That kind of breakdown and absorption process can also hinder the benefits of weed for people with GI issues like irritable bowel syndrome or colitis, Knox explains. “Something where the gut is sick, it may not absorb as well. We try to get a different way to get the product into the body.”
Medical research has repeatedly shown that weed can benefit lung health. One 2012 study using data from a 20-year period had stunning results: Pot smokers not only had better lung function than cigarette smokers but “low to moderate” pot smokers also had better lung capacity than people who didn’t smoke anything. For many asthmatics, though, smoking a joint can cause more problems; even if the smoke carries beneficial medicine, it’s not really worth the trouble of irritating already-sensitive lungs even more.
Asthma runs in my family, and growing up working-class in the inner city — pollution, roaches, and asbestos in public schools — didn’t help my lungs as a child. My respiratory issues could be worse, but they’re bad enough to get in the way of some of my favorite athletic pursuits like hiking and cycling. Even being within a block of a cigarette smoker can bring on a cough that lasts for hours. Doctors put me on a corticosteroid inhaler years ago, and I’ve often wondered what year after year of sucking steroids into my lungs is doing to my body over the long term.
In a legal market like Oregon, alternatives to smoking are widely available in stores. A person with asthma or other lung ailments can walk into a weed store and buy a high-CBD, low-THC blend in the form of candies, capsules, drops, or even a nebulizer — a cool-mist, smoke-free inhaler. But what to do in the majority of the country where the most-likely available product is old-fashioned flower? That’s where a portable decarboxylator comes in handy.
She also says that one of the main building blocks for asthma is inflammation — in fact, inflammation is a major part of many disease processes. “[Asthma is] a chronic inflammatory process that involves the lungs, the bronchioles, etc. And it’s an imbalance in the immune system that the endocannabinoid system does address,” she continues. But Knox acknowledges that smoking pot can be less than ideal for people with asthma and other respiratory conditions: “With smoking, when you heat it, you get those breakdown cells, those byproducts that can cause some irritation to the bronchial tree. You want to avoid those products — polycystic aromatics, hydrocarbons, ammonia, carbon monoxide.”
These days, I live in Oregon where marijuana is legal for both medical and recreational use. I can walk just a few blocks from my Portland apartment and buy weed at a store, where a “budtender” can answer my questions about strains (indica or sativa), about chemical makeup (more terpenes, higher CBD-to-THC ratio, and other components), and about administration (tincture, syrup, or vaporizer). Recently, I decided to stop my daily routine of inhaling steroids and try using weed as my primary anti-asthma medicine.
Cannabis is not just THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that famously becomes psychoactive when heated and gets you high. There are over 400 different chemicals that make up the plant, according to a 2012 study in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, including at least 60 of what are called cannabinoids. Those cannabinoids interact with the human body, specifically with what medical professionals call the endocannabinoid system — numerous receptors that bind with chemicals present in marijuana and affect the body and mind in different ways.
Smoking pot releases the chemical we’re all familiar with: THC, or specifically Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. Knox explains that eating marijuana can result in a dramatically different body high because of the way the liver breaks down cannabis. “It’s broken down in the liver into something called 11-hydroxy tetrahydrocannabinol (abbreviated as 11-OH-THC). That’s more intoxicating than Delta-9 THC,” says Knox. “You may not want to start with edibles for a more naive patient.”
Eating marijuana can result in a dramatically different body high because of the way the liver breaks down cannabis.
Instead of risking further lung irritation by smoking, one writer tries making weed edibles with the help of a decarboxylator to see if they help ease the symptoms of her lifelong asthma.
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.
We shall discuss those later, but first, let us talk about asthma.
- 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.
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: –
When an asthmatic is exposed to these stimulants, their airways get inflamed. The apparent signs of an asthmatic attack include:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marijuana has gained currency as an alternative therapy option, and asthma is one of the diseases for which marijuana has shown some promise managing.