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Can medical marijuana treat the symptoms of cystic fibrosis?

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that damages the digestive tract, lungs, and other organs. It can be passed through generations. The condition affects cells that produce mucus, digestive juices, and sweat . These cells are known as epithelial cells, and begin producing a defective protein.

This protein is responsible for thick and sticky mucus that can cause many health issues, such as clogged bronchial tubes, interrupted breathing, coughing and wheezing, digestion problems, problems with absorbing nutrients, fatigue, etc.

As a result, people diagnosed with cystic fibrosis experience issues with growth, an inability to gain weight, bulky stools, and children even have a slight saltiness to their skin. Besides this, people suffering from cystic fibrosis have to deal with many health problems. Below, we have listed these symptoms in detail. We also talk about cannabis as a treatment option and which strains would be the best fit to deal with particular issues.

Common Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis

Most symptoms of cystic fibrosis can be found in the digestive and respiratory tract.

Digestive Symptoms

The thick mucus produced in patients often blocks the enzymes necessary for digestion from reaching the small intestine. This is responsible for the nutrients not being absorbed in their entirety. As a result, the following problems occur:

  • Stunted growth
  • Hindered weight gain
  • Greasy and foul-smelling diarrhea
  • blockage in the intestines, more commonly in newborns.
  • severe or chronic constipation that may cause rectal prolapse.

Respiratory Issues

The thick mucus is also responsible for blocking the respiratory tract, making it much harder to breathe. As a result, patients commonly experience the following symptoms:
  • Persistent coughing that results in the production of sputum, commonly known as phlegm.
  • Trouble with breathing, which leads to wheezing.
  • Recurring lung infections that won’t go away.
  • Redness and swelling in the nasal passages
  • Recurring sinusitis
  • Stuffy nose

These are the common issues faced by patients with cystic fibrosis. Let’s take a look at the treatment offered to them.

Treatment options for cystic fibrosis

It is important to understand that this condition does not have a known cure at the moment. Thus, treatment only involves controlling the symptoms so the patient can lead a better life. The treatment is also given by a team of professionals, which may often require visiting hospitals regularly.

Lung Medication

The below-mentioned medications can be ingested orally, injected, or inhaled.

  • antibiotics for preventing chest infections.
  • Trikafta, a combination of three medicines for treating the cause of cystic fibrosis in patients above the age of 12.
  • Medications to thin the mucus and make it easier to pass with cough, such as mannitol dry powder, dornase alfa, etc.
  • medications for reducing mucus levels throughout the body. These medications usually have to be taken in combination. One in particular, Orkambi, is only available to those who pass several criteria set by the manufacturer.
  • Steroids are used to treat small growths inside the nose.

Some medicines used to treat this condition are classified as “orphan,” meaning that they are required in such a low quantity that it wouldn’t be profitable for the manufacturer to make them. As a result, they must depend on the government to provide aid for production.

Due to the severe nature of these medicines, patients often look for alternative options. Physical exercise helps clear the lungs of mucus, but they will often have to try some breathing techniques to clear their airways.

So, does cannabis work any better? Let’s find out!

Cannabis as an Alternative to Cystic Fibrosis Medication

Cystic fibrosis is an uncommon chronic illness, due to which research on cannabis for treating its symptoms is lacking. However, there is still some proof regarding the benefits of marijuana for treating each of its symptoms. Moreover, medical marijuana is a great option for those who no longer seem to benefit from its medication.

Overall Health

CBD is known to promote overall health and wellness. People with cystic fibrosis often lead a poor quality of life as it impacts their mental health majorly. CBD helps them feel better in general, and stay more optimistic. It is also known to improve their quality of life. Some CBD-dominant strains are:
  • ACDC
  • Remedy
  • Harlequin
  • Cherry Wine
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Sour Space Candy

Pain and Inflammation

One of the most common uses of medical marijuana is the treatment of pain. It is one of the most effective medicines, producing results soon after ingestion. Even people suffering from intense chronic pain have turned to marijuana after prescription medicines stopped working for them. Moreover, there have been many studies regarding the impact of marijuana on pain. The best strains to help deal with pain are:
  • OG Kush
  • Blueberry
  • White Widow
  • Northern Lights

Weight Gain

Cannabis has always been known to induce “munchies.” However, that is not always the case and the strain you pick directly influences your appetite. Some strains may even reduce your appetite. Regardless, marijuana is a great way to boost hunger, as long as you do your research. Worry not, if you do not possess any knowledge on the topic, as experienced marijuana doctors at 420 Card Santa Rosa can explain it all to you through the help of telemedicine! So, you do not even have to leave the house. Our recommendations for strains that help you boost appetite and gain weight are:
  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Pineapple Express
  • Monster Cookies
  • Purple Kush
  • Blackwater
  • Chemo

Stress and Anxiety

The life expectancy of an adult with cystic fibrosis is 40 years. Unfortunately, this is the truth that accompanies most chronic illness, and to add to it, CF doesn’t even have a cure. So, patients often suffer poor mental health due to the impending sense of doom. This results in constant worries and robs them of happiness by filling them with anxiety and bad thoughts. Medical marijuana is great for treating anxiety, provided you consume a strain with less THC content. Some strains that work well for regulating anxiety are:
  • Granddaddy Purple
  • Purple Urkle
  • Canna-Tsu
  • Jack Herer
  • Remedy


While there is an absence of medical proof that medical marijuana treats cystic fibrosis, there are studies that show it treating the symptoms individually. You can also find experiences shared by patients online, such as this one. Thus, it can be said that cannabis helps with relieving the symptoms of cystic fibrosis. Furthermore, you can avoid any undesirable effects by consuming specific strains and products. If you wish to devise a proper medicine routine with cannabis, we suggest doing so with medical supervision. The experienced doctors at 420 Card Santa Rosa can advise you on the best possible way to consume cannabis, tailored according to your needs. Contact us today.

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Author Bio

A medical cannabis enthusiast who loves to read and write about the herb. Even after spending more than a decade in the industry, he has the zeal to learn of a teenager.