Does CBD Help Shortness of Breath?
Studies report that the use of cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce the symptoms of COPD and improve breathing, such as shortness of breath.
A study based on the neurophysiology of dyspnea (difficulty breathing) and the location of cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) states that cannabinoids will alleviate the unpleasantness of breathlessness in people without causing respiratory depression.
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may need a long and gradual therapy depending on specific characteristics. During the early stages of COPD, many individuals utilize oxygen treatment to delay the disease’s progression. In more severe situations, surgical procedures, such as lung transplants, may be required.
Studies have reported that the use of cannabidiol (CBD) has reduced the symptoms of COPD and improved breathing. CBD has been examined for its anti-inflammatory properties and effectiveness as a bronchodilator (causes widening of airways for better breathing). Both outcomes suggest that CBD may help relieve some of the symptoms of COPD. More studies, however, are needed to support the effect of CBD on the shortness of breath.
2 health benefits of CBD
- Cannabidiol (CBD) has been found in several recent studies to have considerable bronchodilatory activities. According to scientists, CBD can widen the airways, decreasing resistance and increasing airflow into the lungs.
- When researchers were looking for novel asthma medicines, they looked at these qualities. CBD’s bronchodilatory actions, however, may provide similar alleviation to those suffering from acute chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) symptoms.
- CBD may help COPD patients avoid low levels of oxygen in the blood and shortness of breath by increasing airways. This, in turn, may decrease the progression of the disease and lessen the severity of its negative effects.
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Since 2009, medical experts have been investigating CBD’s powerful anti-inflammatory capabilities. In a 2014 study, CBD was shown to enhance lung function and decrease inflammation in animal studies.
- According to the researchers in the 2014 study, the results reported that cannabidiol can become a viable therapeutic tool for the attenuation and treatment of inflammatory lung illnesses in the future, implying that CBD might be an effective therapy for COPD.
What is the impact of CBD in cannabis on asthma?
As previously stated, people with asthma should avoid inhaling cannabis by smoking or vaping.
Safety is vital and comes first for anybody who uses cannabis, especially those with chronic illnesses. Determine the safest technique of consuming cannabis, as well as the lowest feasible amount that gives the best relief, with the doctor.
Cannabis should be used carefully. If one feels too high, they should try sleeping it off or waiting it out. Do not overdo it. Although cannabis has medical use, it can have negative side effects.
Cannabis contains more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and fewer cannabidiols (CBD), whereas hemp contains more CBD and less THC. However, CBD in both works the same and has the same effects on the body.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the hundreds of molecules called cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. It is now accessible in a broad range of products, including tincture drops, capsules, chocolates, pastries, and even coffee. CBD is available in liquid forms, which are warmed and inhaled using a specific apparatus (a process called “vaping”).
Marijuana and hemp are the same species of cannabis plants, but the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 has made hemp lawful on the federal level because it contains less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), whereas marijuana contains more than 0.3 percent of THC. CBD can be extracted from hemp, which means its potential health advantages may now be researched more thoroughly.
CBD appears to offer a variety of therapeutic benefits according to research. Some supporters are now praising CBD’s ability to alleviate symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a disorder that damages the airways and makes it difficult to breathe regularly.
Because of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, many CBD-containing products have emerged, and consumers may now take CBD in a variety of ways, such as:
CBD Oil for COPD: How to Use This Cannabinoid Oil & Dosage
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may not be the most familiar sounding name for a health condition. And yet, it’s the third most common cause of death by disease in the United States.
More than 15.3 million Americans suffer from COPD, a disease that often leads to a lowered quality of life and shortened lifespan.
While doctors admit there’s no cure for COPD, researchers are investigating an array of treatment methods that can help patients manage symptoms and deal with the lifestyle changes caused by the disease.
In recent years, CBD has gained a lot of attention as a highly versatile compound capable of alleviating many health problems. In this article, we discuss the current state of scientific research on the link between CBD and COPD.
Before that, I’d like you to take a look at my recommendations for the best CBD oil brands as of right now.
Then we’ll dig deeper into the potential benefits of CBD oil for COPD.
What is COPD?
COPD is an acronym for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This is a progressive lung disease that makes breathing increasingly difficult for patients over time.
COPD causes inflammation in the lungs, leading to their thickening. It also compromises the oxygen exchange in the tissue. This results in reduced airflow in and out of the lungs, delivering less oxygen to the lung tissues and causing problems with removing carbon dioxide.
Breathing difficulties are one of the most common symptoms of COPD. They can make it challenging for sufferers to stay active, work efficiently, and live a normal life.
Excessive exposure to irritants that harm the lungs and airways is the leading cause of COPD. Smoking is the most common type of irritant, so tobacco smokers are exposed to a higher risk of developing COPD.
However, nonsmokers can suffer from this disease, too. There are additional triggers coming into play, such as secondhand smoke, toxins, or other contaminants in the workplace, radiation, air pollution, and a rare genetic mutation called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.
Untreated COPD can have serious side effects, including lung infections resulting from low levels of oxygen in the blood.
How is COPD Diagnosed?
Overall, there are several symptoms indicating that you may have COPD.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should follow-up with a doctor:
- Chronic cough
- Mucus buildup that you cough up for at least three months
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Lack of energy
- Swelling in feet, legs, or ankles
- The blueness of the lips (cyanosis)
Another way to determine if a person has COPD is to go through lung function tests.
Lung function testing is called spirometry. This is a simple breathing test that may be able to tell if you have COPD and define its stage.
You take a deep breath and blow hard into a tube, which is attached to a machine called a spirometer. Then you inhale medicine that opens your airways — and blow the tube again.
The test will show you:
- Your forced vital capacity (FVC), i.e. how much air you breathe out
- Forced expiratory volume (FEV), i.e. how much of that air came out in the first second
The doctor will use these results to create a third number that tells you how your lungs are functioning. If the number is below 70%, you have COPD.
There are also several other tests that look deeper into different types and stages of this condition:
- Alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAt) deficiency test
- Chest X-ray or CT
- 6-minute walk test
- Tests that check the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood
How Could CBD Benefit People With COPD?
If you’ve been diagnosed with COPD, treatment will be a long and progressive process based on individual factors. Many people use oxygen therapy during the early stages of COPD to slow down the progress of the disease. More severe cases may call for surgical interventions, such as lung transplants.
Doctors and researchers are constantly searching for new options to treat this complex condition. If you’re a COPD patient and haven’t found relief in traditional treatment options, you might be wondering about new alternatives — like a COPD treatment with CBD oil.
CBD has been studied for its anti-inflammatory effects and its efficacy as a bronchodilator. Both of these effects indicate that CBD may alleviate some of the symptoms of COPD.
1. CBD as a Bronchodilator
Several recent studies have shown CBD to exhibit significant bronchodilatory properties. Scientists believe that CBD can dilate the respiratory airways, lowering resistance, and creating better airflow into the lungs.
These properties have been explored when researchers were searching for new treatments for asthma. However, the bronchodilatory effects of CBD could bring similar relief to patients experiencing acute COPD symptoms.
By improving airflow, CBD could help COPD patients avoid low levels of oxygen in the blood and the shortness of breath they struggle with. This, in turn, could slow the progress of the disease and diminish the harshness of its side effects.
2. CBD as an Anti-Inflammatory
Medical researchers have been exploring the potent anti-inflammatory properties of CBD since 2009. Recently, a 2014 trial showed that CBD could improve lung function and reduce inflammation in animal models.
Scientists in the 2014 study stated that “The present and previous data suggest that in the future, cannabidiol might become a useful therapeutic tool for the attenuation and treatment of inflammatory lung diseases,” suggesting that CBD could be an effective treatment for COPD.
What’s the Best CBD Dosage for COPD?
There’s no one-size-fits-all dosage for CBD, and you’ll likely have to go through some trial and error until you find the dose that works for you. Despite the many suggested health benefits of CBD, the FDA doesn’t recognize it as a treatment for other illnesses than epilepsy as of this writing.
Given this, there are no specific dosage guidelines when it comes to using CBD oil for COPD.
So how do you find an effective dose for your symptoms?
This depends on several factors.
For one, you’ll need to mind the consumption method, as different forms of CBD have different absorption rates and bioavailability levels, meaning a CBD capsule will ultimately deliver different amounts of CBD to your system than tinctures.
Along with the right product, you’ll need to consider your weight, metabolism, age, body chemistry, lifestyle, and the severity of your symptoms. They all play an important role in figuring out the best dosage for your needs.
As with any substance you introduce to your body, it’s best to start low and slow to avoid the possible side effects. The most common unwanted reactions to CBD oil include dry mouth, lower blood pressure, sedation, and lightheadedness.
Many experts recommend starting with 1–6 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight. A lot of CBD brands include their daily dosage recommendations on the packaging, which can also be a good point of reference for most adult consumers.
Before you start taking any CBD product, discuss the use of CBD with your doctor. This will help you find the right dose and ensure there is no risk of complications with other health conditions or medications you may be taking.
How Are People Using CBD Oil for COPD?
CBD oil comes in many forms. Most commonly, people use this supplement as sublingual drops, capsules, or E-liquids. When you have COPD, you’ll need to ditch one of these options due to the nature of this condition.
I’m talking about vaping.
There haven’t been many studies investigating the impact of vaporization on lung health. The vast majority of these studies have investigated the safety of vaping versus smoked cannabis when it comes to lung cancer and other heart-related problems including the pumping power of the heart muscle, but none of them looked specifically at vaping and the risk of COPD. Given this, it’s better to err on the side of caution and abstain from vaporizing CBD liquids when you have this condition.
You can choose between sublingual CBD drops and capsules. If you don’t mind the distinct taste of CBD oil, drops will be your best choice because they offer higher bioavailability than capsules. Bioavailability is measured by the amount of CBD that reaches your bloodstream upon ingestion.
Oral forms of CBD such as capsules need to pass through the digestive system and thus are less bioavailable than sublingual products — they also have a slower onset of effects because of that.
CBD capsules are better for those who dislike the taste of CBD oil or don’t have time for measurements in their regime. Capsules have no odor and flavor, and each piece carries a fixed dose of CBD.
Best CBD Oils for COPD
The hemp industry is a booming market and many companies are jumping in to get their share of CBD pie. The abundance of different brands and products can be overwhelming, so you need to make sure you source your CBD oil from a trusted manufacturer. As with any health supplement, quality is paramount for it to be effective.
Most reputable companies, extract the CBD with pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2), use organic hemp plants, and publish certificates of analysis (CoA) from 3rd-party laboratories for each batch of product.
I have three brands I trust when it comes to buying CBD oil. Each of these companies specializes in manufacturing premium CBD products from high-quality ingredients and are transparent about their potential benefits.
1. Royal CBD
Get 15% off all Royal CBD products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.
- Royal CBD uses locally-grown organic hemp
- The company uses supercritical CO2 extraction
- Their product selection includes full-spectrum CBD oils, capsules, and isolate-based gummies
- The oil is available in 3 potency options: 250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg, and 2500 mg
- Contains up to 83.3 mg of CBD in each mL of oil
- The hemp extract is suspended in MCT oil
- Each batch of product has been tested in a 3rd-party laboratory
- Royal CBD products are more expensive than other brands, although it’s well justified by the quality of ingredients
My Thoughts on Royal CBD:
Royal CBD is a newcomer to the hemp scene. The company first launched in 2018 by a group of health-conscious cannabis advocates who decided to raise the quality standards on the market with a line of, premium products.
Royal CBD offers full-spectrum CBD oil in two basic forms — sublingual drops and capsules. The oil comes in four different potency options:
The 2500 mg bottle was recently introduced by Royal CBD for people needing higher doses of cannabidiol in their lives. Unlike many other full-spectrum products, this oil has a nice, natural taste spiced up by nutty undertones that provide a smooth flavor.
However, if you dislike the taste of natural or mint-flavored CBD oil, or you don’t have time to take measurements and need an easier way to take CBD, you may try Royal CBD capsules. They come as easy-to-ingest softgels; each capsule carries 25 mg of full-spectrum CBD, allowing for convenient dosing and easy use on the go.
- CBDPure products are made with Colorado-grown organic hemp
- The company makes its extracts with supercritical CO2
- All products are tested for potency and purity in a 3rd-party laboratory
- CBDPure offers a 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed program — you get a full refund for your product is you send it back within 90 days.
- Lower potency than Royal CBD
- Narrow product range
My Thoughts on CBDPure:
Based in Colorado, CBDPure is another premium brand that manufactures high-quality CBD oils from organic hemp.
Having been in the business for over 3 years, the company has mastered its line of CBD oils and capsules. CBDPure doesn’t have the most impressive product range out there, but it makes up for that with the quality of ingredients it uses in its extracts. All CBDPure products are extracted with supercritical CO2 and tested in a certified laboratory to prove their potency and safety.
However, if you’re looking for high-potency CBD oil, I suggest that you go with Royal CBD. CBDPure offers products that are better suited for preventative supplementation or mild symptom relief.
Alternatively, you may want to try their softgel capsules — they boas 25 mg of full-spectrum cannabidiol in each serving.
If you’re not satisfied with how the product works, you can send it back within 90 days for a full refund as part of CBDPure’s 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed program.
- CBDistillery uses locally-grown hemp
- The company offers both full-spectrum CBD and pure CBD oil (THC-free)
- Each batch of product is tested in a 3rd-party lab for content analysis
- Up to 5000 mg of total CBD
- CBDistillery is one of the most affordable brands on the market
- CBDistillery doesn’t use organic hemp
- No flavored options available
My Thoughts on CBDistillery:
CBDistillery is a company that underlines the importance of education on top of selling affordable CBD oil from high-quality ingredients. The company caters to all types of CBD consumers out there — their products are available in a wide potency range from 250 mg to 5000 mg of CBD per bottle. The company’s CBD oil is available as ‘full-spectrum’ or ‘THC-free’.
CBDistillery also sells CBD capsules, gummies, vapes, and isolate slab — all of these products have a valid certificate of analysis as proof of their quality. The company publishes the lab results on its website so you can see what’s in the product before buying it.
The only disadvantage I’ve noticed is that CBDistillery’s products aren’t made with organic hemp. Therefore, the quality of the end product is lower than the other brands in this ranking. Nevertheless, it’s a really small cost considering how CBDistillery prices its products. This brand may not sell the best CBD oil on the market, but it’s definitely the best CBD oil for this price.
Final Thoughts: Using CBD Oil for COPD
COPD is a serious chronic condition, and if left untreated, can lead to a series of dangerous complications, severely compromising the quality of one’s life.
The exact effects of CBD on COPD haven’t been examined yet, although numerous studies indicate this cannabinoid has potent anti-inflammatory and bronchodilating effects. Experts argue that CBD oil could help in the management of COPD symptoms and slow the progression of this condition.
If you want to try CBD oil for COPD, make sure to consult with your doctor first. A qualified medical professional should be able to tell if CBD oil can support your current COPD treatment and how much CBD you should take to feel the difference.
- Makwana, R., Venkatasamy, R., Spina, D., Page, C. (2015). The Effect of Phytocannabinoids on Airway Hyper-Responsiveness, Airway Inflammation, Cough. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 353(1), 159–180.
- Grassin-Delyle, S. et al. (2014). Cannabinoids Inhibit Cholinergic Contraction in Human Airways Through Prejunctional CB1 Receptors. British Journal of Pharmacology, 171(11), 2767–2777.
- Burstein, S. H., & Zurier, R. B. (2009). Cannabinoids, Endocannabinoids, and Related Analogs in Inflammation. The AAPS Journal, 11(1), 109–119.
- Ribeiro A. et al. (2015). Cannabidiol Improves Lung Function and Inflammation in Mice Submitted to LPS-induced Acute Lung Injury. Immunopharmacology & Immunotoxicology, 37(1), 35–41.
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
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Can CBD Help to Treat COPD?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the most common respiratory order in the world. In the United States alone, it is the third primary cause of death. While there is no currently known cure for COPD, there are existing treatments that can mitigate symptoms, but these often come with adverse side effects.
So, can CBD offer an alternative solution?
What is COPD?
COPD is shorthand for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. COPD is the name given to a group of lung diseases that cause breathing difficulties. COPD includes emphysema which causes damage to the air sacs in the lungs. Chronic bronchitis is encompassed within COPD and is the long-term inflammation of the airways.
COPD is commonly occurring in smokers of middle age and the elderly. There are many people who do not even realise that they are suffering from COPD. When a patient is suffering from COPD, breathing problems tend to get increasingly worse and can even limit your daily activity.
What is CBD?
CBD is the abbreviation of cannabidiol and is an organic compound found in the cannabis plant. CBD has some of the medicinal benefits of cannabis but without the psychoactive effects. This is because it is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that causes users of cannabis to experience psychoactive effects. CBD does not cause any psychoactive effects and does not get you high.
Can CBD be used to treat COPD?
Many people believe that using CBD regularly can help open up the bronchial passages, which enables you to breathe more easily.
There were studies undertaken over 40 years ago that found that smoking cannabis dilated the lungs making it easier for asthmatics to breathe. However, there is still so much research that needs to be conducted to provide evidence of CBD being a viable treatment for COPD.
A small randomised controlled trial of 18 participants with severe COPD did not indicate that vaporised THC made a meaningful difference in breathlessness or endurance during exercise due to the airways being more dilated.
There is currently no cure for COPD, so managing the symptoms is crucial if a patient is to ensure that their life is not severely impacted.
CBD exerts its positive effects by activating the endocannabinoid system and the endocannabinoid system modulates numerous functions throughout the body to provide a sustained balance and a promotion of well-being. Cannabinoids such as CBD and CBG, interact with the endocannabinoid system through CB1 & CB2 cannabinoid receptors which then activate specific bodily responses.
Can THC be used to treat COPD?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the dominant psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant and is responsible for producing the ‘high’ typically associated with cannabis consumption in popular culture.
THC has been used in a handful of studies, although, as referenced above, typically in conjunction with CBD. However, the potential side effects of THC are far more severe than that of CBD and can include memory loss, anxiety and increased heart rate.
Less is known about THC and the prevalence of its side effects when compared to CBD. As a result, it is not typically recommended to use THC for COPD treatment until further research is conducted.
What does the research say?
Unfortunately, there are very few robust human studies that specifically investigate the links between CBD and COPD. That said, several animal studies have shown promising results which suggest that CBD may be effective in combatting certain symptoms related to COPD.
For example, a 2015 study conducted in Brazil, found that CBD could improve the airways of mice that were suffering with Acute Lung Injury (ALI). Observations revealed that the day after CBD intake, lung functioning was improved, and inflammation-causing substances were reduced. While limited to mice, the results were promising an indicate the therapeutic potential of CBD when it comes to treating inflammatory lung diseases.
A 2013 study published in the medical journal Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics provided similarly promising results. The study revealed that CBD inhibited airway obstruction in allergic guinea pigs. After being administered with substances and allergens that narrowed their airways, it was clear that CBD dramatically enhanced their quality of life.
Finally, there was a recent study looking into CBD, airway inflammation and scarring caused by asthma in mice. This was published in the European Journal of Pharmacology and revealed that CBD could not only reduce inflammatory processes, but also improve the capacity of the lungs to inflate.
So, while definitive conclusions cannot be drawn between CBD and COPD, there are very promising signs that suggest there is a therapeutic potential. The next steps with regards to research is the progression towards human studies.
What CBD dosage should be taken for COPD?
As mentioned on several occasions already in this article, there is a distinct lack of research into direct links between CBD and COPD. Consequently, dosage suggestions are currently unclear.
The safest bet is to just follow the standard dosing rule when it comes to CBD. That is to start of small and incrementally increase your dosage until you feel that you have found the optimum amount.
CBD side effects are minimal, but if you are concerned then you can always speak to your doctor before beginning consumption in order to take onboard some professional advice.
What are the side effects of using CBD for COPD?
It is well documented that CBD side effects are not only extremely low in prevalence, but also fairly benign. They are certainly less severe than those associated with existing steroidal treatments for COPD.
The most common side effects of CBD however, include:
- Dry mouth
- Minor headaches
- Changes in appetite
It is also strongly recommended to avoid vaping CBD when it comes to treating COPD. This is because there is a lack of research into vaping in general and it can often exacerbate breathing issues.
The Pros of Using CBD for COPD
- CBD has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and the swelling of airways in the lungs.
- CBD can have a therapeutic benefit and increase lung capacity.
- CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive effects and a very limited of minor side effects.
The Cons of Using CBD for COPD
- Many of the studies investigating the relationship between breathing and CBD have been conducted on animals rather than humans.
- There is still a very limited amount of research that has been conducted on CBD at a clinical level.
- The regulatory environment surrounding cannabis is confusing.
CBD is certainly worth trying for anyone who is suffering from COPD. The potential to enact a decrease in inflammation may make it easier to breathe and make the symptoms of COPD less severe.
While research still needs to be improved and translated into human settings, the initial results from animal studies into respiratory disorders show great promise.