CBD and Asthma: Part 2

Last updated: April 2022

In part 1 of this exploration into CBD and its association with asthma, we discussed a brief history of why CBD was under prohibition and why it has become so popular lately. In this part 2, we will talk about how CBD works in our body and more specifically our asthma.

How CBD works

Every species of cannabis produces THC, CBD, and dozens of other cannabinoids that all do different things to our physiology when introduced in different ratios. Every strain, of each species, also has its own chemical makeup of cannabinoids. For the sake of simplicity, this article will focus on THC-CBD interaction.

It's almost poetic the way these two chemicals interact from the plant to our bodies. No species of cannabis has entirely THC or CBD, it is always a ratio. The serendipity of recent research was when used as a medicine, CBD has essentially no effect on our bodies without some THC. The THC works as a sort of key that lets CBD work its magic. Although THC is psychoactive, it takes such a small amount of it to activate CBD. Medications can come in many ratios of CBD:THC, like, 50:1, 20:1, 5:1, depending on the effects desired for the patient's condition. So, when used correctly, there should be no psychoactive effects from the small amount of THC that's in a CBD medicine.

That's also where the trend meets its end. Many of the products we see in stores are made with CBD isolate and contain no trace of THC; they are essentially placebos. This is because it is difficult to meet that legal requirement of <.03% THC, consistently, using plants that are inconsistent. Some states still won't allow any THC at all in products, and some products available online might be illegal in your state. It's incredibly important to research exactly what you are buying and it's best to ask your doctor about the local regulations surrounding CBD.

Can CBD affect asthma?

Recent research has shown that CBD has a wide spectrum of effects on our bodies; most of which are quite beneficial. The cannabinoid is highly anti-inflammatory as well as a strong bronchodilator, making sense of why some asthmatics experience relief from using CBD medicines.

However, there is another possible reason for this extra relief. CBD also impacts the cytochrome p450 enzyme family, changing the way our body metabolizes a variety of pharmaceutical compounds; possibly making medications far more potent than intended in our systems. This can also be dangerous, though, and it is strongly recommended that you talk to your doctor about CBD before trying it.

Some people will report not experiencing any effect from CBD and there are a couple of possibilities for why this might be. One reason is because the CBD product has no trace of THC, making it ineffective. Another possibility is that the person's body doesn't process it the same way. Just as some medications don't work for certain people, CBD works in a similar way. It is also possible that the CBD and daily medication don't mesh well when taken together. Once again, it's important to discuss the introduction of any complementary medicine with your overseeing doctor prior to trying.

The take-away

I hope these articles helped you better understand what CBD is, where it came from, and why people are going crazy over it. There is a lot of marketing out there that proposes a lot of miracles. However, as a consumer, it's important to understand what we are consuming and why. CBD is more complicated than the new trendy commodities that would allow us to think. Yes, CBD has been shown to do spectacular things in our bodies, when used in the correct way. It's possible that it might affect asthma as well, but more research is certainly needed and education needs to be more than a products' label.

Many of the products available in stores are marketing what the product could do, not what it will do. It's always best to talk to your doctor about how CBD will interact with the medications you are taking and also how to obtain real CBD medications. It's best to treat CBD as the medicine it is, not as something that we can buy and consume like a daily vitamin. More personal research is always a great place to start, so if you discuss CBD with your doctor, you can work with them to find the best management for your asthma.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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