why does hemp oil help breathing

Could CBD Oil Be Useful for COPD?

You can’t turn around these days without hearing another claim about how CBD oil or other cannabis products are the answer to just every medical problem, from pain to cancer to anxiety and more. I even had several friends suggest I get CBD oil for my dog for a recent health crisis!

COPD is no exception. Do a Google search for “CBD oil and COPD” and you’ll find there are hundreds of thousands of results. Most of them claim CBD oil will help, or even cure, COPD. So, I’m sure our readers are wondering—is this true? Could CBD oil change my life with COPD?

This post will attempt to answer that question.

What is COPD?

COPD is a chronic progressive disease of the respiratory system. Inflammation in the lungs obstructs the airways and makes it hard to breathe. There is no cure for COPD, but it is treatable and proper treatment can greatly slow the progression of the illness for many years. Treatment generally centers on lessening the symptoms of COPD and reducing the risk of complications, as well as exacerbations, or flare-ups.

What is CBD oil?

CBD is an abbreviation that stands for cannabidiol, which is one of the active ingredients in cannabis, or marijuana. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of the other major active ingredients. THC is what causes the so-called “high” with cannabis. 1

CBD can be found in essential oils or in edible products such as brownies or candy. A brewery in my town in Colorado is even planning to add CBD to sparkling water in the near future.

Many states these days have legalized marijuana and other products containing CBD and/or THC. Some of the legalization is only for what is termed “medical marijuana,” that requires a doctor’s prescription. But in other states, it has been legalized for recreational use as well.

How might CBD oil help with COPD?

Various studies suggest that both CBD and THC may have anti-inflammatory effects, at least in animals. 1,2 I could not find many studies in scientific, peer-reviewed journals that studied the effects of CBD specifically on humans with COPD.

Still, the fact that these effects have been seen in animals is encouraging. There seem to be various reasons for this effect on inflammation. One theory is that CBD triggers receptor cells in the body that reduce airway inflammation. It is also believed that cannabinoids may relax the airways. Both of these effects could make it easier to breathe.

Then, there is the anecdotal evidence that CBD oil might help with COPD, among other illnesses. In fact, a review of the literature in 2015 even found that a Chinese emperor circa 2000 B.C. mentioned the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis for rheumatism in a document. 3

Hopeful for further research on COPD and CBD

Honestly, I believe the jury is still out on how useful CBD oil or other cannabidiol products might be in treating COPD. Sure, there are tons of claims out there. But there is also a lack of scientific evidence from reputable sources. Hopefully, in the future, more definitive research on this topic will be done.

But for now, I would urge caution in proceeding on this path. Definitely talk to your doctor first! And remember, it’s not a good idea to smoke marijuana if you have any kind of respiratory disease.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Echo. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Cannabinoids and CBD Research Overview. ECHO Connection. Published August 9, 2017. Accessed March 12, 2019.
  2. Ribeiro A, Almeida VI, Costola-De-Souza C, et al. Cannabidiol improves lung function and inflammation in mice submitted to LPS-induced acute lung injury. Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology. 2015;37(1):35-41. doi:10.3109/08923973.2014.976794
  3. Burstein SH, Zurier RB. Cannabinoids, Endocannabinoids, and Related Analogs in Inflammation. The AAPS Journal. 2009;11(1). doi:10.1208/s12248-009-9084-5


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View Comments (7)

I talked to two different Doctors. One said use it, the other said stay away from it. The first was a GP, the second a Pulmonologist. I’m taking the advise of the second.

Hi again, Oscar C – I agree with the comment my colleague, Barbara posted. For matters related to the lung, I would follow the advice of your pulmonologist until you can get clarification directly from him/her.

Good luck!
Leon (site moderator

I believe that the Pulmonologist is the more educated in things of the lungs so you have probably made a good choice. How is it working out for you so far? Barbara Moore (site moderator)

This is a very good article Kathy. I’m with you, I believe the jury is still out and a person should definitely talk to their doctor/s. There could definitely be contraindications with this drug and prescribed medications.
It seems like more and more people are promoting the CBD oil and other products, including smoking marijuana. Let your doctor be your advocate and work together.
We need to ask, “Will this actually work with your COPD? Will this actually aid in your health”?

Hi Kathi!
I tried a pot product a few years back. It had 9% THC and 14% CBD. All it did for me (aside from giving me a real ‘buzz’) was to make me sit very still long periods of time, making my muscles more stiff than they would have been. I also tended to take three hour naps which left me groggy for the rest of the day. (I frequently manage a nap at just under an hour, and feel refreshed by them.)
I also began to forget my exercises. Not just skip them: but forget to do them.
Keep in mind that the claims are made by people who want money, like those outlandish claims made by the supplements industry.
A panacea cure for all things doesn’t exist.
Don’t forget the apathy this drug (THC) brings. I can’t afford that.
If this stuff works and can be controlled…. For me, I need to exercise and take short naps. It didn’t help my spondylosis pain nor my issues regarding my COPD.

Thanks Kathi, all the best!

Hi. WillDoe. Thanks for sharing your experience with the community. I’m sure there are many here who will truly appreciate your thoughts on this subject. John. Site Moderator.

Hi Will – we are appreciative of your post and sharing your experience with the community. You’ll put it into a pretty practical perspective for all who read it.
Leon (site moderator)

Studies suggest that CBD oil have anti-inflammatory effects, so can it be helpful as a potential COPD treatment? Learn if CBD could be useful for COPD. ]]>