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Dosing cbd oil for asthma

CBD for Asthma

Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children globally with over 339 million people living with asthma worldwide. And according to the World Health Organization, asthma is vastly under-diagnosed and under-treated, creating a substantial burden to both individuals and families, often restricting the individuals’ activities for a lifetime.

Characterized by restricted breathing, asthma is often misdiagnosed as allergies as the symptoms are very similar and mostly only seen when triggered. However, even when asymptomatic, asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the lungs that is always present.

Anyone can develop asthma, although it seems that some people are more susceptible and may experience more severe symptoms. For example, although asthma is more common in children, compared to adults, they are four times less likely to die from it. Moreover, boys are more likely than girls to develop asthma, but women are more likely to get asthma than men. So, although the cause of asthma is still presently unknown, because of these patterns, genetic abnormalities are considered the most likely factor.

Pathophysiology of Asthma

In healthy individuals, allergens generally cause few minimal problems. However, in asthma patients, an allergen or other substance entering the lungs causes the immune system to perceive the substance as foreign, triggering an abnormal immune and inflammatory response as well as a hyper-reactivity of the airways.

It is this inflammation in the bronchial tubes that is the primary characteristic of asthma is characterized by inflammation. This bronchial inflammation is caused by immune cells called T-helper cells (Th1 and Th2) that produce pro-inflammatory proteins called cytokines that are produced when the lungs experience a trigger. These rising levels of cytokines, IL-13 in particular, also results the secretion of excess mucus that further obstructs to the airways. And finally, the airways of asthma patients also then to contract too much and too easily when triggered, which together causes wheezing, chest tightness, and other asthmatic symptoms.

Symptoms of Asthma

  • Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness and difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness, pain, or pressure in your chest
  • Trouble sleeping because of breathing problems
  • Severe wheezing when breathing both in and out
  • Coughing that won’t stop
  • Very rapid breathing
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Tightened neck and chest muscles, called retractions
  • Difficulty talking
  • Feelings of anxiety or panic
  • Pale, sweaty face
  • Blue lips or fingernails

Asthma Classification & Types

Doctors rank how bad asthma is by its symptoms and as follows:

Mild intermittent asthma: Mild symptoms less than twice a week with nighttime symptoms occurring less than twice a month

Mild persistent asthma: Symptoms three to six times a week with nighttime symptoms occurring three to four times a month. Asthma attacks might also affect activities.

Moderate persistent asthma: Symptoms three to six times a week with nighttime symptoms occurring three to four times a month. Asthma attacks might also affect activities.

Severe persistent asthma: Ongoing symptoms that occur both day and night and notably limit activities.

  • Adult-onset asthma that can start at any age, but it’s more common in people younger than 40
  • Status asthmaticus which are long-lasting asthma attacks that don’t go away when using bronchodilators that are medical emergencies that need treatment right away
  • Asthma in children
  • Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction that happens during physical activity, when breathing in air that’s drier than what’s in the body causing airways to narrow
  • Allergic asthma triggered by allergens
  • Nonallergic asthma that flares in extreme weather (e.g., heat of summer or the cold of winter)
  • Occupational asthma that usually affects people who work around chemical fumes, dust, or other irritating things in the air
  • Eosinophilic asthma which is a severe form marked by high levels of white blood cells called eosinophils. It usually affects adults between 35 and 50 years old.
  • Nocturnal asthma where symptoms get worse at night
  • Cough-variant asthma which, unlike with other types, the only symptom is a long-term cough

Asthma Medications & Treatments

If left undiagnosed or not properly treated, asthma can lead to death. There is currently no cure for asthma, with medications and treatments focussing on symptoms management.

Pharmaceutical Interventions

Patients will often have two medications on hand. One medication is usually for long-term disease management, often including corticosteroids, such as Symbicort, Flovent, and Advair.

However, steroids are powerful drugs and can be dangerous if misused. The second type of medication is quick-acting medication called bronchodilators for the fast relief of symptoms. These are designed to open up the airways and help remove mucus.

If used too long, these medications may cause significant side effects such as infections in the mouth, dental problems, a weakened immune system, diabetes, and even stunted growth in children. Additionally, many patients cannot control or can only partially control their asthma with medication. Especially in cases of severe asthma, patients find little to no relief with medication.

CBD for Asthma

Research and Scientific Evidence on taking CBD for asthma

The clinical evidence for Cannabidiol (CBD) as a viable treatment option for Asthma is in its infancy, but promising, with much of the data illustrating the effects of CBD and the endocannabinoid system (ECS) on asthma.

Activation of cannabinoid receptors prevents antigen-induced asthma-like reaction in guinea pigs

A 2008 animal study published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, researchers evaluated the effects of the CB1 and CB2 receptor agonist CP55, 940 (CP) on antigen-induced asthma-like reaction in sensitized guinea pigs. In addition, they also tested the ability of the CB2 receptor antagonist SR144528 (SR) and CB1 receptor antagonist AM251 (AM) to interfere with the effects of CP.

Lung tissue samples from guinea pigs who displayed clear-cut asthma-like reactions to the inhaled antigens were taken for histopathological and morphometric analyzes along with other immunological and inflammatory parameters, CB1 and CB2 receptor protein expression. From the data, the researchers posited that there is clear evidence that the cannabinoid receptor agonist CP55,940 (CP) is able to counteract the allergen-induced functional, biochemical and histopathological lung changes in a guinea pig model of allergic asthma.

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They concluded that non-psychoactive cannabinoid analogues (such as CBD) may present with bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory activity via the selective targeting of CB1 and CB2 receptors. This could mean that the therapeutic use of these cannabinoids as adjuncts in the treatment of allergic asthma warrants attention.

Evaluation of Serum Cytokines Levels and the Role of Cannabidiol Treatment in Animal Model of Asthma

In a 2015 study published in Mediators of Inflammation, researchers evaluated the role of serum cytokine levels in an animal model of asthma, and the potential anti-inflammatory role of CBD in its treatment.

Twenty-one rats were split into three groups: a control group, an asthma control group, and a final asthmatic group receiving 5 mg/kg of CBD. A serum cytokine assay was performed to measure the levels of several cytokines in the serum of the rats. They found that CBD treatment inhibited the both the production of all but one cytokine as well as blunted Th1 and Th2 responses, indicating that CBD has potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties.

The researchers concluded that CBD demonstrated a protective effect on inflammatory responses in the animal model of asthma. In addition, they found CBD inhibits the production of the cytokines implicated in mucus hyper-secretion, an important characteristic of asthma and contributes to the exacerbation of symptoms. They concluded that their findings suggest a potential for a new asthma treatment since CBD controls the exaggerated inflammatory response that could very well translate to humans.

Cannabidiol reduces airway inflammation and fibrosis in experimental allergic asthma

In another, larger animal study from 2019 and published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, researchers investigated the role of CBD in reducing airway inflammation and fibrosis in experimental allergic asthma.

The researchers induced allergic asthma in 140 mice. They analyzed respiratory mechanics, collagen fiber content in airway and alveolar septa, cytokine levels, and CB1 and CB2 expression to evaluate the effects of CBD on these parameters. Moreover, expressions of CB1 and CB2 in induced sputum of asthmatic individuals and their correlation with airway inflammation and lung function were also evaluated.

They found that CBD treatment, regardless of dosage, decreased airway hyper-responsiveness. However, static lung elastance was only reduced with high dosages. They also found that there was a significant decrease in collagen fiber content as well as the markers associated with inflammation. In asthmatic patients, the data indicated that there was a marked, inverse correlation between CB1 levels and lung function.

This lead them to conclude that CBD treatment decreased the inflammatory and remodeling processes in the model of allergic asthma, with the mechanisms of action appearing to be mediated by CB1/CB2 signaling. However, the protective CBD effects on the inflammatory response appear to be more complex, and generally independent of receptor agonism.

Anecdotal Evidence on CBD use for asthma

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some asthma sufferers need to use their rescue inhalers less frequently when vaporizing or nebulizing CBD. Similarly, those who have tried CBD oil or capsules found that it seems to have reduced the frequency and intensity of attacks and improve breathing.

CBD as a Complementary Treatment for asthma

Many people suffering from asthma also report having sleep problems, feelings of anxiety and depression. In one large case series study investigating the effects of CBD on anxiety and sleep, the results indicate CBD helps improve sleep and/or anxiety in clinical populations. Similarly, CBD can further support asthma sufferers by reducing stress, anxiety, depression while also helping to promote REM sleep that is thought to help improve overall mood.

Bottom Line

Scientific and anecdotal evidence both suggest that CBD can support asthma sufferers with researchers having shown its potential to reduce bronchial inflammation, inhibit mucus production and prevent airway obstruction. However, it is also important to remember that asthma is a serious, chronic condition which can have a short as well as long-term impact on health. If you or a loved one are suffering from asthma and want to try CBD, talk to your medical practitioner first. He or she can help put together a plan that includes CBD along with other treatment options to help you deal with it safely and effectively.

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CBD and Asthma: Does CBD Oil Help People with Asthma?

CBD may help with asthma, but the evidence we have is less than ideal, to say the least. But that doesn’t change the fact that asthma continues to affect millions of people in the U.S.

Conventional treatments are available, with different degrees of success. However, not everyone reacts well and might want an alternative option.

Although CBD and asthma are loosely connected, there’s a chance it may help with the difficult and potentially dangerous complications associated with the condition.

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So does CBD oil work for asthma? If so, what are its benefits and limitations for using CBD for asthma? How do you even begin using CBD? We’ll discuss those questions and more.

Does CBD Oil Help with Asthma?

CBD oil may help with asthma, as it addresses some of the reactions – like inflammation – associated with many different conditions. However, research is pretty sparse on which (if any) types of asthma are controllable or treatable using CBD.

According to the American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology , there are six types of asthma:

  • Allergic
  • Non-allergic
  • Occupational
  • Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction
  • Asthma-COPD overlap
  • Adult-onset asthma

Again, we have little research to work with. From what we know so far, CBD seems to impact some kinds of asthma. Studies don’t cover all six asthma types. Allergic and non-allergic categories received the most attention, so we’ll focus on them.

Research on CBD and Allergic Asthma

As the name implies, allergic asthma symptoms start when triggered by allergens. This could range from pollen to cockroaches, according to the Cleveland Clinic .

CBD may support the treatment of allergic asthma – at least if you’re a mouse. A 2019 study in the European Journal of Pharmacology looked at allergic asthma in mice. They found that CBD helped reduce “airway hyperresponsiveness” through its indirect link with the CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors. Through these pathways, CBD helps alert the body to create an anti-inflammatory response.

There’s now evidence this experimental treatment works on humans. Naturally, we need more animal and human trials.

Research on CBD and Non-Allergic Asthma

Research into cannabinoids as bronchodilators in non-allergic asthma dates back several decades. A 1984 experiment published in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics saw results with delta-9 and delta-8 THC but noticed no change with CBD.

However, the CBD dose was a massive 1200 mg – far above the necessary amount for a new consumer. Given cannabidiol’s biphasic behavior, such a serving might not have been necessary. “Biphasic” means CBD’s potency isn’t linear. Once you exceed your ideal dose, the benefits start to drop.

Below is an image showing a visual of what the Biphasic Effect is:

The researchers likely didn’t know or fully acknowledge this issue. It begs the question as to whether gradually introducing CBD might have yielded different results.

Could CBD have worked otherwise? Only full clinical human trials can answer that question.

What Does Asthma Do to Your Body?

Although asthma is well-defined, there’s no “textbook case.” In other words, every patient experiences different severities and triggers. Treatment responses may also differ.

But regardless of what you deal with, asthma’s inflammatory response constricts the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Inevitably, the reaction leads to things like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

Universally, it’s a condition that can be limiting or potentially deadly in the case of severe asthma. Oral and inhaled medications are available for treatment and prevention, but there’s no cure.

This may not be news to you as an asthma patient, but you might be surprised at how CBD oil may improve your quality of life.


We all know asthma is a potentially deadly respiratory condition, but how does it work? According to the American Lung Association , asthma puts the lining of your airways into a “hypersensitive state.” Airways become red and swollen, much like how our skin reacts to sunburns.

Some known asthma triggers include:

  • Weather changes
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Allergens
  • Chemicals
  • Smoke

While a trigger doesn’t necessarily lead to a life-threatening emergency, it likely will cause a “flare-up” or “asthma attack.”

While the airways inflame and constrict, surrounding muscles also tighten. In some cases, this can fully obstruct breathing. At this point, you’ll need urgent medical care.

Could CBD help with coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath during an asthma attack? Theoretically, yes, it could. There’s a lot of supporting evidence for CBD’s potential anti-inflammatory properties. Since inflammation is the driving mechanism during a flare-up, there’s a chance CBD may work.

But – not to sound like a broken record – we need more research.


If treated, patients can live fairly normal lives. However, if you fail to address the problem, asthma could cause a condition called “airway remodeling.”

According to the American Lung Association, ignoring asthma eventually leads to long-term or permanent damage. Eventually, these scars worsen and reduce the effectiveness of asthma medications.

How is Asthma Treated?

Fortunately for patients, there are many treatment options. The American Lung Association tells us medications available for both long-term preventative solutions and short-term immediate relief.

One option is an anti-inflammatory medication. Again, this function brings us back to CBD and its reported potential to reduce swelling.

Preventing Asthma Attacks

Since there’s no cure for asthma, your only options are treatment and prevention. Remember that ignoring it is the worst thing you can do, so don’t wait.

Prevention is the best treatment. Prescription medicines can be very effective, but avoiding triggers is also an excellent way to avoid flare-ups.

What Asthma Patients Say About CBD for Asthma

Not only are there success stories, but many are quite old. This shows CBD and asthma were on a lot of people’s minds.

For instance, a Reddit post four years ago by “DoxyRuby” says:

“Within 2 days [of vaping CBD], I went down to using my rescue inhaler once or twice a day. For the last three weeks, I’ve used it a total of 4 times – once when I went out into the cold winter air, and three times when I went somewhere that was dusty and had dogs (which I’m allergic to).”

Similarly, an unnamed Reddit user was surprised by the effectiveness of CBD capsules, saying:

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“I was experimenting with CBD capsules (also targeting other aches and pains) and it seemed to reduce the frequency and intensity of flare-ups. So was ok on a lower dose preventative.”

Are There any Side Effects of Taking CBD for Asthma?

Yes, CBD has some commonly-known side effects, but they’re mild and often temporary. A 2017 study in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research noticed the following CBD side effects:

  • Fatigue
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Diarrhea

CBD also interacts with certain medications, which could trigger other side effects. It’s important to verify with a doctor first, as the interference could be dangerous.

We’ll get into that next.

Can CBD Interfere with Any Asthma Medications?

Yes, CBD could interfere with some asthma medications, but we don’t have a full list.

As for asthma, the District of Colombia Department of Health mentions just one medication so far. They advise that smoking cannabis reduces the levels of theophylline. The drug prevents asthma flare-ups by relaxing the airways.

We have no information about whether CBD oil or any ingested CBD interacts with theophylline. Along with asthma, the drug treats lung illnesses like chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The issue stems from CBD’s presence in the liver, which metabolizes CBD using the P450 liver enzyme family. Unfortunately, many medications do the same.

When forced to “share” the enzyme, CBD dilutes or increases the medication’s blood concentration. This problem could theoretically reduce or increase the effects of oral asthma medications.

Consequently, this can weaken the medicine’s benefits or trigger side effects. In a worst-case scenario, the contradiction could impact lung function.

How to Use CBD Oil for Asthma

It’s easy to use CBD oil for asthma. Dosing is a matter of slow titration, while you can easily measure your intake using a marked dropper.

Just hold the tincture under your tongue for 60-90 seconds (or as indicated on the label) and swallow.

But before you try cannabis oil for asthma, there’s some crucial information to keep in mind, including side effects, safety concerns, consumption methods, and dosing.

Do CBD Inhalers Help with Asthma?

Yes, it’s likely CBD inhalers help with asthma. Unsurprisingly, there don’t appear to be any human trials in something so specific. But the 2019 study mentioned earlier used inhalable CBD mist.

Again, the mist yielded promising results as a bronchodilator.

Is it Safe to Vape CBD with Asthma?

No, it’s not safe to vape CBD with asthma unless you fully understand your triggers. Some people immediately notice their airways relax from vaping CBD. However, if smoke exacerbates your asthma symptoms, inhaling CBD could cause a reaction.

It’s important to mention that cannabinoids vaporized in oil or e-liquid don’t generate smoke but rather a vapor aerosol. This could impact whether or not the CBD products trigger flare-ups.

Regardless, asthma patients shouldn’t vape or start using CBD until they speak with a doctor.

How much CBD to Take For Asthma

There’s no exact answer for a proper CBD dose for asthma. However, a 2017 study in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research found that participants could consume up to 1,500 mg of CBD.

Unfortunately, we’re just as blind as they are in that area. We know that suddenly giving new users 1,500 mg of CBD isn’t the best approach. Again, CBD is biphasic, so it’s possible starting so high could hamstring cannabidiol’s effects.

Many factors influence dose, including:

  • Sex
  • Weight
  • Age
  • Tolerance
  • Metabolism
  • Symptom severity

Make sure to read our blog post on CBD dosing to understand how CBD dosing works and how you can maximize your results.

Type of CBD

The CBD products you choose also influence dosing. There are three categories to choose from:

  • Full-spectrum : retains all cannabinoids and terpenes
  • Isolate: no cannabinoids or terpenes other than pure (up to 99%) CBD
  • Broad-spectrum : middle ground where only THC is filtered out

Isolate isn’t the best choice because it contains pure CBD without the other cannabinoids and terpenes to improve or focus the therapeutic effects. If you decide to use isolate, odds are you’ll need a lot more than its counterparts.

Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum are reportedly better than isolate. Full-spectrum CBD oil doesn’t deliberately filter out other compounds. Consequently, it could contain up to 0.3% THC.

Broad-spectrum manages to retain everything else while completely removing THC.

Consumption Method

Using CBD for asthma is difficult since we know so little about its benefits or side effects. Vaping is fast-acting, but there are concerns about how it may trigger an asthma attack.

Oral CBD products are preferable, such as CBD oil or CBD gummies. They’re easier to dose than vaping, but you risk potential drug interactions.

How to Find Your Optimal CBD Dosage

You find your optimal CBD dosage through slow, steady increases. There’s some flexibility, but it’s best to use the lowest dose possible for the first few days, then gradually increasing as needed.

This “start low and go slow” method is meant to avoid taking too much CBD. Cannabidiol is biphasic, meaning it reaches a peak where additional CBD will reduce the effectiveness. Starting gradually not only prevents you from overshooting the “sweet spot,” but it also helps your body gradually adjust to CBD.

For more information, check out this dosage guide from Colorado Botanicals , including a handy dosage calculator to help pinpoint your dose in seconds.

Final Thoughts on CBD and Asthma

CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects on asthma need way more research. Theoretically, there could be potential. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely CBD for asthma will be at the forefront of medical research.

Hopefully, in time, we’ll discover enough information to help improve the lives of asthma patients everywhere.