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COPD, Asthma and Bronchitis - Marijuana Vs Steroids & Beta AgonistsDr. Phillip Leveque Doctor of Pharmacology Salem-News.com
Marijuana wins again...
(PORTLAND, OR) - It is estimated that there are about 16 million cases of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) etc., and 100,000 deaths in the US per year.
Before somebody has a cow about the above title, I can assure all that I found this trio in the Merc Manual and it is OK to combine them and they are treated and they are all treated similarly.
I first wrote about this subject, "Medical Marijuana: Asthma Treatment" in Salem-News.com August 30, 2007, I'll admit, I didn't know too much about it. I had read and heard that marijuana fumes were a bad bronchial irritant, so how could they be helpful for a bronchial constrictive disease? The pure chemicals in marijuana do cause bronchial smooth muscles to relax and relieve symptoms in all of the conditions of the title.
None of my 5000 patients came in with a sole diagnosis of COPD. They came in with a diagnosis of asthma.
Most of my patients were military veterans with long histories of tobacco, cigarette smoking. To me, it was COPD.
My second article on this subject was, "COPD, Asthma, Bronchitis and Marijuana" April 23 2009 in Salem-News.com. I did have dozens of patients writing comments of the successful treatment results with marijuana. This required more literature research.
I had heard and read that Jimson Weed or Stramonium had been used for centuries to treat respiratory problems that we are talking about here.
These plants contain atropine and scopalamine, both of which eliminate or control spasms in the lung branches and as such, for asthma etc. These were used in Eastern Indian medicine for hundreds of years and were brought to England in the late 1800's.
This was OK until the discovery of adrenaline and the longer acting ephedrine. Adrenaline is called a beta agonist and there are many similar drugs. Beta agonists relax constricted smooth muscle in the bronchial tubes and relieve asthma, etc. Remarkably, the big problem is that with adrenaline, the effects are very short lived. It has been replaced with long acting beta agonists (LADA) such as albuterol, and formoterol, which are very long acting. We also have short acting beta agonists (SABA) which are helpful for their immediate effects.
The current therapy for these diseases is some combination of long acting atropine like drugs such as ipratropium, certain steroids like dudesonide, and beta agonists like salmeterol. The various combinations of these drugs for treatment are enough to drive crazy both patient and doctor. All of these drugs have serious side effects such as the betas with very strong actions on the heart causing severe arrhythmias, but they also build up tolerance in the body so that more and more of the drug is required. This may become dangerous.
The steroids which act as anti-inflammatories, also have bad, long term adverse effects.
Some physicians report that the anti-cholinergices should be used first before anything else. If you are not confused now, you haven't been paying any attention.
Marijuana acts as a smooth muscle relaxant, better than the other drugs mentioned, and is good therapy for these diseases. It is also has an anti-inflammatory action - better and safer than the steroids.
The beta drugs are absolutely essential therapy for allergy-caused asthma-like symptoms. We marijuana doctors in our clinics, have had thousands of COPD, asthma and bronchitis patients treated well and safely with marijuana.
MARIJUANA WINS AGAIN!
Got a question or comment for Dr. Leveque?
More information on the history of Dr. Leveque can be found in his book, General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII about his own experiences "from a foxhole".
If you are a World War II history buff, you don't want to miss it.
Watch for more streaming video question and answer segments about medical marijuana with Bonnie King and Dr. Phil Leveque.
Click on this link for other articles and video segments about PTSD and medical marijuana on Salem-News.com:
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