COPD is a chronic lung disease. To date, no cure exists for COPD and therefore most treatments focus on reducing symptoms and suppressing discomfort. cannabinoids have properties such as boosting the immune system and clearing away compromised cells which could help cure COPD. However, so far most attention has gone to the sedative properties of cannabinoids which reduce the discomfort associated with COPD without actually treating it.

Literature Discussion: 

The six major plant cannabinoids, THC, CBD, CBC, CBG, CBDA and THCV were tested for their effect on bronchoconstriction, inflammation and coughing in guinea pigs. Only THC reduced all three parameters through activation of CB1 and CB2 receptors (Makwana et al., 2015). CBD was partially effective in suppressing coughing and THCV reduced inflammatory leukocyte recruitment. The other cannabinoids were ineffective.

In the ovalbumin rat model of asthma, 5 mg/kg i.p. CBD decreased the levels of cytokines IL-4 (T helper cell differentiation and IgE production), IL-5 (eosinophil maturation), IL-6 (T cell proliferation), IL-13 (mucus hypersecretion) and TNFα (asthma mediator) but not IL-10, suggesting therapeutic potential in suppressing lung inflammation (Vuolo et al., 2015). 

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

In human patients, Anandamide was found to strongly inhibit bronchospasms and coughing (caused by chemical irritants) through activation of CB1 receptors (Calignano et al., 2000).  


Calignano, A., Kátona, I., Désarnaud, F., Giuffrida, A., La Rana, G., Mackie, K., Freund, T.F., and Piomelli, D. (2000). Bidirectional control of airway responsiveness by endogenous cannabinoids. Nature 408, 96–101.

Hegde, V.L., Singh, U.P., Nagarkatti, P.S., and Nagarkatti, M. (2015). Critical Role of Mast Cells and Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ in the Induction of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells by Marijuana Cannabidiol In Vivo. J. Immunol. Baltim. Md 1950 194, 5211–5222.

Makwana, R., Venkatasamy, R., Spina, D., and Page, C. (2015). The effect of phytocannabinoids on airway hyperresponsiveness, airway inflammation and cough. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther.

Vuolo, F., Petronilho, F., Sonai, B., Ritter, C., Hallak, J.E.C., Zuardi, A.W., Crippa, J.A., and Dal-Pizzol, F. (2015). Evaluation of Serum Cytokines Levels and the Role of Cannabidiol Treatment in Animal Model of Asthma. Mediators Inflamm. 2015, 538670.

Clinical Trials: 

One clinical has addressed the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids on COPD. The study was very small scale but concluded that cannabinoids (THC/CBD) do not improve lung function but do reduce the amount of discomfort associated with COPD.


Pickering, E.E., Semple, S.J., Nazir, M.S., Murphy, K., Snow, T.M., Cummin, A.R., Moosavi, S.H., Guz, A., and Holdcroft, A. (2011). cannabinoid effects on ventilation and breathlessness: a pilot study of efficacy and safety. Chron. Respir. Dis. 8, 109–118.

Wiki Entry: 
Alternative Names: 
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.