If I Have Asthma, Can I Use Medical Marijuana?

March 10, 2021 0 Comments

Constricted lungs, dizziness, shortness of breath, and wheezing can signal asthma! Asthma attacks are always uncomfortable and sometimes even dangerous if you’re not careful. If you’re asthmatic, the last thing you need is smoke in your lungs. Even vaping can cause problems.

Which brings us to these question.

  • If I have asthma, can I use medical marijuana?
  • Will it help my condition?
  • Will it make it worse?

Let’s explore.

What Happens During an Asthma Attack?

The airways in your lungs get narrow and swell and swell at the same time. You may also develop mucous in your respiratory system. That’s where the wheezing, whistling, and difficulty breathing comes from. For some, this can be a minor nuisance. For others, it degrades their quality of life and could even turn fatal.

A full-blown asthma attack looks like the following:

  • Wheezing during every exhale
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hard, dry coughing worsened by wheezing
  • Interrupted sleep cycles because of breathing troubles

Who Gets Asthma?

Asthma is hereditary and can be comorbid with asthma. Certain lifestyle factors can also trigger asthma.

  • Chain-smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Exposure to pollutants
  • Second-hand cigarette smoke
  • Hazardous chemicals

What Can Trigger an Asthma Attack?

There are a lot of things that can trigger asthma attacks:

  • Airborne allergens
  • Certain food additives
  • Cold air
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Medications like:
    • Beta-blockers
    • Ibuprofen
    • Aspirin
    • Stress
    • Strong negative emotions

The Effects of Cannabis on Asthmatics

A 2020 study on three asthmatic patients treated with medical cannabis showed an improvement in the participant’s condition. It turns out that Cannabis’s bronchodilator effect relaxed the muscles in the lungs to widen the airways and that cannabinoids may have a soothing effect on the lungs.

Cannabis Delivery System: Can an Asthmatic Smoke It?

One of the most common ways to get THC into the body quickly and effectively is to smoke. And when smoke enters the lungs, it causes airway irritation and can lead to chronic bronchitis if done in excess. There are also potential long-term risks associated with smoking if you have asthma:

  • Large fluid-filled sacs can easily develop in your lungs if you smoke marijuana, making your asthma issues even more complicated.
  • The bullae can develop into pneumothorax, aka collapsed lung, a life-threatening condition.

Short-term risks can easily aggravate your asthmatic symptoms and make your experience a lot more miserable.

These include:

  • Wheezing while exhaling
  • Development of phlegm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Worsened coughing
  • Lung infections

So smoking cannabis to ease asthma symptoms, or for any other reason, isn’t really an option for an asthmatic. But don’t stress! There are two other options available to you that are as effective and speedy as smoking:

  • Vaping
  • Inhalers

It’s All in the Vape

Vaping is the “healthier” option for those with asthma. Why? It all comes down to the physical and chemical changes that happen with the bud when you vape it versus smoke it.

When you vape, the device gets the cannabis just hot enough to release the chemical compounds. The heat activates the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes and releases them in vapor form. You then inhale the vapor. When you smoke cannabis, the plant material burns and turns into carcinogenic smoke, which can irritate and damage your lungs.

Vaping may not be 100% safe, but it is definitely a better option than smoking if you are asthmatic.

It’s Easy to Inhale

When you are diagnosed with asthma, your doctor will prescribe treatment based on the severity of the condition. Traditional treatment methods range from prescribed medications to breathing exercises. But if you have asthma that affects your daily life, the tried and true go-to for quick relief is the inhaler.

Good news! Legalization and innovation have now made the inhaler a reliable apparatus for cannabis consumption. Now that THC can be incorporated into inhalers, people living with asthma can enjoy instant and longer-term relief from this debilitating disease.

Cannabis inhalers are similar to vaporizers in that they use vapors instead of smoke. The main difference between vaporizers and inhalers is that inhalers provide precise doses. As the cannabinoid enters the lungs through a propellant, your body is getting the same amount of cannabis in every single puff. This means you won’t consume too much and compromise your body in any way, shape, or form.

Check the Labels

If you need something with CBD or other cannabinoids in significant numbers or ratios, you’ll want to closely check the inhalers’ labels as they are usually THC-dominant. There’s even more good news about inhalers.

Cannabis inhalers are discreet. They can be inconspicuously slipped into your pocket and used like a “normal” inhaler. More studies need to be done about the relationship between cannabis and asthma.

But, cannabis’ calming, relaxing effects alone could serve any asthmatic well. Add to that the dilating and soothing effects that cannabis has on your airways and lungs, and you have a contender.

Look for Alternatives

Although smoking medical marijuana is absolutely out of the question for asthmatics, alternative consumption methods are definitely worth looking at.

And, of course, if you aren’t necessarily using marijuana to ease your asthma, then skipping vaping and smoking and jumping straight to cannabis oil, tinctures, and edibles is your best bet.

Are You Ready to Explore Your Medical Marijuana Options?

At Emerald Medical, our goal is always to be proactive, diligent, and driven and provide the absolute best care for your and your family. Schedule an appointment in our warm and welcoming clinic today, and experience the Emerald way.


Article Name
If I Have Asthma, Can I Use Medical Marijuana?
Although smoking medical marijuana is absolutely out of the question for asthmatics, alternative consumption methods are definitely worth looking at.