Did you know that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, better known by the acronym COPD, is the third most common cause of death by disease in the United States? More than 15.3 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, a condition that can seriously diminish quality of life and often results in a shortened lifespan. While there’s no cure for COPD, doctors have discovered a variety of treatment methods that can help patients cope with the lifestyle changes caused by this condition. In recent years, attention has turned to CBD as a potential new treatment for COPD symptoms. Below, we’ll discuss the current state of scientific research on the connection between COPD and CBD.
What is COPD?
To start, let’s take a closer look at the causes and symptoms of COPD. Also known as chronic bronchitis or emphysema, COPD is a progressive lung disease that, over time, makes it increasingly difficult for patients to breathe. COPD causes the airways of the lungs to become inflamed and thicken; it also damages the tissue where oxygen is exchanged. This causes the airflow in and out of the lungs to be reduced, delivering less oxygen to bodily tissues and removing carbon dioxide less efficiently. This, in turn, leads to the breathing difficulties that are the most common symptoms of COPD, which can make it challenging to work, stay active, and maintain a normal lifestyle.
Extended exposure to irritants that damage the lungs and airways is the most frequent cause of COPD. Though nonsmokers can suffer from COPD, smoking is the most common type of irritant. Additional triggers include secondhand smoke, air pollution, chemicals or other contaminants in the workplace, and a rare genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Over time, COPD can have serious side effects including low levels of oxygen in the blood and lung infections, which can cause significant health complications.
How is COPD Usually Treated?
There’s no cure for COPD, but an early diagnosis and proper treatment plan can slow the progress of the disease and allow patients to maintain a normal lifestyle for as long as possible. Avoiding continued exposure to lung irritants is the first step in treating COPD. Most patients also take some combination of bronchodilators and inhaled steroids to reduce airway inflammation and make it easier to breathe.
In addition to these common medications, many COPD patients find a pulmonary rehabilitation program or oxygen therapy beneficial. In more severe cases, surgical interventions, including lung transplants, may be required.
Can You Use CBD Oil for COPD?
After a COPD diagnosis, treatment is a lifelong and evolving process based on individual patient needs. A combination of the techniques above helps many patients manage their symptoms, but doctors and medical researchers are constantly seeking new options for the treatment of this complex condition. If you or a loved one suffer from COPD and haven’t found success with traditional medications, you might be curious about new alternatives—like CBD oil treatment for COPD.
Why are scientists so interested in a link between CBD and COPD? Because CBD has been studied for its anti-inflammatory effects and its efficacy as a bronchodilator. Both of these properties indicate that CBD could offer relief from the symptoms of COPD.
CBD as an Anti-Inflammatory
Several recent studies of CBD indicate potent anti-inflammatory properties for lung tissue. A 2014 trial showed that CBD improved lung function and reduced inflammation in mice, while a 2009 study looked more broadly at the relationship between CBD and inflammation. Scientists in the 2014 study concluded 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,” indicating promising potential for CBD as a treatment for COPD.
CBD as a Bronchodilator
In addition to its wide-ranging anti-inflammatory properties, CBD has also been explored as a bronchodilatory treatment in several recent studies. Cannabinoids like CBD have been shown to dilate the respiratory air passages, reducing resistance and allowing better airflow into the lungs. This property has been a particular focus for researchers seeking new treatments for asthma, but the bronchodilatory effects of CBD could be equally beneficial for alleviating acute symptoms in COPD patients. By allowing increased airflow, CBD could help COPD patients avoid shortness of breath and low levels of oxygen in the blood, slowing the progress of the disease and lessening the severity of its side effects.
What’s the Right CBD Dosage for COPD?
After reading all of the above, you might be wondering precisely how to use CBD oil for COPD. Because COPD is closely linked to lung irritation, most doctors recommend ingesting CBD, rather than smoking or vaping, to alleviate respiratory symptoms. Patients interested in beginning a CBD treatment plan might consider CBD oil, pressed pills, or gummies.
Along with the right CBD product, it’s also important to find a dosage that meets your needs. There’s no one-size-fits-all dosage for CBD, and you’ll likely have to experiment until you find what works for you. Your weight, body chemistry, and the severity of your symptoms can all determine how much CBD you need; in general, it’s best to start with the lowest possible dose and increase slowly until you notice its effects. Many experts recommend a ratio of 1 to 6mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight. Commercial CBD products usually come with a recommended daily dosage on the packaging, which can also be a good starting point for most adults.
A COPD diagnosis can feel incredibly overwhelming for patients and their loved ones, and finding the right treatment plan is an ongoing process. If you’re a COPD patient who’s considering CBD for the first time, it’s important to discuss your treatment plan with your doctor. He or she can share the latest research on CBD for respiratory conditions, monitor your response to CBD, and make sure that there are no potential interactions with other medications you might be taking.
Due to FDA Regulations, we recommend that you do your own research on CBD products. We also suggest that you read the reviews on our website, where our customers record their real-world results of using our products.