Updated Research on CBD and Asthma

Research on CBD and asthma



It's interesting we've taken this long to get to asthma for CBD.


After all, it's one of the better researched and most promising issues.


We've danced all around it from CBD and inflammation to CBD and autoimmune diseases but it's time to dive into asthma directly.


As mentioned, CBD positively affects pathways integral to asthma but we'll go a bit deeper into an underlying basis for asthma.


That last piece may be more important because asthma is indicative of a bigger issue below the surface in terms of hyperactive immune response.


compare cbd isolate options 


Another word for inflammation.


Here are the topics we'll cover: 

  • A quick look at what causes asthma
  • Risk factors for asthma
  • Inflammation and asthma
  • Histamine and asthma
  • Is asthma auto-immune?
  • Gut inflammation and asthma
  • Can CBD help with asthma
  • CBD versus corticosteroids for asthma
  • How much CBD for asthma
  • What's the best CBD for asthma


Let's get started...first, a lay of the land.

A quick look at what causes asthma 

At its heart, asthma is an allergic reaction that occurs primarily in the lungs.


This at least speaks to the end result but the root runs deeper.


Allergic reactions rest on a specific pathway involving mast cells and histamine which we'll cover later.


Histamine is the main agent of allergic reactions and it's released from a specialized cell called Mast Cells. 


Ultimately, this is part of our immune system under the general heading of inflammation.


A very targeted form of inflammation.


Histamine sets off a cascade of inflammatory responders which constrict, inflame, and speed up.


The fact that it's specific to the lungs as opposed to the skin (hives, etc) is very interesting and we'll cover that in the autoimmune section.


As we move forward...it's always good to look at risk factors as this sheds light on what's really going on.

Risk factors for asthma 

There are some common risk factors: 

  • Relatives with asthma
  • Other allergic reactions (eczema, etc)
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking or being around a smoker
  • Exposure to pollution
  • Exposure to certain chemicals


Those all make sense...essentially triggers for histamine and mast cells!


What's with the relative piece?


There are genes tied to asthma risk and accordingly, they generally manage immune and inflammatory function (cytokines).


However, some of them deal with our adaptive immune system which focuses on antibodies and is the basis for autoimmune disease.


Boys tend to get asthma more than girls but by age 40, women outnumber men!


This makes sense once you know that progesterone is a powerful immune calmer and it drops by 50% at age 40.


Check out our review on progesterone to learn more.


This speaks to the range of histamine and allergic issues (not to mention autoimmune) that crop up for women in their 40's and beyond.


What about the obesity connection?  That's an interesting piece.


In general, there's a state of inflammation that accompanies obesity but Vitamin D is a fascinating piece.


Vitamin D is fat-soluble which means that as you gain weight, more and more of your Vitamin D is captured in fat cells.


This means less is available to do work in the body and Vitamin D is a powerful immune manager.


Studies have concluded that decreased level of serum 25(OH)D is correlated with an increased prevalence, hospitalization, and increased emergency visits along with declined lung function and increased airway hyper-responsiveness in asthmatic children 



Vitamin deficiency occurs for almost half the population and the rate goes up for African Americans to almost 80%.


To support this, we would expect to see more asthma risk as we go further north (reduced sunlight).



A 10° change in geographical latitude from southern to northern regions of the Eastern Seaboard is associated with a 2% increase in adult asthma prevalence (p<0.001).  



Hello Vitamin D!


Check out our review on Vitamin D as well as CBD and autoimmune.


Otherwise, the other risks are tied to chronic exposure to contaminants which prime the immune system to overreact.


That leads to inflammation.  Let's go there now.

Inflammation and asthma 

The mechanics of asthma are carried out as a form of inflammation.


What exactly is that?


Inflammation is a response by the immune system for either defense or repair.


In the case of asthma, it's a defense against either an outside agitator (smoke, allergens, chemicals, etc) or a mistaken internal player (the basis for autoimmune).


Either way, there's a rapid response of inflammation that causes the symptoms we link with an asthma attack.


First, we need to understand that we have different "settings" for inflammatory response.  


The big ones are TH1 and TH2.


TH1 is generally more inflammatory but there's an interesting connection with asthma: 

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory airway disease associated with type 2 cytokines interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5, and IL-13, which promote airway eosinophilia, mucus overproduction, bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), and immunogloubulin E (IgE) synthesis.  



Cytokines are the little immune assassins that carry out the orders.


IL4, 5, and 13 are tied to asthma directly.


We'll see how CBD affects these below.


Let's first turn our attention to histamine, the allergy soldier.

Histamine and asthma 

Histamine's role in the immune system is simple.


Get foreign entities out of the body...NOW!!


This speaks to its swelling, itching, and constricting effects.


When sensors in our lungs detect foreign bodies (allergens), it sends a signal to mast cells which are spread throughout the lungs and also deep in the tissue that makes mucus.


The name for mast cells comes from German meaning "fattening" because they are jammed packed with granules filled with histamine, ready at moment's notice.


As for histamine's ultimate result?


Histamine plays a role in airway obstruction via smooth muscle contraction, bronchial secretion, and airway mucosal edema. 



So the flood of the lung fluid and tightening of airways.


Interestingly, histamine appears to be tied to only a subset of asthma.


The allergic "flavor" of asthma.


That brings up an interesting question...what's the other subset of asthma?

Is asthma auto-immune? 

We have a whole review on CBD and autoimmune but a quick recap.


Essentially, autoimmune is when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissue.


This is usually due to segments of our cell's DNA which are similar to segments found on bacteria and viruses.


A signal gets misconstrued and voila...the immune system attacks the skin (psoriasis) or tendons (rheumatoid arthritis).


You can pick a body part and find a selective autoimmune response.


The bigger question is how the bacteria/virus gain entry into our bodies and that's where the gut barrier (see CBD and leaky gut) comes into play.


So...asthma...is there a connection?


Research has found that these antibody connections are showing up!


Such as: 

In the following years, circulating IgG autoantibodies to cytokeratin 18 were more frequently detected in patients with non-atopic asthma compared to those with atopic asthma or healthy controls 



This means that people with asthma are showing an immune response that is targeting the lining of the lungs.


Another target was found tied to asthma dealing with lung lining: 

Collagen V, an extracellular matrix protein, was demonstrated to be a self-antigen in asthma, where the isotype of autoantibodies detected was predominantly IgG.  



There's also a cross-over in new genetic studies between genes tied to asthma and other autoimmune diseases: 

n 2001, polymorphisms within IL-4 receptor alpha (associated with asthma and allergy) were reported to be relevant in autoimmune diseases such as SLE and Crohn's disease.29 



Crohn's is an inflammatory autoimmune disease of the gut. 

Researchers are starting to piece together the clues on what's driving this.


For example: 

The main house-dust-mite allergen, Der p 2, has structural homology with MD-2 (also known as LY96), the lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-binding component of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 signaling complex. 



Let's translate, please!


Essentially, a piece of our immune system (TLR4) looks very similar to dust mite chemistry.


This is why exposure to certain bacteria and viruses when young can trigger asthma later: 

Particularly, influenza (38–40), rhinovirus (41, 42) and respiratory syncytial virus (38, 43) are important pathogens in the childhood that have been associated with exacerbations in asthma. 



Let's now turn our focus to trojan horse into our bodies for this whole process generally.


The gut.

Gut inflammation and asthma 

Why on earth would we go to the gut when the problem is in our airways?


All new roads lead to the gut (our health's Rome).


We've established that asthma is an inflammatory disease with a potential autoimmune bent.


Interestingly, the gut acts as both the inflammatory "setting" or thermostat for the body and the gatekeeper for what gets in.


A great deal of this is handled by the trillions of bacteria in our gut called the microbiome (see CBD and microbiome).


Their influence?: 

he function of microbiota in healthy immune response is generally acknowledged, and gut dysbacteriosis might result in chronic inflammatory respiratory disorders, particularly asthma. 



This may be the linchpin for the whole "hygiene hypothesis" with asthma.


Consider the following: 

  • Children raised with pets have a lower risk for asthma later on
  • Hand washing dishes versus dishwashers have a lower risk
  • Caesarian birth has a higher risk of asthma 


The latter makes sense once you realize that the newborn baby gains its primary bacteria mix during delivery.


This is the starting block for his/her immune response through life! 


Formula feeding has the same negative impact compared to breastfeeding.


Look at the Amish and the effects of more traditional life: 

Albeit comparable in genetic heritage and standard of living, it was found that in the Amish the prevalence of asthma and allergies is four and six times lower than in Hutterites, respectively. 





They're exposed to endotoxins (allergens) that are 6 times higher!


This is primarily driven via the gut.


Look at what happens when mice are raised without any gut bacteria in a sterile environment and are then exposed to allergens: 

They are more susceptible to anaphylaxis induced by the administration of oral antigens when compared to mice that are not germ-free, demonstrating how difficult it is to achieve oral tolerance in animals with altered microbiota 



We could go on and on with tons of new research.


The gut is critical to autoimmune and asthma.


Check out our full review on gut inflammation with critical information on how to right the ship.


Finally...can we turn to CBD now?



Can CBD help with asthma? 

We've covered a lot above on what drives asthma.


Let's break down CBD's effects on these pathways along these lines: 

  • CBD and inflammation tied to asthma
  • CBD and histamine or mast cell for asthma
  • CBD and gut inflammation tied to asthma
  • CBD studies on asthma
  • Other tools to look at


Let's get started!

CBD and inflammation tied to asthma 

The "process" of an asthma attack is one of inflammation.  


An acute cascade of immune response which we looked at above.


CBD has a powerful antiinflammatory response well documented in research: 

CBD treatment decreased the inflammatory and remodeling processes in the model of allergic asthma. 



Okay...reduced inflammation is good but the "remodeling" process might be better.


When our body brings out the inflammatory army, there's bound to be collateral damage.


Think of scar tissue on the skin after a cut.


Asthma attacks also cause scarring but in lung tissue.


This is called fibrosis.  It leads to an increasingly poorer lung function going forward similar to damage to joints.


The technical way to say this: 

These outcomes were accompanied by decreases in collagen fiber content in both airway and alveolar septa and the expression of markers associated with inflammation in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and lung homogenate.  



Let's dig deeper into those cytokines are little chemical assassins that actually carry out the damage of this response.


This is really exciting: 

CBD treatment was able to decrease the serum levels of all analyzed cytokines except for IL-10 levels. CBD seems to be a potential new drug to modulate inflammatory response in asthma. 



It's a laundry list of bad actors in the lungs when hyperactive during asthma.


What gives with IL10?  


Oh...that just happens to be an anti-inflammatory cytokine! 


Let's zero in on the specific pathway tied to initiating this response.

CBD and histamine or mast cell for asthma 

We have big reviews on CBD and mast cell activation or CBD and histamines.


CBD has been shown to calm histamine response and mast cell release: 

Together, the results suggest that CBD may induce activation of PPARγ in mast cells leading to secretion of G-CSF and consequent MDSC mobilization. 



Let's decipher that.


Essentially, CBD is able to trigger a pathway called PPAR which is a powerful anti-inflammatory player.


CBD caused a release of two substances (G-CSF and MDSC) that calm mast cell release of histamine and other inflammatory agents.


In studies where MDSC's (a type of specialized cell) are depleted, infection and lung inflammation are able to run amok.


Again, check out the reviews above for much more information.


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The type of CBD becomes very important due to this histamine response as we'll discuss below.


What about the gut?

CBD and gut inflammation tied to asthma 

It's so important to almost every aspect of health that we have a major review on CBD and gut inflammation.


There are two critical pieces: 

  • Gut inflammation
  • Leaky gut barrier


First can generally lead to the latter.


CBD has been shown to calm inflammation in the gut especially after bad bacteria gain access: 

CBD targets enteric reactive gliosis, counteracts the inflammatory environment induced by LPS in mice and in human colonic cultures derived from UC patients.  



To translate, CBD is able to calm inflammation that occurs after exposure to a nasty bacteria signal in people with ulcerative colitis (see CBD and IBD), a nasty disease characterized by runaway gut inflammation.


Interestingly, it does this via the PPAR pathway as well.


People, PPAR is at the heart of the mechanics of asthma: 

PPARα, PPARβ/δ, and PPARγ, is involved in asthma pathogenesis and that ligand-induced activation of these receptors suppresses asthma pathology. 



CBD directly boosts PPAR as needed.  


As for the gut barrier, there are important effects from CBD there as well:

Cannabidiol restores intestinal barrier dysfunction and inhibits the apoptotic process induced by Clostridium difficile toxin A in Caco-2 cells



To translate, they introduced a really nasty bacteria (c diff) which is tied to all the hospital infections that are so difficult to treat.


This wrecks havoc on the gut and breaks down the gut barrier.


CBD restored the barrier and blocked cell death thereafter exposure to C diff.


We go through the mechanics of this and more at our CBD and leaky gut or CBD and probiotics.


Remember, locking down the gut inflammation and barrier is key to the autoimmune facet of asthma and the gut works like a thermostat for the body and brain via the vagus nerve.


It transmits inflammatory signals throughout!


Let's turn our attention directly to asthma and CBD now that we've looked at the components.

CBD studies on asthma 

An animal study looked at the specific inflammatory agents and the resulting symptoms.


For example with increased mucus production in the lungs: 

Mucus hypersecretion is an important characteristic of asthma, which contributes to the exacerbation of symptoms. IL-13 is considered a major stimulus for this phenomenon [18]. We here demonstrate that IL-13 was reduced by CBD administration.  



A key player with severe asthma: 

TNF-α is a major mediator of severe asthma, and it is demonstrated that soluble TNFR and antibodies against TNF-α [20, 21] are effective in animal models of asthma and CBD reduced the levels of TNF-α in our model. 



Another study points to a key pathway: 

There was a significant and inverse correlation between CB1 levels and lung function in asthmatic patients. 



This means that as CB1 activity went down, lung function got worse.


CB1 is the main receptor in our endocannabinoid system where CBD works.


Its primary "key" is anandamide, named after the Hindu goddess of bliss, Anand.


Check out CBD and endocannabinoid deficiency to learn all about it.


Think of anandamide as our backup in case of inflammation.


It can get depleted or be overwhelmed in situations like asthma.


CBD blocks the chemical that eats up anandamide called FAAH.


I know I know, this is getting complicated but here's the net effect:

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



CB1 is the primary "receptor" and CBD's effect on anandamide (its primary key): 

Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia



That's a case of brain inflammation but they say the process occurs in the lungs!


This brings us to our next section.

Other tools to look at for asthma

Here are key tools to also investigate: 

Let's break these down.

Vitamin D and asthma 

Vitamin D is a powerful immune response manager and a good deal of the population is deficient.


Especially asthmatics: 

Studies have concluded that decreased level of serum 25(OH)D is correlated with an increased prevalence, hospitalization, and increased emergency visits along with declined lung function and increased airway hyper-responsiveness in asthmatic children 



There are many trials regarding supplementation: 

Other trials on 100 asthmatic children revealed that monthly doses of 60,000 IU of vitamin D can significantly decrease the number of exacerbations (p = 0.011) and it also resulted in the reduction of steroids (p = 0.013) and emergency visits (p = 0.015) [32].  



We did a major review of Vitamin D for autoimmune and mental health.


Again, you can't go based on the 30 ng/ml requirement for a deficiency which is for rickets and bendy knees.  Endocrinologist want us at 70-80.


Make sure to test your levels but this is a major player in immune function, smooth muscle control (lung lining), and gut barrier.

PEA and asthma 

Remember the anandamide pathway that CBD supports?


It has a natural supporter in the body as well called PEA or palmitoylethanolamide.


A cousin of sorts!


We have a full review of PEA here for allergies and autoimmune but a key takeaway for asthma: 

Administration of PEA during the sensitization prevents pulmonary inflammation and the resulting airway hyperreactivity. Since atopy is an important risk factor for asthma we strongly believe that PEA supplementation might have clinical therapeutic effects.  



Atopy is the heightened immune response to allergens that triggers asthma.


PEA is safe and ties directly into this pathway that actually has effects across the body and brain!


Finally, the gut.

Berberine and asthma 

Berberine is a natural alternative to metformin, both of which, have powerful effects on protecting the gut barrier which is key to autoimmune and asthma.


We have a whole review of berberine for gut and brain health here.


The net effect for asthma:

Berberine improves airway inflammation and inhibits NF-κB signaling pathway in an ovalbumin-induced rat model of asthma 



NF-kB is the inflammatory agent that is controlled by PPAR above (with the help of CBD).


This directly translates to reduced airway inflammation!


The long-term side benefits for gut integrity is a bonus.


Also, this shows how powerful the gut inflammatory state is for the rest of the body since that's berberine's primary effect.


Hopefully, these tools can be helpful in addition to CBD.


Let's turn to the mainstay of asthma medicine.

CBD versus corticosteroids for asthma 

First, this is not medical advice.  Work with your doctor or naturopath for any treatment changes.


There are two main classes of asthma meds: 

  • Bronchodilators (like Albuterol) 
  • Corticosteroids (like Blecivent and Pulmicort)


There are others that combined elements of both.


Here's the big difference.




Bronchodilators primarily reduce activity at adrenergic receptors.


That's the receptor for adrenaline.  Opening things up is key to a fight for flight response to act quickly.


The bronchodilators target a piece of this system to open airways.


Here's the problem...if you keep hitting such a key system, the body will push back by reducing your natural levels which eventually leaves you dependent or worse off than when you started.


For example: 

Chronic exposure to β‐agonists causes tolerance to their bronchodilator effects, which is best demonstrated during acute bronchoconstriction. 



This is a very common effect in the body with medications which we've covered in-depth with benzos and SSRIs (see CBD versus benzos or CBD versus SSRIs or CBD and tolerance).


Opioids are a classic example of tolerance with heartbreaking effects.


Bronchodilators are missing the dopamine spike for true addiction but ask anyone coming off of SSRIs what tolerance feels like (for serotonin in that case).


What about corticosteroids?


Inhaled corticosteroids basically suppress immune or inflammatory function in the lungs.


Remember, the whole cascade of asthma is one of inflammation and hyperactive immune response!


First, you have to understand that pushing our immune response one way or the other comes with a slew of baggage.


The immune system is so important beyond just fighting infection and it literally manages cell birth and death cycles.


Hence the side effects from inhaled corticosteroids: 

These side effects include impaired growth in children, osteoporosis, fractures, glaucoma, cataracts, and skin thinning. 



If you read through those, it's a laundry list of items tied to growth at the cellular level.


In fact, long-term corticosteroid use can cause atrophy or withering of tissue from the trachea down to the lungs.


This is from chronic immune response suppression.

Both classes of medications have been game changes for asthma but the question is long-term use.


As for CBD, research shows that it doesn't build tolerance.


Essentially, it works like a feedback mechanism.  Technically, it's called an allosteric negative modulator.


This effect becomes apparent across many different pathways but our favorite deals with inflammation directly: 

  • Healthy cell with low inflammation - CBD has no effect
  • Healthy cell with high inflammation - CBD reduces inflammation
  • Cancerous or virally-infected cell - CBD INCREASES inflammation!


Read that back over because it's probably the most impressive part of CBD.


3 different responses depending on the state of the system.


The latter makes sense once you know that booting inflammation (in the form of oxidative stress) is how our immune system gets rid of wayward cells.


We have a whole review on how exactly CBD works and CBD and addiction (which partially rests on a tolerance effect).


Let's turn to some practical questions.

How much CBD for asthma 

We don't have hard data on asthma specifically.


Based on our research, a good range is from 10mg to 300mg.


Each person is different in terms of liver function, endocannabinoid system tone, etc but our guestimate is around 100 mg daily on average.


There are two different approaches: 

  • Immediate use - higher dosage to calm systems down
  • Long term use - a general calming of excessive immune response


For that reason, we would see 300 - 600 mg for the spot use as needed and 100 mg daily (average - test how you feel) for long-term effects.


Studies have shown 300 mg is the peak level for neurogenesis (brain repair) while 600 mg has been used for immediate issues (public speaking, opioid withdrawals, etc) with strong safety profiles.


If you hold the CBD under your tongue for up to 60 seconds, it speeds the effect and is much faster (and bioavailable) when compared to swallowing it.


This speaks to the immediate need.  For longer-term, it's best to take after a meal and you can break them up throughout the day.


Some other tools to use with CBD: 

  • Berberine - supports gut immune response and barrier
  • Vitamin D - lots of research on D and managing immune response
  • Fisetin - a major inflammatory managing supplement


These are all very safe (test your Vitamin D levels) with promise across the body but especially for asthma.


Just a few examples…


Berberine and asthma


In ovalbumin (OVA)-induced rat model of asthma, berberine has been reported to relieve inflammatory cell infiltration, lung inflammation, and IgE production  



Vitamin D and asthma


When the study ended, we found that during 6 months of treatment, the number of children who experienced asthma exacerbation was significantly lower in the steroid 1 D3 group than in the steroid group 



Fisetin and asthma


Fisetin was found to reduce the symptoms of asthma significantly. Reduction in total cell infiltration, eosinophil count, and the levels of serum IgE were observed. There was a down regulation in CD3+CD4+ TH cells, and a decrease in the deposition of collagen in the lung and airways. 



Again, these all readily available and safe.  Combined with CBD, we have some powerful and long-term tools.  


Keep in mind that they take time to build up (2-6 months) so the CBD is more immediate while this all ramps up.


What about the type of CBD?

What's the best CBD for asthma 

First, the following is mandatory: 

  • From organically grown hemp in the US at an FDA registered facility
  • CO2 processed
  • 3rd party tested
  • No THC (a good 33% of the population is allergic to THC which is the mast cell connection)
  • No Pesticides
  • No Solvents
  • No Heavy Metals
  • No Bacteria
  • No Mold


These all make sense when you look at the triggers for asthma...chemicals, smoke, irritants, allergens.


Again, asthma at its core is an extreme allergic reaction and allergies are there to get things OUT of the body fast.


This brings us to our next consideration.


CBD isolate versus full spectrum.


Roughly 40-60% of the population has histamine issues.


This number goes up as we get older and for women (thanks for leaving, progesterone!).


The last thing we want to do is introduce a bunch of plant material in the form of full-spectrum despite all the sales pitches from the industry.


Many people (see the reviews) have bad side effects to full-spectrum which go away with CBD isolate.


We found that out the hard way (our story is here).


More importantly (to us, anyway)...all the research is on CBD isolate.  


Check out CBD isolate versus full spectrum for histamine response to learn more.


Again, histamine is what drives the allergic reaction!


Finally, there's cost.


The key here is cost per mg of CBD.


We price our 6000 mg bottles at 2-3 cents per mg of CBD before discounts up to 50%.


CBD was essential to clawing out of a brutal perimenopause so we want to make sure people have access to high-quality CBD isolate that mirrors the research for asthma as well.


Be well.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself!


shop cbd isolate oil online

Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!

The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.


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You may be thinking of full spectrum CBD which is right up there with wheat grass shots! Our CBD is isolate (no taste) and MCT oil from organic coconut oil. Has a slight coconut taste. We do CBD isolate to match the research.

Try our first50 discount code for 50% off original order. Different levels are here. Thanks and keep us posted!


You may be thinking of full spectrum CBD which is right up there with wheat grass shots! Our CBD is isolate (no taste) and MCT oil from organic coconut oil. Has a slight coconut taste. We do CBD isolate to match the research.

Try our first50 discount code for 50% off original order.


Hi there

Truly interesting articles and info … but how the heck can we take the CBD drops when they taste soooo horrible … any hints 🙏😀


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