Updated on December 10, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is one of the many chronic conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana. This inherited disease can lead to pulmonary and sinus infections, along with gastrointestinal issues. It can also cause lung damage, which makes it difficult to breathe and creates pain in patients’ chests and lungs. Other parts of the body cystic fibrosis affects include the pancreas, liver, digestive tract and reproductive tract.
About 30,000 people in the country have CF, and around 70,000 people worldwide have been diagnosed with the life-threatening condition. Research, education and improved care is changing the way CF affects people. Most children who were diagnosed with CF 60 years ago didn’t live to see adulthood, but today’s life expectancy for patients with CF is close to 40 years old.
Though CF affects the patient’s entire body, the lungs are the organs that are heavily affected. Cystic fibrosis trans-membrane regulator, or CFTR, is a protein that facilitates and manages the movement of sodium, chloride and water in the body. When you’re diagnosed with CF, that means you either have too much or too little CFTR.
The malfunction of CFTR creates a thick mucus that gets in the patient’s airways, making it painful and hard to breathe. As a result of the mucus not being cleared, bacteria can grow and infect the airways — this essentially causes a vicious cycle of airway blockage, mucus and infections. After many years of this cycle, the airways and lung tissue are eventually damaged.
As of now, there’s no cure for CF. And, since the symptoms can vary so drastically from patient to patient, doctors typically treat the disease on a case-by-case basis with a goal of relieving the symptoms rather than curing them. Infections, blockages and mucus build-up are some of the main symptoms they aim to relieve.
Currently, the following drugs are being employed as treatment methods for cystic fibrosis:
Other surgery, therapy and treatment options include:
While it can’t cure the life-threatening condition, medical cannabis can help to treat the lung pain you’re experiencing as a symptom of CF. The benefits a cystic fibrosis patient can get from medical cannabis could be enough to restore some of their quality of life.
Weed could help CF patients because of the medicine’s ability to:
If you or someone you love is suffering from cystic fibrosis lung pain, it could be time to give medical marijuana a try. Browse our site to find marijuana doctors and learn more about how CF patients can benefit from medical cannabis.
For more information about how cannabis can be used to treat Cystic Fibrosis, check out our resources: