Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease most often brought on by long-term exposure to irritating gases or smoking.

  • What is COPD?
  • COPD & cannabinoids
  • Text references, literature discussion
    & clinical trials

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease most often brought on by long-term exposure to irritating gases or smoking. COPD can lead to breathing difficulties and other severe /fatal conditions such as lung cancer.1

Symptoms of COPD usually do not appear before the disease has entered an advanced state with significant lung damage. The symptoms worsen over time, especially if exposure to e.g. smoking continues and they may include:1

  • Tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath and wheezing
  • A chronic cough that may produce clear, white, yellow, or greenish mucus/sputum
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Swelling in legs, feet, and ankles
  • General lack of energy

In developed countries, COPD can primarily be caused by tobacco smoking, whereas in developing countries, exposure to fumes can often lead to the development of COPD.
Normally the lungs depend on the natural elasticity of the bronchial tubes, whereas COPD leads to the loss of elasticity in the lungs and over-expansion, which results that there is some air left when people exhale.1

There are 2 types of COPD

  • Emphysema
    The disease leads to the destruction of the walls and elastic fibers of the air sacs. Small airways collapse during exhalation, resulting in impaired airflow out of the lungs.
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Inflammation and narrowing affect the bronchial tubes and more mucus is produced by the lungs, which can further lead to blockage of the narrowed tubes.
  • Cannabinoids
  • Cannabinoid receptors
  • Endocannabinoids

  • CBD
  • THC
  • THCV

  • CB1
  • CB2

  • Anandamide
  • Terpenes
  • Strains
  • Enzymes
  • Metabolites



Synthesizing & Degrading Enzymes


The connection between COPD
& cannabinoids

Copd Xray

Preclinical evidence proposes that the cannabinoids THC, CBD, and THCV may be therapeutic in the treatment of COPD as cannabinoids possess anti-inflammatory properties that may help relieve the symptoms of the disease.2

Note: If you have any further information relevant to the connection between COPD and cannabinoids, or find any of the information inaccurate, outdated or incomplete please contact us here.

Text references, literature discussion
& clinical trials

  • Text references
  • Literature discussion
  • Clinical trials

In a study with guinea pigs, plant cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, CBC, CBG, CBDA, and THCV were used to assess whether they have any effect on bronchoconstriction, inflammation, and coughing. It was found that all three parameters were reduced by THC via activation of CB1 and CB2 (Makwana et al., 2015). CBD inhibited coughing and THCV decreased inflammatory leucocyte recruitment, whereas other cannabinoids did not produce any effect.

In the ovalbumin rat model of asthma, serum levels of all analyzed cytokines such as IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, IL-6, and TNF-α but not IL-10 were decreased upon treatment with CBD (5 mg/kg, i.p.). This suggests that CBD may have a therapeutic potential in inhibiting lung inflammation (Vuolo et al., 2015).

In the LPS mouse model of lung inflammation, pparγ-dependent G-CSF secretion by mast cells and subsequent myeloid-derived suppressor cell mobilization were induced by CBD (20 mg/kg i.p.) (Hegde et al., 2015).

In human patients, anandamide was observed to be involved in suppressing bronchospasms and coughing via activation of CB1 receptors (Calignano et al., 2000).

Clinical Trials

A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study involved five normal and four COPD participants to evaluate the effect of cannabinoids. It was found that cannabinoids (THC/CBD) do not ameliorate lung function but decrease the amount of discomfort related to COPD (Pickering et al., 2011).

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