Medical Marijuana for Asthma Sufferers


The use of marijuana as a treatment for asthma has many advocates and opponents, because research on humans and lab animals shows possible benefits in some people but adverse effects in others. Marijuana has a tendency to intensify physical responses and psychological feelings, bringing about varied results among different people. There may be short-term benefits but long-term difficulties when asthmatics smoke marijuana. But many experts believe more research is necessary.

Eight people with asthma were induced with bronchial spasms through chemical inhalation in some sessions and bicycle exercise on other sessions, according to a study published in the American Review of Respiratory Disease in 1975. The subjects receiving placebo marijuana had a gradual recovery during 30 to 60 minutes. The people who received actual marijuana recovered immediately, reported the researchers from the Division of Pulmonary Disease, Department of Medicine, at the UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles.

It’s hard for those who haven’t experienced or don’t understand cannabis to believe any smoke could bring someone out of an asthma attack. Dr. John P. Morgan of New York School of Medicine once explained to me the difference to the lungs between smoking cannabis and smoking tobacco. If I understood him correctly, he said that tobacco smoke predominantly caused degeneration of the peripheral airways and alveolated regions of the lung where cancer is found, while marijuana smoke affected mainly the large pathways where cancer is not usually found. He also explained that if one smokes tobacco, it is almost a must to reduce some of the harms to the lungs by smoking cannabis too.

An asthma attack is frightening to watch and much more frightening to experience. Now I’m not a doctor and don’t claim to know the medical explanation, but I have watched asthmatics fumble for a couple of tokes and seen them begin to breathe deeper and more easily within a minute or two. Seeing is believing, research is the explanation. And there is plenty of research to convince the open-minded non-believer.

* as always please be sure to consult with a health professional to assess the risks and rewards of adding medicinal cannabis to your treatment program.