Could Cannabis Benefit COPD Patients?

There is much talk in medical circles of the use of medical marijuana (or cannabis) for a variety of chronic illnesses, but could it also benefit those living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

MORE: InMed announces progress in COPD treatment using cannabinoids.

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 23 states in the U.S., as well as Washington, D.C., but its use is a contentious issue with as many people for it as against it.

How could medical marijuana help those with COPD? According to the Lung Institute, medical marijuana has been found useful in reducing inflammation, improving sleep, easing pain, supporting the immune system, and reducing phlegm. However, one of the big issues when it comes to using cannabis if you have a pulmonary disease, is smoking.

Smoking cannabis is harmful to those with lung diseases as there is generally no filter on the “joint” and people tend to inhale deeper, leaving the smoke in the lungs for much longer (than cigarettes or other tobacco products). The American Thoracic Society strongly argues against the smoking of marijuana, citing that it can cause large air sacs (bullae) to form in the lungs which could pop and cause lung collapse, ironically this is more likely to happen to marijuana smokers who are younger rather than older (under 45).

There are alternatives to smoking, many people who don’t already smoke but want to get the benefits of medical marijuana choose to either ingest the product through edible items (such as cookies or brownies) or vapor (where the cannabis is heated at a lower temperature than burning which releases the active ingredients into a steam or vapor which can then be inhaled).

Some people may find that medical marijuana offers temporary relief from some of the symptoms of COPD, but as it also comes with the side effect of getting high, there is a moral and safety dilemma for many.

MORE: The four stages of COPD

COPD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. Cassidy says:

    Would you please comment on the use of cannabis OIL for COPD? It doesn’t contain THC, so getting high wouldn’t be a concern. Thank you!

  2. Dominik S. Jones says:

    Cannabis can help with COPD.
    I myself use cannabis tea since my first lung
    surgery that I had when I was twenty-one.

    It can really help with weight issues
    that I have since my first surgery.

    It really helps with insomnia. I just couldn’t
    sleep and I tried everything but I always woke up in the night.

    Also, helps with the pains of wasting when you lose a lot of muscle mass.

    And in my case, I stopped getting sick that often, but I’m not 100% sure that has to do with cannabis.

    Just don’t smoke it!!
    Eat it, vape it or use it as oil.
    And if you don’t want to be “high”
    just stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

    (ok I just want to clarify that I’m not telling anyone to stick a bud up their anal cavity since
    I don’t want to get sued by some stoner who lives in Co, so pls ask your doctor about
    the option of suppository administration first^^)

    I had six surgeries in total, losing half my right lung and one-third of my left lung.

    But I don’t need any hard meds except my Budiair inhaler and can go to work just like any other person.

    I even started to exercise, I do tai-chi
    an hour a day, go three to five km walking every day and feel really good.

  3. just me says:

    I have found marijuana edibles to be very helpful in COPD. Not smoking but eating it in the form of a cookie. It relaxed me, I was not as fearful or anxious about having breathing attacks where my bronchial tubes swell down to the size of one of those tiny straws you would stir coffee with. It’s horrible, one is not getting hardly any air and it lasts for about 45 mins, and it’s terrifying. Those attacks were not as bad and were less frequent. I have end stage and want to ask my doctor about being allowed to use it. The state I live in it is legal. I think there is a lot of benefit to using it. Also, doctors will say COPD is not a painful disease. I beg to differ! Your chest muscles always hurt and you just hurt to breathe. Peace out

  4. James R. Olson says:

    How about a simple yes or no answer to the question, along with a citation of your source, since we can’t trust bozoes like you to know what they are talking about. A simple yes or no!

  5. Barb Smith says:

    My husband is a COPD patient and has suffered terribly for the last three years. He is (was) on oxygen 24/7 and suffered serious shortness of breath anytime went from room to room in our house. He also spit up so much mucus everyday it was unbelievable. I ended up getting him some tincture made from Marijuana. He has been taking it for about a month and a half now. First off, the mucus production cut in half within a week. After that it continued to where he wasn’t coughing up anything. Then he noticed that he was really getting around without shortness of breath (still wearing his Oxygen). We started going out and about shopping etc. with his portable unit. By week three, his oxygen levels had gone up without the oxygen and were staying about 88-89. He was looking and feeling so much better. This week which is about 6 weeks since he started, he has only used his oxygen when he goes to bed because he checks every hour and is level is staying between 94 and 98 even when he is up and about doing some things he hasn’t done for years. Last week he went out and walked a mile three days, carrying his O2 meter and his portable oxygen. He never used the oxygen because his level stayed around 94. Right now he is outside weeding the garden! He is ecstatic but trying to remain cautiously optimistic. I am so enjoying seeing my old husband again and certainly hope it stays this way.

    • Judy Johnson says:

      hey, Barb how would I get the tincture?I have severe copd would love to try it.would appreciate any help.Judy

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