Marijuana and Asthma – Can Weed Help?
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A survey by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that 25 million Americans live with asthma . Asthma costs the American economy more than $80 billion in treatment , mortality, and lost work hours. Conventional medicine has not been able to eliminate the condition, and many of the people who have asthma resort to looking for natural ways of managing their conditions.
Some of the people who have asthma only experience mild signs that are easy to manage. There are other people whose asthma is more aggressive. These are usually people who seek alternative treatment methods to supplement their medicine for a more significant effect.
Marijuana has, in the recent past, gained currency as an alternative therapy option, and asthma is one of the diseases for which marijuana has shown some promise managing.
Does Weed Help Asthma?
The typical image most people conjure at the mention of marijuana is that of someone smoking a joint with smoke billowing all over their heads. Asthma would not go very well with smoking marijuana being a condition of the respiratory system.
The discordance between asthma and smoking doesn’t make it impossible to use marijuana for the management of asthma because there are other ways of taking marijuana that are safer than smoking.
We shall discuss those later, but first, let us talk about asthma.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a life-long, usually hereditary disorder of the respiratory system. Once you have been diagnosed with the condition, you have to manage it for the rest of your days. An asthmatic person typically realizes they have the disease in their childhood.
In childhood, boys are more prone to asthmatic attacks than girls. The tables turn in adult-onset asthma, where women are more susceptible to attacks than men. In adulthood, asthma usually manifests when a person is between 18 and 24 years. Under very rare occasions does asthma attack an adult who is above this age for the first time.
Asthmatic attacks come as a result of inflammation of the airways. When the airways get inflamed, they become constricted, and the constriction restrains the flow of air in and out of the affected person’s lungs.
There are many ways that irritants can be introduced into the airway, triggering an asthma attack, or exacerbating the problem. Some of these irritants are as follows: –
- Air pollution
- Allergens such as pollen, animal fur, dust
- Cigarette smoking
- Infections such as cold and flu
- Some people react to specific medication
- Strong emotions such as stress or excitement
When an asthmatic is exposed to these stimulants, their airways get inflamed. The apparent signs of an asthmatic attack include:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness on the chest and chest pains
- Some asthmatics cough in the mornings and evenings even without necessarily experiencing a significant attack.
Depending on the severity of the condition, a person may get attacks several times every day, several times every week, and some people only get attacks if exposed to too much of the triggers that affect them.
The number of asthma cases in the United States has increased steadily since the 1960s. This rise in cases can be attributed to the general increase of allergens in the air. In the last ten years alone, these cases have increased by a steady 15% every year.
Asthma is irritating, frustrating, and limiting. However, it is a condition that you can easily put under control if you are careful about your environment, and you take your medicine as prescribed.
The pharmaceutical drugs used for the treatment of asthma contain steroids and immunomodulators, which, more often than not, have undesirable side effects. These side effects are one of the reasons why some asthmatics seek alternatives such as marijuana for relief.
Marijuana has gained popularity as an alternative treatment for a variety of medical conditions. Can Cannabis help Asthma? Read on to find out