turns out that many people with asthma don’t produce enough stomach acid which often leads to food allergies. This condition can be improved by taking hydrochloric acid supplements.
Healing with Cannabinoids
Ever since the use of medicinal marijuana was legalized in June 2018, more and more holistic practioners have been vouching for it for treating pain, wounds, anxiety and depression, nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, skin conditions, high blood pressure, addiction, diabetes, as well as asthma.
According to the Permanente Journal, the Cannabis sativa plant contains more than 80 chemicals known as cannabinoids, the most abundant of which are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD.
While CBD is prized for its health benefits, THC is mostly well-known for its ability to get you “high”. Although both CBD and THC have therapeutic effects, THC is illegal due to its psychoactive properties.
Unfortunately, the CBD market is still not regulated and there is no clear guidance for CBD manufacturers. You may find dozens of CBD brands available on the market today but only the organic, full-spectrum, cold-pressed CBD oil should be used for medicinal purposes.
CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant and diluting it with a carrier oil, eg coconut, hemp seed, or olive oil. Watch out for CBD products that are not third-party tested or do not have a clear ingredient label because that usually means that the product is of very low-quality and may even contain dangerous contaminants and toxins.
CBD and Asthma
Asthma is a respiratory condition that occurs when airways become inflamed and narrowed, causing wheezing, coughing, and chest pain. To treat asthma, you have to open up the airways which is usually achieved with an inhaler. However, this offers only short-term relief unless you’re using a steroid-based inhaler.
Fortunately, numerous studies suggest that CBD may just be the miracle drug that asthma sufferers have been waiting for.
Although prevention is better than cure, there are times when healthy living habits are not enough, and treatment becomes necessary. So far, there is no cure for asthma but it is believed that CBD can offer long-term relief by reducing the frequency of asthma attacks.
So, how does CBD relieve asthma symptoms? Well partly by reducing mucus production and partly by acting as an immune modulator that relieves many symptoms of allergies.
3 ways CBD oil provides asthma relief:
- Provides anti-inflammatory benefits
Inflammation in the lungs is one of the main causes of asthma attacks. When airways become inflamed, you often end up with muscle spasm and too much mucus. This is potentially very dangerous because clogged airways full of mucus make breathing very difficult.
However, a recent study found that CBD oil not only reduces inflammation but also helps lungs recover from allergy-triggered asthma.
- Has antispasmodic effect
During an asthma attack, the muscles in your lungs contract which causes wheezing. CBD can reduce muscle spasms and open airways.
- Reduces asthma drug-induced anxiety
Most asthma medications contain certain stimulants. Although these are effective bronchodilators, they, on the other hand, cause or increase anxiety. As anxiety has become a common condition, this means that asthma patients’ quality of life is particularly at risk.
Fortunately, CBD has anxiolytic (ie anti-anxiety) properties and can reduce the anxiety triggered by medication if used alongside conventional therapies.
CBD vs Conventional Asthma Treatments
Conventional asthma medication comes with short-term or long-term effects. Although rescue inhalers and nebulizers are considered safe, long-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids can have many negative side effects. This is why these should only be used as a short-term remedy.
Home remedies are often recommended as part of conventional asthma treatments. These include essential oils, caffeinated drinks, and mustard oil (as an ointment).
As CBD is still in the research phase, there are not many studies regarding its effect on chronic conditions. However, what we do know so far clearly indicates that CBD can help reduce anxiety, inflammation, and muscle spasticity induced by conventional medications. CBD is safe to use even in high doses of 1,500 mg per day.
CBD oil can be used in many different ways but if you suffer from asthma you shouldn’t use CBD products that involve inhalation. If you have asthma and you smoke or vape CBD, you risk developing a large air sac growth in the airways and other lung cavities.
How Safe is CBD?
CBD oil comes from industrial hemp plants that contain small amounts of THC – the ingredient in the marijuana plant that can get you “high.” These THC amounts are very low and have no psychoactive effects.
CBD is perfectly safe to use although some people may experience mild side effects. These include dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue, but even these are rare. The only serious side effect is that CBD may not interact well with some medications you may be on, eg blood thinners, antidepressants etc.
As a rule of thumb, you should not take CBD if you are on medication that has a “grapefruit warning” on the label. This warning means that you should not consume grapefruit or grapefruit juice if taking that particular medication.
If on chronic medication, talk to your doctor before you start taking CBD.
However, the main concern regarding CBD oil is the purity of CBD products. Although the CBD business is booming, many of the available products are of very low quality.
One should be particularly careful when buying CBD online as a recent survey showed that many of the products contain less CBD than indicated on the label or contain THC although the information on the label states they don’t, so as we mentioned before, buy from well-reputed brands who don’t hide their ingredient labels and get their products third-party tested.
Can CBD Oil Be an Alternative for Asthma Medicines?
Asthma is a chronic condition that can easily be lived-with if managed properly. However, if left untreated, it can become life-threatening.
As there is no cure for asthma, treatments revolve around reducing the symptoms and preventing attacks. Conventional treatments include inhalers, pills, steroids, and injections.
Unfortunately, although usually very effective, conventional therapies come with many side effects. This is why more and more asthma patients are keen to explore alternative ways of healing.
CBD products are a safe alternative and come with no side effects. Besides, CBD can also be combined with conventional asthma medication.
Ideally, CBD used for healing should be produced from full-spectrum, organic, pesticide-free, and non-GMO hemp.
3 Cannabinoid Spectrums You Should Know About:
Full-spectrum CBD is made using the entire plant. These products contain all the compounds available in Hemp (eg cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals). Combined, they significantly increase the efficacy of CBD oil products. These products may also contain varying amounts of THC.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil is very similar to the full-spectrum CBD but it does not contain any THC.
Isolate is a pure CBD that has been separated from other compounds. It is usually odourless and flavourless.
What spectrum you decide you use is up to you however you must use the right dosage which may depend on several factors, eg your body weight, your metabolism, the type of asthma you have, the intensity of your asthma symptoms, your overall health, if you are taking other medication, etc.