Asthma is a condition where one’s airways will constrict, swell, and produce extra mucus to the point that breathing is difficult. CBD benefits for asthma have been researched for years, and the results are solid.
Asthma is dangerous, even life threatening, because most patients with asthma have it their entire life. Furthermore, asthma cannot be cured.
CBD for asthma is inevitable in the evolution of medicine. We all remember watching those movies or shows where children may be playing on a playground, and one of them begins having difficulty breathing and collapses. The child was experiencing an asthma attack. They rapidly grab their inhaler out of their pocket and a near death is avoided.
Diseases characterized by a hypersensitivity to certain allergies are called atopic diseases. There are three of these such diseases: eczema, rhinoconjunctivitis, and asthma. CBD cannot be a substitute for an inhaler to stop an asthma attack, as it is not as potent as a steroid, but what about CBD treatment for chronic asthma to help prevent the altering of the airways and the inflammation that can lead up to an asthma attack?
According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 12 people had asthma in 2009, compared to 1 in 14 people in 2001. This lifelong disease is serious, and its prevalence is increasing. In 2008, half of all asthmatic people reported experiencing asthma attacks in their lives. The cause of asthma is not yet known, but it is speculated that environmental factors can trigger this condition if a person is genetically predisposed for asthma, meaning they do not have it per say, but if certain events occur in their surroundings-like allergens or irritants filling their lungs, they could develop the condition.
Asthma is a respiratory condition with the following symptoms: shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, trouble sleeping, coughing or wheezing(whistling sound when exhaling.
This is how an attack may happen. A person or child- with asthma- may breath in irritants, like pollen, smoke, or dandruff, and this results in an overactive immune response. The body moves quickly to combat these irritants by inflaming the airways- making them smaller in the process- and this means less oxygen reaching the lungs. Breathing becomes difficult, and the attack will hopefully pass or be fixed with an albuterol inhaler.
Cannabinoid System of the Lungs
First off, CBD binds to CB receptors. CBD is the key and the CB receptors are like locks to your home. Molecules, or keys, that don’t look like CBD will probably not be able to open up the front door. The science is a bit more complicated but now you have the right idea. Research has shown that cannabinoid receptors are all over the body. Our bodies naturally produce cannabinoids to fight off inflammation. Makes sense so far. Medication wasn’t always around so our bodies improvised.
Now, along our airways and in our lungs we have cannabinoid receptors such as CB1 and CB2 on the cells. And, because asthma is associated with chronic inflammation, or inflammation for more than 3 months, CBD can work since binding of the CB2 receptor opens up the front door! But, how? Here are a couple of ways.
CBD will help your bodies natural cannabinoid, anandamide(try saying that three times fast), bind to the CB2 receptor. CBD could also bind to white blood cells which produce a tiny alarm molecule called an antibody, which contributes a lot to the overreaction that leads to an asthma attack.
Diagnosis that leads to Asthma
A physician will look for these symptoms : shortness of breath(SoB), chest tightness or pain, trouble sleeping, coughing or wheezing upon exhalation. Then they will perform a physical exam and rule out other possible conditions such as bronchitis, or respiratory infections. A doctor may order a Spirometry test which measures lung function by checking how much air you can breathe out and how fast you can breathe it out.
A physician will give an inhaler which helps open up your airways and relax your lungs after the initial results of these tests. Why? Well if the readings for the lung function tests improve substantially then the patient may have asthma because the inhaler worked for them.
CBD Treatment For Asthma
Acute manifestations of asthma are usually dealt with bronchodilator therapy – lung opening and relaxing therapy- the go to option for physicians.
However, in recent years, chronic inflammation has been difficult to combat – asthma has changed the battle – it has altered patients airways; this is called airway remodeling by medical professionals. This remodeling of the airways leads to increased hyperresponsiveness of the bronchioles.
Patients who are given anti-inflammatory drugs and inhalers, by their physician, may wait weeks for their bodies to adapt to the therapy, and for some the therapy will prove a failure or incomplete. The chronic inflammation induced airway remodeling produces a problem. What if anti-inflammatory pills don’t work?
Using CBD for Asthma
In 2015, Francieli Vuolo and company evaluated the role of cannabidiol in the treatment of asthma in an animal model. They acknowledged that because T-helper cells are found in the lungs of asthmatic patients and because these cells produce cytokines- that control the synthesis of antibodies- they must have a central role to the onset of inflammation. Francieli Vuolo and company induced asthma in adult male Wistar rats(8 weeks old) with the use of 2% OVA (chicken oval albumin) in 100 microliters of aluminum hydroxide. The results were that CBD treatment decreased the levels of four types of antibodies(IL-4/5/6/13) in the rats.