How Medical Marijuana Helps Treat Cystic Fibrosis | MedCard
Medical Conditions

How Medical Marijuana Helps Treat Cystic Fibrosis

  • Many patients using medical marijuana to treat cystic fibrosis are finding relief from symptoms.
  • Several research studies on the potential for medical marijuana to treat cystic fibrosis patients have produced encouraging results. 
  • Not all U.S. states offer a medical marijuana card for cystic fibrosis, however, all patients can buy hemp-derived CBD oil online.
  • Marijuana dispensaries nationwide offer a wide variety of cannabis products suitable for the treatment of cystic fibrosis. 

Can medical marijuana provide relief from the symptoms of cystic fibrosis?

So far, studies have been suggesting that more research is warranted. Some CF patients who are now shopping at dispensaries nationwide are reporting that cannabis-infused medicine, in conjunction with traditional treatments, is helping to ease their symptoms.

Many CF patients endure chronic pain in their chest and abdomen — the areas most affected by the disease. Others suffer from painful kidney and gallstones. Medical marijuana helps to reduce inflammation and pain stemming from those issues in some patients. 

Let’s go over some of the most frequently asked questions about treating cystic fibrosis with medical marijuana. 

What is cystic fibrosis?

Cystic Fibrosis is a rare, incurable, and life-threatening genetic disorder. The condition is known to affect 30,000 individuals in the U.S. There are, on average, 1,000 new cases per year. Cystic fibrosis incurs severe damage to the digestive system and lungs and other vital organs in the body.

CF negatively affects the cells that produce digestive fluids, sweat, and mucus. These fluids usually have a thin, watery, slippery consistency. However, in CF patients, these fluids become thick and viscous. They fail to act as a lubricant. The thick, sticky residue tends to clog ducts and passageways in the lungs and pancreas, in particular.

Medical marijuana doesn’t afford a cure for this disorder, however, it may offer symptom relief, especially when used in tandem with conventional medications.

How does medical marijuana help cystic fibrosis patients?

There is a significant lack of research in this area. However, some researchers have conducted studies on the application of medical marijuana for CF symptom relief.

Dr. Ester Fride addressed the issue of cannabis as a medication for CF in her paper “Cannabinoids and Cystic Fibrosis: A Novel Approach to Etiology and Therapy.”

In her report, Dr. Fride fully supported the potential healing qualities of medical marijuana.  She suggested that the herb may assist in bronchodilation, alleviating chest pain, abdominal pain, and nausea. She attributes the reduction in pain to cannabis’ potent anti-inflammatory qualities.

A study out of Israel at the Ariel University Center of Samaria suggested that CF is in part, triggered by an imbalance of fatty acids. Because cannabinoids are fatty acids, this imbalance disturbs the function of the ECS. The use of medical marijuana might help to rebalance the ECS.

Also, Raphael Mchoulam famously addressed the issue of medical marijuana for nausea and vomiting in 1998. He conducted a study on the effects of THC in patients receiving chemotherapy. According to Mchoulam, the study showed that medical marijuana was successful at reducing nausea in many cases. 

How does medical marijuana help treat cystic fibrosis?

Many of the body’s functions are controlled by our endocannabinoid system or ECS. This is a system via which instructions are relayed to individual cells throughout the body. The brain produces cannabinoids in response to detecting an imbalance. The cannabinoids flood the bloodstream and circulate throughout the entire body.

Cells in the lungs and intestines express an abundance of endocannabinoid receptors. Phytocannabinoids — compounds found in medical marijuana similar to our own endocannabinoids — are known to stimulate these receptors and reduce the inflammatory response. 

Cannabinoids may also help calm the digestive tract and reduce the frequent bouts of diarrhea associated with CF. This in turn helps with the absorption of nutrients, enabling the patient to obtain proper nourishment. Furthermore, cannabis’ ability to stimulate appetite and attenuate nausea may also help prevent weight loss in CF patients. 

Infertility is another symptom of Cystic fibrosis in a majority of Males. In one study, researchers stimulated the cannabinoid receptors in baby mice and adolescent mice with THC — the cannabinoid found in marijuana that causes intoxication at sufficient dosages; THC appeared to normalize the function of the ECS which questionably prevented infertility in adult male mice. More studies are needed.

How is medical marijuana used to treat cystic fibrosis?

Cystic fibrosis is a chronic medical condition that requires daily, ongoing, systemic treatment. It often requires taking medication several times each day. 

Inhalation methods including smoking and vaping medical marijuana or cannabis concentrates are not recommended for CF patients. Oral delivery methods such as cannabis-infused capsules and marijuana edibles offer easy and accurate dosing, however, the onset time is slow and the bioavailability is much lower than inhaled cannabinoids. 

Other options for treating cystic fibrosis with medical marijuana include cannabinoid-infused transdermal patches and topical preparations and suppositories.

Medical marijuana products affect each patient differently. Fortunately, cannabis-infused medicines can be formulated to contain specific ratios of various cannabinoids. Products can be formulated with one particular cannabinoid or combination of cannabinoids. It might take some experimentation to find the right mix of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids for a particular patient. 

New medical marijuana patients are advised to start with the lowest possible dosage and work their way up to an effective dosage. Taking cannabinoids in high doses can actually reduce their effectiveness and cause unwanted side effects such as lethargy. 

Medical marijuana isn’t legal in every state, and cystic fibrosis is not a qualifying condition in every state that offers medical marijuana cards. However, some U.S. states such as California, Colorado, Nevada, Illinois, Massachusetts, and 13 others allow all adults 21+ to shop at local dispensaries

Alternatively, cannabis products made from hemp are high in CBD but contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Some patients find that CBD oil capsules are effective at relieving their symptoms. Anyone can buy CBD online regardless of what state they live in.


Hopefully, researchers will continue to study medical marijuana’s effects on cystic fibrosis. There remains a dire need for more research in this area, as scientists scramble to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. However, clinical trials on medical marijuana’s effects on human CF patients are presently non-existent. The studies that have been done have provided promising results suggesting that more research is warranted. 

Cystic fibrosis patients are advised not to smoke or vape medical marijuana or concentrates. However, several other options are available at dispensaries nationwide such as capsules, patches, and suppositories.

Cystic fibrosis is a serious and life-threatening medical condition. Patients should not be self-medicating. Treatment should be administered under the guidance of an experienced medical marijuana doctor

The Best Marijuana Strains for Cystic Fibrosis

Some of the best marijuana strains for cystic fibrosis disease patients include:

  • Hypno
  • Early Pearl
  • Holland
  • Blueberry
  • Blackberry
  • Silver Haze
  •  Lollipop
  •  Mountainberry
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