COPD is a slowly progressing chronic disease that leads to an inability to draw in enough breath. This causes discomfort, fatigue, anxiety, and an overall reduction in quality of life.
If you're suffering from this debilitating ailment, your doctors may have told you that there is no cure for COPD. But like many chronic conditions, learning to manage COPD holistically can reduce symptoms, slow progression and improve day-to-day quality of life significantly.
A holistic approach includes medical, alternative, and lifestyle changes. Using CBD oil for COPD may be an essential part of your holistic COPD management plan.
How Many People Have COPD
According to the U.S. government's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, around 16 million U.S. adults have been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). And they believe many more have it but aren't aware that what they suffer from it.
If you have been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis or emphysema, you have the disease. These are the two most common types of COPD.
Symptoms of COPD
The symptoms of COPD depend on which type you have.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 75% of COPD patients have this type. This involves significant inflammation in the bronchi, little tubes that take oxygen from your nose/mouth to your lungs.
You may experience:
- Chest tightening and pain
- Increased mucous production, which you may cough up
- Inability to get enough oxygen
In the U.S., women are twice as likely as men to develop this disease.
Chronic inflammation is the result of an overactive immune system. When the immune system perceives a threat (allergens, viruses, etc.) in the respiratory system, it increases mucous production to kill or flush it out. Unfortunately, this fluid buildup also shrinks the airway so that less air can go through.
So every breath is like someone with healthy lungs trying to force air in or out through a collapsed straw.
Emphysema is a less common type of COPD that causes the stretching out of the alveoli, little sacs in the lungs that process the air you breathe. This is like trying to lift weights too heavy for your muscle mass. The little sacs can't expand and contract effectively.
CBD and COPD
Numerous observational and clinical studies support the taking cannabidiol (CBD) may have an anti-inflammatory effect on both humans and our furry friends.
What is cannabidiol? It's a substance extracted from the hemp cannabis plant. While you might associate cannabis with marijuana, know that cannabis has many strands. Some are high in THC, the substance that causes a "high". But others like hemp are high in CBD and only have trace amounts of THC.
Both CBD and THC are cannabinoids. CBD is biologically similar to the endocannabinoid that your own body produces to regulate various body functions like:
- Inflammation / Immune response
- Pain sensitivity
When looking at CBD oil for COPD, you need to look at the endocannabinoid system that CBD interacts with endocannabinoid system.
Endocannabinoid System and COPD
The endocannabinoid system is made of primarily endocannabinoids, endocannabinoid receptors, and enzymes that break down endocannabinoids as they are no longer needed.
CB1 receptors are found mostly in the brain and central nervous system. CB2 receptors are primarily in the peripheral nervous system, the immune system, and the digestive tract.
THC interacts with the CB1 receptors while Cannabidiol (CBD) interacts with CB2 receptors.
When CBD or your own endocannabinoids attach to CB2 receptors, it has a calming effect on the part of the body where the receptors are located. Since inflammation is a sign of an overactive immune response, calming the immune system may help symptoms of COPD.
In the case of CBD and COPD, taking CBD may calm the immune system, thus reducing inflammation and easing breathing in those with chronic bronchitis.
CBD and COPD Studies
Though multiple studies support the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, there are currently limited studies specifically on CBD oil and COPD.
A 2015 study found that CBD could open bronchial passages, which suggests reduced inflammation. Another study on mice in 2014 showed that in mice, CBD reduced lung resistance and respiratory inflammation. They concluded that it helped overall lung function.
A randomized and controlled 2018 human clinical trial found that inhaling a THC heavy THC-CBD combination similar to smoking marijuana did not improve lung function. However, CBD alone may have a different effect.
As a general rule, though, if you have COPD, you should avoid inhaling or smoking CBD because any substance, no matter how beneficial, can aggravate the lungs if they're already irritated. There are better ways.
How to Use CBD Oil for COPD
There are some substances like nicotine, THC, or alcohol, albuterol that have instant effects on the body. But CBD is different.
While a large quantity of CBD may have fast effects on some conditions like seizures, in the case of inflammation, you need to reduce the inflammation. That takes time.
So it's more like an anti-depressant in this regard. CBD needs to build up in your endocannabinoid system, which may take a week or two.
Many find 10-50 mg twice a day regimen helps them accomplish this.
You can take CBD for COPD orally or sublingually. If you take it sublingually, you may find you need less because when CBD goes through the stomach, some of it is lost to normal digestion and liver processes.
To take sublingually, measure, drop and hold it under your tongue for 20-30 seconds. Swish and then swallow. The soft mucous membranes in your mouth will carry some of the CBD straight into your bloodstream.
Everyone is different, so start at the low end, and if after one week you don't notice a difference, up to your dose. But be consistent so you can figure out how to use CBD oil in a way that works for you.
You don't want to end up taking too much and wasting it or taking so little that you never get to experience any effects. Within a short time, you'll find out for yourself if cannabidiol helps your COPD.