Cystic Fibrosis is a hereditary disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems, resulting in a thickness and stickiness of fluid associated with mucus and digestion. These fluids can cause clogs to passageways depending the severity of the disease. The most common symptoms include chronic coughing and wheezing, diarrhea, heartburn, lung infection and overall fatigue. Developmental delays can also be associated with cystic fibrosis. But cystic fibrosis medical marijuana treatment plans may help ease these symptoms.
In people with cystic fibrosis, a defective gene causes a thick, buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. In the lungs, the mucus clogs the airways and traps bacteria leading to infections, extensive lung damage and eventually, respiratory failure. In the pancreas, the mucus prevents the release of digestive enzymes that allow the body to break down food and absorb vital nutrients.
Traditional Cystic Fibrosis Medication
The following cystic fibrosis therapies are currently the most common treatments:
- Airway clearance – this helps loosen and expel the thick mucus that builds up in the lungs. Some airway clearance techniques require help from family members, friends or respiratory therapists. Many people with CF use an inflatable vest that vibrates the chest at a high frequency to help loosen and thin mucus.
- Inhaled medicines – these can also be used to open the airways or thin the mucus. These are liquid medicines that are made into a mist or aerosol and then inhaled through a nebulizer. These medicines include antibiotics to fight lung infections and therapies to help keep the airways clear.
- Pancreatic enzyme supplements – these capsules improve the absorption of vital nutrients. These supplements are taken with every meal and most snacks. People with CF also usually take multivitamins.
Common pharmaceutical prescriptions for cystic fibrosis are Azithromycin, Ciprofloxacin and Tobramycin. Sodium chloride by injection or inhalation is another CF treatment option. Treatment by a gastroenterologist and respiratory therapist are also common, as well as physical therapy and work with a nutritionist.
About Cystic Fibrosis Medical Marijuana Treatments
The most commonly reported cannabinoid treatment for cystic fibrosis is THC. It is believed that the bronchodilating, anti-inflammatory and appetite stimulating properties of cannabis are behind the successful interactions between cannabis and cystic fibrosis. Recommended cannabis strains for CF include Holland’s Hope, Blackberry, Blueberry and Silver Haze.
There is currently very limited scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of cystic fibrosis treatment with medical marijuana.
How To Medicate For CF
Vaporizing of cannabis and the oral ingestion of edibles and cannabis oil extract are the most common methods documented by patients. Smoking is not recommended due to the delicate lung functioning often associated with cystic fibrosis.
CF Patient Story
Nick Landt first realized that cannabis brownies greatly reduced his cystic fibrosis symptoms as a teenager, citing “my lungs would open up more, allowing better oxygen intake, and was able to decrease the amount of sputum congestion my lungs.” After realizing this correlation, he researched the interaction and began to understand the dramatic effects of cannabis as an anti-inflammatory agent and bronchodilator. This prompted him to begin using a vaporizer in 2009 and following three months of using it, he described vastly improved symptoms and having “never felt better in his life.” Upon visiting his doctor, test results revealed dramatic results including the reduction of white blood cell irregularities and stabilized pulmonary functioning. When the doctor placed a stethoscope to Landt’s chest, there was no crackling, indicating no over-congestion of sputum in the lungs that he had suffered from so long.