Could CBD Oil Be Useful for COPD?

You can’t turn around these days without hearing another claim about how CBD oil or other cannabis products are the answer to just every medical problem, from pain to cancer to anxiety and more. I even had several friends suggest I get CBD oil for my dog for a recent health crisis!

COPD is no exception. Do a Google search for “CBD oil and COPD” and you’ll find there are hundreds of thousands of results. Most of them claim CBD oil will help, or even cure, COPD. So, I’m sure our readers are wondering—is this true? Could CBD oil change my life with COPD?

This post will attempt to answer that question.

What Is COPD?

COPD is a chronic progressive disease of the respiratory system. Inflammation in the lungs obstructs the airways and makes it hard to breathe. There is no cure for COPD, but it is treatable and proper treatment can greatly slow the progression of the illness for many years. Treatment generally centers on lessening the symptoms of COPD and reducing the risk of complications, as well as exacerbations, or flare-ups.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD is an abbreviation that stands for cannabidiol, which is one of the active ingredients in cannabis, or marijuana. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of the other major active ingredients. THC is what causes the so-called “high” with cannabis.1

CBD can be found in essential oils or in edible products such as brownies or candy. A brewery in my town in Colorado is even planning to add CBD to sparkling water in the near future.

Many states these days have legalized marijuana and other products containing CBD and/or THC. Some of the legalization is only for what is termed “medical marijuana,” that requires a doctor’s prescription. But in other states, it has been legalized for recreational use as well.

How Might CBD Oil Help with COPD?

Various studies suggest that both CBD and THC may have anti-inflammatory effects, at least in animals.1,2 I could not find many studies in scientific, peer-reviewed journals that studied the effects of CBD specifically on humans with COPD.

Still, the fact that these effects have been seen in animals is encouraging. There seem to be various reasons for this effect on inflammation. One theory is that CBD triggers receptor cells in the body that reduce airway inflammation. It is also believed that cannabinoids may relax the airways. Both of these effects could make it easier to breathe.

Then, there is the anecdotal evidence that CBD oil might help with COPD, among other illnesses. In fact, a review of the literature in 2015 even found that a Chinese emperor circa 2000 B.C. mentioned the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis for rheumatism in a document.3

In Summary

Honestly, I believe the jury is still out on how useful CBD oil or other cannabidiol products might be in treating COPD. Sure, there are tons of claims out there. But there is also a lack of scientific evidence from reputable sources. Hopefully, in the future, more definitive research on this topic will be done.

But for now, I would urge caution in proceeding on this path. Definitely talk to your doctor first! And remember, it’s not a good idea to smoke marijuana if you have any kind of respiratory disease.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
View References
  1. Echo. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Cannabinoids and CBD Research Overview. ECHO Connection. https://echoconnection.org/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease-copd-medical-cannabis-and-cbd-research-overview/. Published August 9, 2017. Accessed March 12, 2019.
  2. Ribeiro A, Almeida VI, Costola-De-Souza C, et al. Cannabidiol improves lung function and inflammation in mice submitted to LPS-induced acute lung injury. Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology. 2015;37(1):35-41. doi:10.3109/08923973.2014.976794
  3. Burstein SH, Zurier RB. Cannabinoids, Endocannabinoids, and Related Analogs in Inflammation. The AAPS Journal. 2009;11(1). doi:10.1208/s12248-009-9084-5

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