Asthma affects the airways between the nose and the mouth to the lungs. With asthma, airways become inflamed, which cuts off the oxygen supply. Sounds scary, right? It is for those who suffer Asthma daily, or even just sporadically.
Symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing occur with Asthma. Asthma “attack”, causes the muscles around the airways to tighten, and can even be deadly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2015 NHIS estimates that more than 40 million people in the US have been diagnosed, or have experienced Asthma, and 1 out of 4 of those are children. Their studies also show that some living in poverty or poor living conditions greatly increases the risk of not only developing asthma but also dying from it.
We know so much about the body and mind, but the exact cause of Asthma remains a mystery. Researchers point to genetic and environmental factors, but there are still cases when psychological issues can cause asthma symptoms to occur regularly. NIEHS and researchers from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published results of a survey and found the leading household triggers of asthma and allergies to be dust mites, cockroach allergens, pets, molds, and fungi. The survey also reports that two-thirds of American homes have cockroach allergens. Can we get a clean up on aisles everywhere!?
In infancy and early childhood, airborne allergens or exposure to some viral infections can lead to the development of asthma. Atopy, an inherited tendency to develop allergies, parents with Asthma, or respiratory infections during adolescence can also be at the root of asthma symptoms.
Sufferers of asthma and allergies should take special care of keeping their home clean of potential allergen triggers to avoid risks of asthma. Often, prescription medication is needed to help with asthma. While there is no cure for asthma, medications can be used to control symptoms. Most common medications include [ICOs], or inhaled-corticosteroids, [LABAs], [SABAs] , and Leukotriene Modifiers.
In researching these medications and the clinical studies of them, I’ve found much-conflicting evidence between news, medical journals, and the vast library of published scientific studies. It seems as if there is a battle for public opinion on asthma medications.
In August of 2017, a group of researchers led by James S. Leung published a large-scale systematic review of adverse drug events associated with common asthma medications in people 18 and younger and found that adverse events affecting the mind and body were very common. 46 studies were included in the review. 29 of the studies were in North America, and all 29 of those were funded by the pharmaceutical industry.
The review cites studies showing that children exposed to ICOs had adverse effects on their endocrine and [metabolic], impairing growth and adrenal suppression. While there is scientific evidence to support that ICOs stunt growth, there is still controversy around linking ICOs to growth suppression.
In 2003, SMART, a large randomized placebo-control trial of adults with asthma was terminated due to increased mortality in patients treated with LABA monotherapy. The results were submitted to the FDA and subsequent studies found similar results.
Although these types of medications are prescribed to children and adults at alarmingly high rates, there is little-unbiased research and evidence for their safety. Contrarily, there is growing research concluding that these types of drugs severely impact multiple organ systems within the body. Montelukast, in particular, is known to have dangerous side effects like anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
The latest research of leukotriene antagonists comes from principle investigator Tjalling W de Vries MD PhD and leading author Meindina G. Haarman. They found the medication Montelukast, brand name Singulair, to cause the following adverse side effects frequently.
· Suicidal Ideation
· Abnormal Behavior
Tens of millions of people use this drug worldwide every day and may not even be aware that these symptoms are coming from their asthma medications. They often end up being prescribed more meds to treat the side effects. This trend has resulted in a generation of severely medicated people, especially in the U.S.
Before doctors can rule out using cannabis to treat asthma they have to look to the science and clinical peer-reviewed studies, and the research shows that cannabinoids found in marijuana actually do help with asthma symptoms.
Research from the 1970’s showed that THC proved to be an effective [bronchodilator], helping to open the lungs and even work as an effective [expectorant]. In 2005, The Dokkyo University School of Medicine in Japan published the results of their experiments with [endogenous cannabinoids] and the neurogenic inflammation of lung tissue in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology. They found that endogenous cannabinoids, such as [anandamide] and [palmitoylethanolamide], inhibited inflammation within airways.
In 2008, The Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine published the results of a study finding that activation of CB1 and CB2 [receptors] prevents antigen-induced asthma-like reactions.
While [THC] is a powerful expectorant and bronchodilator, its best friend [CBD] is a known anti-inflammatory. It works as an agonist to endocannabinoid receptors and has been shown to reduce cytokine production, in turn, reducing inflammation.
Further studies have shown that the active compounds found in cannabis are [anti-mucosal] and [anti-spasmodic] helping to alleviate symptoms of asthma.
While THC can help open up the lungs and expel mucus, it’s not advised to smoke medical marijuana to treat asthma-related symptoms, but rather to [vaporize] or ingest cannabis-infused edibles. Chronically smoking “chronic” can actually reduce lung capacity and health.
Cannabis edibles can help prevent symptoms of asthma, but in the event of an attack, they are not a suitable emergency treatment because of how long it takes compounds to take effect after first passing through the digestive system.
Vaporizing cannabis is the most recommended method of administration advised to treat an asthma attack. Vaporizing avoids the harsh plant materials normally inhaled by smoking combusted flowers, and instead, provides an immediate administration of cannabinoids similar to inhalation of aerosols.
Since cannabinoids like THC and CBD can reduce inflammation, induce bronchodilation, and decrease pain associated with asthma, hybrid strains high in both may be suggested for treatment. Marijuana will affect individuals uniquely according to strain, dosage, the method of administration, and other factors. Consult with a physician and medical marijuana professional about using cannabis. Find linked below a list of strains that have been reported to help others with asthma and related conditions.
· [[Black Haze]]
· [[BlackBerry Haze]]
· [[Blue Magic]]
· [[Blue Wreck]]
· [[Blueberry Yum Yum]]
· [[Brooklyn Mango]]
· [[Bubba’s Gift]]
· [[Buddha Haze]]