Fraser Horton
Fraser Horton
Last Updated on December 10, 2020

Hemp oil is known to possess many health benefits and it’s being continuously studied for different therapeutic applications. Its benefits have extended into many fields, from cosmetic use to enhancing the immune system, to it being a potential therapeutic option for treating various medical conditions, like breathing problems related to chronic respiratory diseases.

Let’s see what hemp oil can do and how it can alleviate the symptoms of this condition.

What Is COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an obstructive lung disease caused by chronic inflammation in the bronchial tubes that hinders the airflow from the lungs. The main symptoms of COPD are shortness of breath, especially during physical exertion, wheezing, a chronic cough (usually with mucus), and chest tightness.

Typically, the main cause is long-term exposure of the respiratory system to irritants, like gasses (for example while working at a factory), with smoking being the most common cause, and sometimes, vaping. However, this doesn’t mean that all smokers will develop COPD, but the risk is somewhat increased.

COPD is a progressive disease, meaning that the symptoms tend to get worse over time, causing everyday activities like walking or getting dressed to become challenging. However, despite this, there are treatment options for COPD.

With the right medical advice and timely and proper management of symptoms, the patients can slow down the progression, achieve good symptom control and lower the risk of exacerbations or developing other associated complications, like heart problems and high blood pressure.

What Is Hemp Oil and Is It the Same as CBD Oil?

Hemp oil and CBD (cannabidiol) oil are often used interchangeably, which is not far from the truth. However, the confusion arises when hemp oil and hemp seed oil are referred to as the same product.

To clarify, hemp oil and hemp seed oil are different products. Even though they both come from the same hemp plant, they’re extracted from different parts of the plant, resulting in different chemical compositions.

Hemp oil, or hemp CBD oil, is extracted from the flowers, stems, and leaves of the Cannabis sativa plant. These parts of the plant contain active ingredients, so this means that this oil has larger amounts of CBD and very little THC (less than 0.3%), making it non-psychoactive. This means that hemp CBD oil doesn’t attach to the cannabinoid receptors as THC does. 

On the other hand, hemp seed oil, as the name implies, is extracted by cold pressing the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. The seeds don’t contain any cannabinoids, but the oil is rich in other nutrients, like omega fatty acids, vitamin E, and fiber. Hemp seed doesn’t interact with the endocannabinoid system.

Why Hemp CBD Oil Could Be Effective for COPD

COPD is a complex chronic condition and the treatment depends on different individual factors. The goal of therapy would be to stop the progression of the disease and to ease the already-existing symptoms and improve lung function. Many people undergo oxygen therapy or pulmonary rehabilitation after their diagnosis which has been shown to help with the symptoms.

One of the most common symptoms people with COPD experience is shortness of breath. This is usually due to damage in the lungs which results from either airway inflammation or inflammation of the lungs. On that note, CBD is known to possess anti-inflammatory properties that have also been studied in relation to COPD. (Burstein et al, 2009)

A 2015 animal study administered CBD to mice with an induced acute lung injury. Following 24 hours from the administering of CBD, the mice had decreased inflammation in the lung tissue and total lung resistance, and they had an improved lung function.

CBD has also been studied as a bronchodilator. (Makwana et al, 2015) One 2014 study implies that CBD can create better airflow to the lungs by dilating the respiratory airways and lowering resistance. In this way, COPD patients could avoid having low oxygen levels and alleviate some of the breathing difficulties.

How to Use Hemp CBD Oil to Treat COPD

To use hemp CBD oil treatment for COPD, you need to use it in a way that increases its bioavailability, meaning its ability to be fully absorbed in the body. Taking it sublingually would be the superior option even though the taste may be unpleasant. However, in this way, larger amounts of the oil will be able to reach the bloodstream and deliver its benefits.

Dosing

It’s difficult to recommend only one standard dosage for treating COPD mainly for two reasons: one, studies regarding treating COPD with hemp CBD oil are limited, and two, different brands of hemp CBD oil offer varying concentrations of CBD (CBD content may range from 100 mg to 1500 mg of CBD), so it’s impossible to set a standard that would fit everyone.

Therefore, as with other similar cannabis products (like tinctures), it’s best to try to gradually find what works for your particular needs. The use of CBD has many other health benefits as well, so it’s possible that you’ll feel some relief related to other symptoms or ailments you may have, even if it doesn’t seem particularly helpful for COPD.

Safety and Side Effects

Even though CBD is known for its many health benefits, you should always consult with an experienced professional before taking any therapy, especially for a chronic condition like this one. You should also make sure to buy a high-quality one and pay attention to the mg of CBD it contains so you know how much you’re ingesting.

If you’ve decided to take hemp CBD oil to relieve your breathing difficulties, you should be well-informed of the possible side effects of CBD, because depending on the seriousness of your condition, you may be more prone to experiencing some side effects. The most common ones are:

  • a temporary drop in blood pressure
  • feeling drowsy
  • experiencing changes in appetite
  • weight changes
  • as well as diarrhea

Should you experience any, it’s best to either stop using it or cut down on it. CBD is usually recognized as a safe ingredient, though the quality of the oil matters, therefore, always make sure you buy from reputable dispensaries.

Bottom Line

Hemp CBD oil, like other CBD products, has been only hitting the mainstream in the United States in recent years, but it has been steadily gaining some attention due to its anti-inflammatory effects and potential medical marijuana uses. These properties make it very suitable for treating inflammatory lung diseases, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a chronic inflammatory lung condition.

Hemp CBD oil is best taken sublingually for optimal bioavailability. The dosage highly depends on the needs of the individual, so it will be different for everyone. It’s relatively well tolerated with none to few side effects, however, it’s necessary to monitor your reactions and consult with a healthcare provider if you want to use it as medical cannabis for your COPD treatment.

Additional Resources

Mamber, S.W., Gurel, V., Lins, J. et al. Effects of cannabis oil extract on immune response gene expression in human small airway epithelial cells (HSAEpC): implications for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). J Cannabis Res 2, 5 (2020). DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s42238-019-0014-9

Makwana, R.,Venkatasamy, R., Spina, D., Page, C. The effect of phytocannabinoids on airway hyper-responsiveness, airway inflammation, and cough. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics April 1, 2015, 353 (1) 169-180; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1124/jpet.114.221283

Burstein, S. H., & Zurier, R. B. (2009). Cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and related analogs in inflammation. The AAPS journal, 11(1), 109–119. https://doi.org/10.1208/s12248-009-9084-5

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