Asthma And Smoking Weed: Risks, Benefits, And Alternatives

Asthma And Smoking Weed

Numerous advantages come with cannabis. It’s used to treat depression, pain, and sleeplessness, among other things. That does not negate the dangers associated with cannabis, particularly when smoking it. It is not advised to smoke marijuana while having asthma because cannabis smoke can irritate the lungs and possibly exacerbate symptoms. 

If you would like to use marijuana to treat your asthma, you can experiment with edibles, tinctures, and other forms of consumption. To purchase marijuana from dispensaries licensed by the state, you need a medical card. It’s simple to apply for an online medical card. From the comfort of your home, you can use a telemedicine platform to complete it. 

But there are non-smoking options as well, such as edibles, topicals, and cannabis inhalers, that can still offer you the medical advantages of cannabis without irritating your throat and lungs like smoking does.

Is It Safe to Smoke Weed If You Have Asthma?

Smoking is generally not advised if you have asthma, even though prior research and anecdotal evidence indicate that there is a difference between smoking cannabis and cigarettes (cigarette smoke is more likely to cause lung cancer than cannabis smoke). The injurious chemicals in burning materials that are present in marijuana smoke have the potential to worsen asthmatic symptoms.

That does not imply, however, that cannabis in general is harmful to ingest. In fact, studies indicate that cannabis may help those who suffer from respiratory conditions like asthma. Numerous cannabinoids with demonstrated anti-inflammatory qualities, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), are found in cannabis. Furthermore, a number of studies on the impact of cannabis on lung function have discovered that THC causes a bronchodilatory reaction, which relaxes the airways and facilitates breathing.

Potential Benefits of Using Marijuana for Asthma

As mentioned earlier, THC acts by relaxing the lungs’ muscles and opening up airways, just like the majority of bronchodilators, which are drugs used to treat asthma. Additionally, cannabis acts as an instantaneous bronchodilator for certain asthmatics. Similar to widely used corticosteroid inhalers, it offers immediate relief from acute asthma symptoms or stops them completely, but without the typical side effects like anxiety and elevated blood pressure.

Beyond just lessening the symptoms of asthma, smoking marijuana also has other advantages. Research has demonstrated that cannabis can alleviate pain, anxiety, insomnia, and other symptoms that an asthmatic may encounter. However, cannabis itself—rather than smoking—is the source of these advantages.

Lastly, a sizable 20-year study discovered that moderate cannabis users with asthma experienced an improvement in lung function without experiencing significant lung damage, unlike cigarette smokers. The findings are contradictory, though, with certain research suggesting that marijuana use damages the lungs.

While there are many therapeutic benefits associated with marijuana, not everyone will benefit from it. For this reason, we recommend consulting an MMJ doctor before using marijuana to treat asthma. 

Potential Risks of Inhaling Smoke from Marijuana

Over time, smoking cannabis may increase the risk of respiratory issues such as bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In comparison to nonsmokers and tobacco-only smokers, cannabis users had greater rates of “bronchial thickening, mucoid, and bronchiectasis” in a 2022 study that looked at chest CT scans to examine the effects of marijuana smoking on the lungs.

The study also found that marijuana users had higher rates of airway inflammation and emphysema, a lung ailment that results in dyspnea, than did non-smokers and tobacco-only users.

Furthermore, according to a Joanna Zeiger-led survey from 2021, half of marijuana users who have uncontrolled asthma also smoke marijuana. After smoking cannabis, the participants reported better sleep, less pain, and reduced anxiety, but they also reported more coughing (19.3%), wheezing (5.7%), and shortness of breath (6.8%).

Some of those side effects have the potential to exacerbate asthma attacks or worsen asthma symptoms. It is well known that smoking cannabis can cause coughing, which can exacerbate asthma symptoms, especially for first-time users.

Even those who do not use cannabis may nonetheless have allergies to the plant. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) states that breathing in marijuana allergens can cause nasal and ocular allergy symptoms, as well as allergic asthma symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath.

Managing Asthma While Using Marijuana: What to Do

When cannabis is used for asthma in ways other than smoking, there might be advantages. Using cannabis inhalers, edibles, and oil are a few techniques. Vaping is another.

Vaping isn’t always the best option among these options. Lung issues are linked to vaping, particularly when the product includes harmful cutting agents like vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and vitamin E acetate. But instead of burning the cannabis, vaporizers and nebulizers that heat the plant or move air through compression might be safer alternatives to smoking. Having said that, they haven’t been thoroughly investigated, so we’re still unsure of any risks they might present to asthmatics.

Patients with asthma can use edibles, tinctures, topicals, and, ideally, cannabis inhalers as safer ways to consume THC. Pump inhalers that are typically prescribed to patients with asthma (and typically contain corticosteroids) bear a striking resemblance to cannabis inhalers. These inhalers don’t need heat or smoke, and they can deliver a precise dosage of cannabis.

Final Words: Is Smoking Weed Safe for Asthma?

It is not advised for people with asthma to smoke or vape cannabis. Cannabis inhalation can aggravate asthma and lead to more coughing, sputum production, and wheezing. These can exacerbate the symptoms of asthma, and smoking continuously can have long-term consequences.

The risks of smoking cannabis far outweigh any potential benefits, such as the ability to dilate respiratory passages without experiencing the side effects of corticosteroids. It is advised that you use safer delivery methods, such as edibles, cannabis oils, cannabis topicals, and inhalers, if you require medical marijuana due to asthma.