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Can Marijuana Help COPD?

23 Mar 2015
| Under COPD, Lung Disease, Treatments | Posted by | 44 Comments
Marijuana and COPD Lung Institute

Has a new form of treatment been discovered?

For those who suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other respiratory illnesses, the desire to find a form of treatment that can address their symptoms without negatively affecting their health can be all-consuming. Today, medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and Washington D.C., leading many Americans to ask, “What are the real benefits of medical marijuana?” Although studies on the subject have been sparse given the mixed legality of the substance, there are those that state that marijuana is beneficial and others that claim it is only harmful. Though the topic is a controversial one, as time moves forward, the use of medical marijuana has generally become more widely accepted.

With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to provide the facts on this ongoing issue, and find an answer to the question: Can Marijuana Help COPD?

Wondering if you qualify for stem cell therapy? Click here and our staff will be able to tell you today!

COPD and Marijuana

Can Marijuana Help COPD?

The symptoms of COPD are brought about by acute inflammation of the airways, obstructing and inhibiting normal breathing. In treating COPD, medications such as inhalers and corticosteroids work as anti-inflammatory agents reducing inflammation and dilating the respiratory airways. However, these forms of medication can be expensive over time and often come with negative side-effects from weight gain, blood sugar imbalance, and infection.

Recently it has been found that medical marijuana and its reported efficacy in treating respiratory illness has been linked to anti-inflammatory properties. These chemicals or cannabinoids are known to have several additional functions as well:

  • Promote better sleep
  • Serve to support the immune system
  • Possess anti-microbial properties
  • Work as an expectorant (reduce phlegm)
  • Can relieve pain

Despite the positive benefits of marijuana, the issue still remains that the act of smoking is unequivocally harmful to respiratory health.

Marijuana: The Act of Smoking

Can Marijuana Help COPD?

Though many proponents of medical marijuana may cite the benefits of the drug on respiratory health, what they often overlook are the incredibly negative effects of long term smoking on the lungs. According to the CDC, cigarette smoke contains over 700 chemicals and deposits nearly four times as much tar in the lungs as cigarette smoke.

Advocates of medical marijuana often believe that marijuana is inherently better for respiratory health than tobacco. However, marijuana can just as often be worse. Marijuana cigarettes or joints do not contain a filter, and due to the method in which it is inhaled (deeply), and held within the lungs (longer), the lungs are exposed to the harmful effects of marijuana smoke longer than traditional cigarette smoking. But does marijuana have to be smoked?

Alternatives to Smoking

Can Marijuana Help COPD?

As medical and recreational marijuana use has spread into the mainstream, the methods in which it is consumed have rapidly advanced. Where smoking was once the traditional form of consumption, now methods such as vaporizing and eating ‘edibles’ have become the norm, effectively eliminating the adverse effects of smoke inhalation.

  • Vaporizing- a method in which marijuana is heated at a cooler temperature (329 F) than required for burning (combustion) releasing the active ingredients of marijuana into a safer gas or vapor.
  • Edible consumption- a method in which active ingredients are essentially cooked out of the marijuana and added to food. Typically these chemicals are reduced down to a simple oil, this oil can be used in the creation of baked goods such as cookies, muffins, brownies, candy and even lemonade.

Medical marijuana can serve as a temporary method of treatment, but the inability to avoid the side effects (being ‘high’) and the mixed legality of it leaves its use as a future form of medication uncertain. Although COPD currently has no cure, new discoveries are being made every day in the field of stem cell research. As the scientific community continues to put their best minds to the task of solving the problems and complications of the human body, the Lung Institute will continue to bring these advancements to the public with the hope of bettering quality of life for those who need it most.

If you’re looking to make a profound change in your life or the life of someone you love, the time is now. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, or another lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of stem cell treatment options. Contact us at (800) 729-3065 today to find out if you qualify for stem cell therapy.

Suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and considering medical marijuana? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts and comments on the question of Can Marijuana Help COPD below.

44 Comments

  1. PB

    1 month ago

    Dear Lou,

    First and foremost, we’re sorry to hear that you have been going through such a difficult time with COPD. Like you, many people with COPD develop or have a chronic cough and shortness of breath. We’re not familiar with or associated with any stem cell clinics or medical professionals in Australia, so we’re not able to recommend anyone. However, you can talk with your doctor to see if he or she can recommend someone, such as a pulmonologist, who may be able to help. We wish you the best.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  2. Lou

    1 month ago

    Hi guys

    I have been diagnosed with COPD sometime ago and have been placed on inhalers without success. I gave up smoking in November 2009 expecting to breathe better but it never happened. I am short of breath and have develop a chronic cough that drives me crazy.
    My doctors are not really giving me any options and I only want to be able to walk freely.
    Can you put me in contact with someone in Canberra, Australia that might be able to help. I am willing to try canabis oil if that could help, I just want my avail to regenerate.

  3. Simon Hardinsky

    2 months ago

    I live in Virginia where any kind of Cannabis is highly illegal. Cannabis oil is legal for epilepsy and marijuana is legal for those who have cancer or glaucoma. Since I have stage three emphysema I cannot access cannabis of any kind. I know for a fact that even smoked pot opens up my lungs like nothing else however Virginia is the seat for the pharmaceutical industry, especially Richmond, Virginia and money trickles down from the top to keep cannabis illegal because F.D.A. approved medications are so very profitable since most of the expense of a drug after F.D.A. approval is seen in marketing and advertising. This is a shame because a natural herb is the very best remedy with no side effects.

  4. Ronald vaughn

    3 months ago

    marijuana has plagued my life. having been homeless, drug dealers “front” the drug until you get your disability check , unemployment, or food stamps, then the drug dealers ‘collection thugs” come around on those days for their money. you try to get an apt. or hotel room and can’t afford it. this kept me in rescue missions, food lines homeless for a very long time. This started after I started smoking cigarettes, trying to feel I belonged to a part of society. and always when you buy street drugs, other drugs are going to be offered Now their is a drug mixing heroin and fentynyl used to anesthetize elephants. cigarettes are a gateway drug.

  5. Fred

    4 months ago

    My hereditary bronchiectasis has been the same everyday for 45 years the only thing that ever helped me cough and loosen the mucus so I felt I could breathe easier is Cannabis. Nothing else creates that more unclogged feeling like Cannabis does, eaten, vaped or smoked, the smoke is light, floral and antibiotic naturally.

  6. PB

    4 months ago

    Dear Dave,

    Thanks for your comment. We have reached out to your patient coordinator, and your patient coordinator will contact you directly to discuss this further.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  7. Dave Owens

    4 months ago

    I have been diagnosed w/ COPD, I’m 67 and scheduled for Stem Cell Therapy in Cranberry, Pa.approximately in January/ February of 2017. I used to smoke generally 11/2 packs a day and quit cold turkey 31 years ago. I have mild bronchitis. Could I elect to have some form of cannabis treatment administered like in an inhaler on a once a month basis very low dosages to see if any benefit could come of this? I figure it this way, what do I have to lose, since this CBC has shown to reduce inflamation and helping lung cancer patients, maybe it could help in healing some parts of my lungs. My information is on file w/ the Lung Institute-Tampa, Fla. Stevie Gordon. Thank you for your time, anxiously await your response via my e-mail!

  8. Mily

    4 months ago

    Please only choose hospice if ur family is ready to pass. The morphone doesn’t help your breathing it realaxe’s you enough to make u not even think about breathing and they will keep up in the dose to quote keep them comfortable until evenly they will not be able to do anything for themselves this process take’s as little as 1week to 6months. we are currently about to try cbd therapy on my mom she has stage 4 copd.. still full of life but generally uncomfortable from the pain of poor circulation bc she is able to get up much due to shortness of breath. Diabetes they list goes on and on thanks to big pharma pusing pills to make money. We are hopine to ease her mind will update when we know more_

  9. PB

    4 months ago

    Dear Becky,

    First and foremost, we’re sorry to hear about the difficulties your father is having with COPD, CHF and breathing. Because of the personal nature of your question, it’s best to discuss any possible changes to your father’s treatment plan with his doctor before trying other options. Your father’s doctor knows him, his health situation and his treatment plan well, so your father’s doctor will be able to best guide you on the risks and benefits on the use of edibles in your father’s situation. We wish you and your father the best.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  10. Becky

    4 months ago

    Hello, my father is 76 and on Hospice with stage 4 COPD and CHF. He is currently taking morphine when his breathing becomes extremely difficult and does not have an easy time doing so because of the side effects. Should I talk to him about trying edibles?

  11. PB

    5 months ago

    Dear Jane,

    Thanks for your comment. Because chronic lung diseases affect everyone differently and because of the variety of personal treatment plans for people lung disease, it’s best to discuss questions, concerns and other options, such as medical marijuana, with the doctor before changing the current treatment plan.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  12. Jane

    5 months ago

    Looks like the only answers given here are, “Ask your doctor”….not a lot of help.

  13. PB

    5 months ago

    Dear Nancy,

    Because your doctor knows you and your health situation well, it’s important to discuss changes to your treatment plan with your doctor before trying those changes. Your doctor will be able to answer your questions about medical marijuana, and he or she can advise you on the benefits and risks. We’re happy to answer your questions regarding stem cell treatment options, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  14. Nancy Card

    5 months ago

    I have COPD, and Mild CHF. I considered medical marijuana, but I don’t want to get high. I like to be in total control of my faculties. I don’t take prescription pain killers, or other meds that alter my mental faculties. I think I will look into stem cell therapy, and if that’s not available to me, then I will just wait until a therapy is available to me that will extend my quality of life.

  15. PB

    5 months ago

    Dear Rose,

    Thanks for your comment. Some researchers are studying the effectiveness of marijuana for a variety of illnesses and other reasons. You can read more about different trials being conducted by clicking here. Before changing your treatment plan, it’s important to discuss it with your doctor. Because your doctor knows you and your health well, he or she will be able to guide you best. We’re happy to answer any questions you have regarding stem cell therapy for COPD, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  16. Rose

    5 months ago

    Are there any effective clinical trials using cannabis oil.
    We as starting seeing a lot if adds. I have COPD.
    I am on several inhalers including Albuterol. We are curious as cannabis is being used to help/heal many disorders.

    Thanks

  17. PB

    7 months ago

    Dear Mr. West,

    Thanks for your comment. It’s important to discuss any possible treatment plan changes with your doctor before modifying your treatment plan. Smoking in any form can cause damage to the lungs, so discussing tips to quit smoking with your doctor is a good idea. You can also discuss edible forms of marijuana with your doctor so that you could receive the benefits of it without smoking.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  18. PB

    7 months ago

    Dear Domonik,

    Thanks for your comment, and we’re glad that you’ve found our article helpful. We recommend talking with your doctor about any new, changing or worsening symptoms, such as chest tightness or coughing. It’s also important to discuss any treatment plan changes with your doctor before modifying your treatment plan.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  19. Domonik

    7 months ago

    Thank you for the article, at least I have room for reason now. As a kid in had farmers lung and to some extent I know I still have issues with my breathing. For the better of 10 years I have used Mary Jane, ideally for the recreational purpose but subconsciously to self medicate. Recently I stopped using in last month and noticed my chest getting tighter in the night. Not smoking is the only thing different I have done and cam attribute to my restless sleep. So I was curious as to whether the two were related. You have given me room for reason and I’d like to say thank you.

  20. Mr West

    7 months ago

    Hi i am determined to quit milds but was hoping i could smoke weed helps me in many other areas. just told i had copd. Never had any real health problems. I’ve smoked weed since 23yrs. Old cigar/black&milds about same im 42.

  21. PB

    8 months ago

    Dear Grady,

    Thanks for your comment. To best answer your questions, it’s important to discuss them with your doctor. Because your doctor knows you and your health the best, he or she will be able to guide you and will know how different medications interact with each other. We recommend writing down any questions or concerns you have and taking them with you to your next doctor’s appointment.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  22. grady swafford

    8 months ago

    smoked mj and ciggs for 30 years. quit ciggs 10 years ago due to copd diagnosis. still a heavy pot smoker, and copd is worsened as a result. have been on Qvar and Abuterol for several years. I’ve had several exacerbations where the inhalers were not effective.
    Aside from running or working out, I manage pretty well doing various chores, mowing lawn, walking,etc.
    recently, I’ve truly felt quitting smoking mj is the most important thing now. My doctor said ot wasn’t good to continue using qvar and albuterol for extended periods of time and she prescribed “spiriva”. it seems like the list of side effects is scary. I wonder if Spiriva is a good idea. I want to try Rick Simpson oil, as it is available in all the shops. Worker told me the brand they sell has a great reputation and is organic, etc. Is it ok to try this while taking pharma inhalers too? any good news about Spiriva?

  23. PB

    8 months ago

    Hello Keith,

    Thanks for your question. To speak one-on-one with one of our patient coordinators, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We are happy to answer any questions you have about stem cell treatment, and we look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  24. keith

    8 months ago

    What number do i need to call from the UK?

  25. Robert

    8 months ago

    i have found that if u do not process it into oil your results may not give you what it should .Nothing negative . I vap the oil you do not need a lot it. I do not qualify for stem cell i have cancer of the blader also.they give me BCG which eliminates me.Good poor going forward.

  26. PB

    8 months ago

    Dear Reece,

    We’re sorry to hear that you’ve been going through such a difficult time. Staying on top of your lung health is important, so seeing your pulmonologist regularly is also important. Remember to write down any questions, concerns or symptoms you have so that you can take them with you to your next appointment. Discussing your questions, concerns and symptoms with your doctor is always important. In the meantime, you can also keep checking in with our blog to read articles on a variety of subjects, such as apple cider vinegar and COPD.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  27. Reece Jacobsen

    8 months ago

    My name is reece and I am actually only about to be 21. Have all sorts of signs of copd or some other respiratory issue (aswell as 2 small nodules), (just waiting on pulmonologist tests) what is best recommended? I’m too young to be going through this

  28. PB

    9 months ago

    Dear Karen,

    First and foremost we’d like to extend our deepest sympathies that your brother did not see the improvements to his pulmonary health that you or he expected. Although 84% of patients in our most recent study have found improvement in their quality of life, the human body is complex and can react in a variety of ways that can be impossible to predict. Unfortunately, 16% may not see any improvement.

    You could start researching about CBD on Google, and you can also ask your brother’s doctor about it. Remember that it’s always important to talk with your brother’s doctor to discuss any questions, concerns, and symptoms before modifying his treatment plan.

    If there is anything we can do for you and your brother moving forward please give us a call at (855) 313-1149, and we’d be happy to help.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  29. karen

    9 months ago

    My brother has copd stage four the stem cell didn’t work was wondering about the cbd need help so bad where do I start how do I find out about this

  30. Cameron Kennerly

    9 months ago

    Hello Edwin,

    Thanks for your comment. Although we would strongly advise against smoking in any form due to the damage it causes to your lungs, if you choose to consume the substance rather than inhale it please keep us updated on your progress. However, if you are looking for an alternative to marijuana that will work to address the disease itself, rather than just the symptoms, please give us a call at (855) 313-1149 to speak with one of our patient coordinators. Stem cell therapy might be the best alternative for handling your symptoms without the psychoactive and physiological effects of marijuana use.

    Looking forward to hearing from you Edwin,

    -The Lung Institute

  31. Edwin

    9 months ago

    I have COPD and yes I’ve smoked marijuana and going to try it in cooking to. Was just trying too fine more information if it was helping with pain to I know about the getting high part. To me it did seem to help with pain to

  32. Martin Gonzalez

    10 months ago

    Folks the component in Marijuana that seems to have great results with epilepsy and COPD and other conditions is the CBD not the THC. CBD Hemp Oil extract is legal to buy in any state as long as the THC content is point something(very little). research youtube lots of info. I have emphesyma now for 7 years have researched this extensively.

  33. PB

    11 months ago

    Hi Stephanie,

    Unfortunately, we’re unfamiliar with RSO. However, for other natural remedies, check out our apple cider vinegar article and our five natural remedies to promote lung function article. We hope you find these helpful.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  34. stephanie cooper

    11 months ago

    My mother is ANTI mmj and has stage 4 COPD what is out there that can help her I’m thinking RSO

  35. PB

    11 months ago

    Hi Dale,

    Thanks for your comment. If you’re looking for more information about medical marijuana, you could try looking up your questions on Google to see what information is available there. If you’re looking for more information about stem cell therapy, please feel free to contact one of our well-qualified patient coordinators at (855) 313-1149. We would be happy to answer your questions.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  36. Dale Bellingshausen

    11 months ago

    At 55, I just learned last week I have COPD. I also live in Texas, where Laws are very different from Colorado! Is there a place where I could learn more on this? Thank you, Dale

  37. Cameron Kennerly

    11 months ago

    Hello Mr. Aronson,

    Although we aren’t qualified to speak on CBD oil, from our research there are several states closer to you in New Jersey that have varying access to medical marijuana and its derivatives. Try this link, it will provide you information on the states and the capital that permit varying degrees of medicinal use. If you ever have any questions regarding stem cell therapy please feel free to reach out to us at (855) 313-1149 and we’d be happy to assist.

    Enjoy your day Merrill,

    -The Lung Institute

  38. Mr Merrill Aronson

    11 months ago

    Have copd and want to try CBD oil extractive product. Where do I go from here? I am 73 and live in NJ. What is my best option-move to Colorado?

    Thank you,

    Mr.
    Merrill Aronson

  39. Lu

    11 months ago

    Now what pulmonologist is going to give information about whether or not to use MM for COPD? Doctors aren’t trained in this. Most likely they’re gonna say no.

  40. Cameron Kennerly

    11 months ago

    Hey Patti,

    Thanks for your question. In response to your inquiry, costs actually depend on treatment type and can therefore vary. If you’d like to get more detailed information on the treatment types that we offer, please feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak with one of our well-qualified patient coordinators. Their wealth of knowledge should be helpful.

    Happy Holidays Patti and we look forward to hearing from you,

    The Lung Institute

  41. patti sullivan

    11 months ago

    Please tell me how much stem cell treatment costs.

  42. Arlo

    12 months ago

    I am 65 years old and have had COPD since 1990. I use small edibles, and a few weeks after starting I went to my doc who said my breathing was better than it has been in the last ten years. Nothing else had changed. The wheezing went away and my need for O2 decreased. Because in California it is terribly expensive I have gone without for a couple of weeks and my breathing isn’t as good. I do not think this is a placebo effect. I only use the kind that does not alter cognitive functioning. I have also used the tinctures. There are chews that resemble a piece of candy. Those are the most helpful. I am however spending approximately $ 300.00 a month. But like everyone else I want to live as long as I can. I also use all of my prescribed medication.

  43. bobby scott

    12 months ago

    I have COPD and when I’m short winded or congested I’ll smoke a joint (if available) and it helps me breathe after a few puffs. However, the first few puffs causes me to almost cough up a lung but after that it’s smooth sailing and I’m breathing good again. It may be illegal but if it helps me breathe to hell with the law. Let’s see…..obeying the law or asphyxiation….I say again …to hell with the law..I wanna live. I’ll take a joint every time.

  44. fae

    2 years ago

    Unlike cigarette smokers people who smoke marijuana did not chain smoke 3 packs of joints a day. When using THC CBD for the treatment of COPD it is not smoked or baked into food. This is in oil form and an amount the size of a grain of rice is placed under the tongue. The user doesn’t get high due to the amount used.

    I have COPD and have had your procedure. I just don’t understand why one alternative treatment doesn’t put more effort into researching the positive effects of another alternative treatment that may work hand in hand to the betterment of the patient.

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

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