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Asthma and CBD Oil: Can It Help You Breathe Easier?

Affecting 1 in 13 Americans, asthma is a very common illness in both adults and children. The good news for asthma sufferers is that CBD oil may be able to help.

With powerful anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, CBD oil could decrease the frequency of asthma attacks, allowing asthma sufferers to breathe easily.

The information contained in this page is meant to serve as an educational tool and should not be substituted for medical advice. CBD oil is not a substitution for current asthma treatment but may provide a useful tool as a preventative measure to reduce attacks.

Benefits of Using CBD Oil for Asthma

Asthma is an inflammatory condition that results in the narrowing of airways, impeding the transfer of oxygen to the lungs. The bronchial tubes that allow for the transfer of oxygen become inflamed and swollen. As a result, an asthma sufferer may experience wheezing, shortness of breath, and difficulty filling the lungs properly.  Asthma attacks have a wide variety of triggers, making it a difficult condition to manage.

Fortunately, CBD oil may be able to reduce and prevent asthma attacks; its natural anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties make cannabidiol a good candidate for managing asthmatic symptoms.

CBD Oil as an Anti-Inflammatory

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease, which causes patients to have persistent low-level inflammation of their bronchial tubes, even when they are not experiencing any obvious symptoms. During an attack, this inflammation is exacerbated, resulting in constricted airways and difficulty breathing.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has a number of effects on the body, the most significant is its impact on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS has a number of cannabinoid receptors known as CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD most significantly impacts the CB2 receptor, which plays a key role in managing inflammation.

In 2015, a study was conducted into the role of CBD as a treatment for asthma. While the study was performed on animal subjects and not humans, the study did conclude that CBD appeared to be a “potential new drug to modulate the inflammatory response in asthma.”

In another animal study, CBD reduced airway inflammation and fibrosis in test subjects experiencing an allergic asthmatic response. While more research is needed, CBD oil’s ability to reduce inflammation as it pertains to asthma specifically is promising.

CBD Oil as an Antispasmodic

During an asthma attack, the bronchi and bronchioles are affected by spasms, contracting the muscles of the diaphragm, intercostal muscles and abdominal muscles that are involved in breathing. and making breathing difficult. CBD has been shown to provide relief from muscle spasms, as evidenced by its uses in treating epilepsy. However, the antispasmodic effect of CBD could help with spasms in the lung is very speculative. The mechanism is likely very different.

CBD oil has gained popularity for treating many conditions that involve spasms or tremors, including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Effectiveness of Using CBD Oil to Treat Asthma

The effectiveness of using CBD oil to treat asthma is currently being examined. The laboratory studies mentioned above indicate a great deal of potential.

In addition to those studies, research has been conducted into the role cytokines play in asthma. Cytokines are small proteins released by immune cells that influence inflammatory responses.  A 2015 study found that the levels of six cytokines increased when asthma was induced in rat test subjects.

These proteins were divided into two different response profiles, Th1 and Th2. When CBD was introduced, the levels of Th1 cytokines and Th2 cytokines decreased. Not only did this result in a drop in inflammation, but it also led to a decrease in mucus production, a major exacerbating factor for asthma. The study went so far as to say “Because of its beneficial effects in several pathologies and low toxicity in humans and other species, CBD represents a promising candidate for asthma treatment.”

Unfortunately, scientific research on the use of CBD oil for asthma in humans is limited. This is why the biotech company CIITECH has funded human studies at the Multidisciplinary Center on Cannabinoid Research of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The first of its kind, this study hopes to determine if CBD oil can serve as an effective treatment for humans with asthma.

How to Use CBD Oil to Treat Asthma

There are a few things you need to consider before turning to CBD oil to manage asthma symptoms.

Before you purchase any CBD oil products, you should check to make sure that doing so is legal in your state. While the production, transportation, and sale of hemp-derived CBD oil is legal on a federal level, the final say in its legal availability has been left up to the states. Once you learn the legal status of CBD oil in your state, you can proceed with incorporating it into your asthma treatment regimen.

If you are currently managing asthma with corticosteroids, it is worth noting that CBD oil can impact the cytochrome P-450 enzyme system, causing a potential drug interaction. CBD oil inhibits the P-450 pathway, which could elongate the processing time for certain medications, like steroids, that are also broken down by the CYP-450 system.

Having the active ingredient in corticosteroids present in your body for longer periods of time increases the chances you’ll feel the medication’s side effects. So, before beginning any treatment with CBD oil, talk to your doctor to make sure you supplement safely. You might also consider speaking with a naturopathic doctor who specializes in using CBD to treat medical conditions.

Choosing a CBD Delivery Method

When you’re sure CBD oil won’t negatively interact with your current asthma medications, the next thing you’ll need to consider is the delivery format.

For people with asthma, smoking a high-CBD cannabis flower may actually make things worse. Smoking can trigger an allergic asthmatic response, causing inflammation and possibly an asthma attack.

Having said that, CBD oil vape products can be effective for their quickness to take effect; of all the cannabidiol delivery methods, CBD vapes yield the fastest results. Vaping CBD oil delivers CBD directly to the lungs without having to pass through the digestive system, providing anti-inflammatory benefits within a matter of minutes. Speed, of course, is critical when breathing is impeded.

But one of the biggest keys to managing asthma is prevention. In order to prevent asthma attacks, consistently reducing inflammation is important. Using CBD oil drops, capsules, or edibles can help achieve this. These CBD products can easily be worked into a daily supplement routine, making them one of the best ways to get a regular dose.

Unlike vape oils, CBD oil capsules and edibles can take some time to show effects. They must pass through the digestive system, and so their timing can be influenced by both metabolism and the amount of food already in your stomach. Though it may take longer for their effects to set in, you’ll likely feel the benefits of CBD for the longest amount of time if taken via edible or capsule, meaning you’ll probably only need one or two doses throughout the day. If you’re looking for a delivery method that’s convenient and low-profile, edibles or capsules are the way to go.

CBD oil drops or tinctures work more quickly than capsules and edibles but not as quickly as vape oils. The biggest benefit to CBD oil drops is the ability to control and adjust the dosage. If symptoms appear, or an individual anticipates breathing difficulties caused by external factors like extreme heat or smog for example, it may make sense to increase the dose temporarily. Drops and tinctures provide a nice middle ground between preventative and on-the-spot care when it comes to managing asthma symptoms.

CBD Oil Dosage

When it comes to finding the best dose of CBD oil for asthma, it may take some experimentation. The effects of CBD oil can be affected by age, weight, and metabolism. Simply put, there is no universal recommended dose for CBD oil. With minimal side effects and no risk for overdose, trial and error can be attempted without too many risks.

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, it is best to start with the lowest recommended dose for any CBD oil product. If this is not enough to produce results, the dosage can be increased slowly over time.

To better understand dosage, check out our dosage guide here.

Best CBD Oils for Asthma

Shopping for the best CBD oils to manage asthma is easier than you might imagine. Once you have decided on your chosen delivery format (e.g. capsule, drops, vape),  you can choose which CBD oil brand you’ll buy from.

The key to buying high-quality CBD oil is knowing what’s inside. Reputable and trustworthy brands will use organically grown hemp and third-party lab test their yield to ensure purity and potency. Look for Certificates of Analysis. These certificates will tell you exactly what is in the CBD product, showing you both the cannabinoid content and any potential contaminants.

Reading this analysis will also tell you how much THC is in the product. If you live in a state where recreational and medicinal marijuana is legal, then it is possible to purchase CBD oil with more than 0.3%; but if you don’t, you will want to be sure that any CBD oil you buy fits the legal requirements.

Transparent brands are brands you can trust. If a brand does not post Certificates of Analysis online, reach out and ask to see one before you make a purchase. If they do not provide one, you know to shop elsewhere.

For guidance on where to start, check out the CBD oil brands we rated with four and five stars.  These companies hit the mark on quality, safety, and ethics, so you can purchase with confidence.

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