Asthma is characterized by continuous or intermittent labored breathing with wheezing due to constriction of the bronchioles (air passages) in the lungs. People with asthma have an immune system that is overprotective to their lungs. Mucus producing cells line the airways as a protective mechanism. In asthma, too much mucus is produced, which clogs the airways, and accompanied by a constriction of the bronchioles, the airways are too small. The result is that less air is able to flow in and out of the lungs. Asthma attacks are frequently allergic in origin, though some may be triggered by infectious causes such as viral or bacterial bronchitis. Anything that irritates the lungs can trigger an asthma attack. Some are brought on by changes in temperature of the lungs from weather or exercise.


Standard medical treatments:

Inhaled bronchodilators – albuterol

Systemic bronchodilators – singulair

Inhaled steroids – azmacort

Inhaled ipratropium – relieves bronchospasm

Systemic steroids

Inhaled antihistamine – cromolyn sodium

Avoidance of environmental triggers


Supportive and alternative treatments:

Nutritional – treat food allergies and avoid triggers such as food dye and preservatives

Quercitin – anti-histamine bioflavinoid

Caffeine or theophylline – coffee, black or green tea

Flax / fish oil – anti-inflammatory

Magnesium – muscle relaxant


Ma Huang (Chinese ephedra) – bronchodilator, use only with supervision

Horehound – bronchodilator and decreases mucus

Coltsfoot – decreases histamine response

Osha – bronchodilator, antiviral, antibacterial

Stinging nettles – decreases histamine response

Lobelia – anti-spasmodic for the bronchioles

Grindelia – liquefies mucus



Breathing practices – i.e. play a wind instrument, yoga, chi gong

Vaporized eucalyptus or thyme

Relaxation therapy


Asthma and Cannabis

Clinical research shows that THC acts as a bronchial dilator, clearing blocked air passageways and allowing free breathing. In one study, marijuana, “caused an immediate reversal of exercise-induced asthma and hyperinflation.”

Although smoking is not a good idea for anyone with asthma, smoking cannabis has been found to not be a cause of lung cancer. According to Dr. Donald Tashkin and his colleagues at the University of California in Los Angeles results from a 2006 case-controlled study of 1200 participants demonstrate that even heavy smoking of cannabis is not associated with lung cancer and other types of upper aerodigestive tract cancers. Vaporizing is a preferred method of delivery as it provides direct medicinal action to the lungs upon inhalation. Numerous cases of asthma have been treated successfully with both natural and synthetic THC. Some patients find that they can reduce their use of inhalers with vaporized cannabis.