It may come as a surprise that COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD makes breathing difficult. It’s progressive, incurable, and potentially fatal.
It can be prevented and treated when diagnosed early. The American Lung Association supports those affected with a variety of resources and information about the disease.
Symptoms increase with time, causes are clear, and treatments vary. And, CBD may contribute to a treatment regimen.
What’s the problem?
A healthy respiratory system inhales a mixture of oxygen, other gases, and environmental elements. The inhale passes through the windpipe or trachea that filters the air. That leads to two branches or bronchi that lead into the lungs.
From the lungs, the oxygen moves through tissue walls into the bloodstream where it is carried throughout the body and brain. And, while it circulates, the red cells absorb the carbon dioxide to carry it back to the lungs to be exhaled. The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide occurs in lungs’ alveoli.
- Chronic bronchitis inflames of the bronchial airways inside your lungs. Tiny hair-like cilia line those airways and sweep mucus up to keep them clear. Once the cilia are damaged, they can’t do their job. It becomes harder to cough up mucus leaving your airways swollen and clogged, making it hard to breathe.
- Emphysema results from damage to the alveoli. These air sacs stretch out, and the lungs enlarge making it difficult to move air in and out. With old air trapped inside the alveoli, there’s no room for new air. That keeps oxygen from entering the system or carbon dioxide for getting out.
- Refractory (non-reversible) asthma fails to respond to standard asthma medications. The medications fail to reverse the tightening and swelling airways.
People with COPD experience chronic cough, widespread fatigue, and frequent respiratory infections. The breathing difficulties put victims at risk for heart attacks, strokes, and lung cancer.
The Mayo Clinic lists COPD symptoms including a frequent cough, excess mucus production, wheezing, cyanosis (bluing) of lips and fingernail beds, weight loss, swollen ankles, and lack of energy.
And, because it progressively limits activities and quality of life, it leads to anxiety, depression, and stress.
What causes COPD?
Smoking tobacco is the most common cause. Other environmental factors include inhaling fuels from burning coal fires, toxic chemicals, second-hand smoke, and other pollutants. At least 20% to 30% of chronic tobacco smokers will develop COPD.
There is also evidence of a genetic predisposition. Some 1% of cases occur in people with low levels of alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAt), a lung-protecting protein made in the liver.
How can you prevent COPD?
The easiest, smartest, and most effective way to prevent COPD is to never smoke or stop smoking immediately.
If your work exposes you to fumes and dust, you should optimize protective equipment—or quit and find another job.
If you live in areas with high air pollution, you should wear masks when outdoors and increase your awareness of the signs and symptoms of COPD.
How can you treat COPD?
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute covers the treatments in detail.
- Bronchodilators ease your breathing by relaxing the muscles around your airways.
- Bronchodilators plus inhaled Glucocorticosteroids. Steroids reduce inflammation, but long-term use of steroids has risks.
- Vaccines for flu and pneumonia can reduce incidents of aggravating respiratory incidents. COPD patients are susceptible to complications, so vaccines can be protective options.
- Pulmonary rehab seeks to improve the overall well-being of those with breathing problems. It involves monitored exercise, disease management, and nutritional and psychological advice.
- Oxygen therapy requires an oxygen apparatus to deliver oxygen through a mask or nasal prongs.
- Surgical options remove damaged section of the lungs or transplant lungs.
And, what about CBD?
CBD won’t cure COPD. And, no one should get their CBD through smoking cannabis. Inhaling cannabis byproducts or infused products by vaping, dabbing, or other means risks lung damage.
CBD is available in a variety of forms, but what does it do for COPD? It treats conditions and symptoms.
- CBD is a proven anti-inflammatory, the leading problem with COPD.
- As CBD counters inflammation. it improves sleep experience, reduces mucus production, perks up appetite, eases pain, and delivers bronchodilation effects.
- And, it can treat the anxiety, depression, and stress that accompany COPD.
Broad spectrum, hemp-sourced CBD products are legal and available everywhere. It’s easy to stop smoking or avoid smoking with CBD options:
- CBD edibles include gummy candies and lollipops you can use discretely throughout the day.
- CBD capsules are a convenient option that gives you confidence about accurate dosing.
- CBD oils are popular ways to treat symptoms with an easy sublingual administration.
- CBD lotions and creams let you apply transdermal benefits to painful areas.
CBD products can ease the tension and stress attached to COPD. As it reduces these indirect symptoms, it facilitates rest and recovery.
What’s left to think about?
Little research has focused on the relationship between CBD and COPD. Some research warns against the negative impacts of smoking cannabis. But, little examines the results of CBD as a therapeutic benefit for those suffering from respiratory problems.
Research has analyzed the positive properties of CBD, and the anecdotal history supports its helpful mechanism. So, you can infer how CBD can and does relieve COPD symptoms. Then, all you need to find and use are THC-free CBD products.