A Breath of Fresh Air: Asthma Relief Using Marijuana

Asthma is the shortness of breath and wheezing caused by spasms of the bronchial tubes, overproduction of mucus, and by swelling of the mucous membranes. A combination of genetic and environmental factors is believed to be the cause of asthma, and currently there is no cure. Avoiding triggers, such as allergens and irritants, can prevent symptoms, and there are a number of medications available such as fast acting inhalers like Albuterol, or long-term control such as Corticosteroids.

In short, it’s an irritating and occasionally life-threatening condition. Can medical marijuana help those suffering from it?

According to renowned pulmonologist and professor of medicine at the University of California Donald P. Taskin, yes it can. “Recent studies demonstrated significant, acute bronchi-dilation in healthy young men after they smoked marijuana”, he said. And other doctors have spoken as well, including Dr Tamás Freund of the Institute of Experimental Medicine of Budapest, who stated that the knowledge gleaned from this research could alter the way respiratory illnesses are treated.

Clinical research indicates that THC in both synthetic and natural forms acts as a bronchial dilator that clears blocked air passageways, causes an immediate reversal of exercise-induced asthma and hyperinflation and allows free breathing. These results may be grounds for an alternative treatment to steroids, and the Institute of Medicine and other medical authorities have recommended alternative methods of administration in order to test this. Plans for a non-combusting THC inhaler received attention for many years. Designers have failed to produce a workable proto type thus far, but are diligently continuing their research.