Have you ever felt healthy and on track, and then you get hit with a common cold, virus, or infection? This has likely happened to almost all of us, and at that point, we wish we could feel like our healthy selves again. One common infection that can creep up after having a cold or the flu is pneumonia. Although there are more than 30 causes of pneumonia, in most instances, pneumonia occurs as a result of having the flu or another sickness. When this infection sets in, there are different traditional treatment methods available. However, several traditional methods don’t relieve all pneumonia-causing symptoms that can negatively impact one’s quality of life. What if there was another treatment method that could help naturally alleviate the severity and painfulness of pneumonia? Fortunately for us, one natural method for relieving pneumonia-causing symptoms is medical cannabis and its many cannabinoids.
What to Know About Pneumonia
Pneumonia is known as a lung infection that can be caused by a virus, fungi, or bacteria. This infection can affect one or both lungs, and in most cases, pneumonia is spread from one person to another via coughing, sneezing, breathing, and/or touching. How does pneumonia affect one’s body though? It starts when germs and bacteria seep into the lungs, and once the germs that cause pneumonia get into the lungs, inflammation occurs within the lungs’ air sacs. At this point, fluid fills up in the lungs, which can lead to breathing difficulties, coughs, fevers, and the chills.
In addition, thousands of people die from pneumonia every year, and even more are hospitalized due to this infection. How can pneumonia diagnoses result in deaths though? According to the American Lung Association, deaths from pneumonia occur after oxygen has a tough time reaching the blood. When the blood doesn’t have enough oxygen, the body’s cells struggle to function properly. From here, the risk of pneumonia spreading increases, which could then lead to death. Although pneumonia can be life-threatening, in most cases, it’s just temporarily life-altering.
The Growing Prevalence of Pneumonia
Despite increasing medical advancements in the U.S. and in other countries, pneumonia diagnoses are quite common. However, since 1999, the mortality rates due to pneumonia have gone down by close to 4 percent. Despite this decrease, pneumonia is still prevalent to this day. In particular, according to the American Thoracic Society, a whopping one million American adults are hospitalized for pneumonia yearly. Out of this number, roughly 50,000 of these affected individuals die from pneumonia.
Even though anyone can develop pneumonia, certain people are more at risk than others. These people include infants, young children, and adults aged 65 and older. When it comes to children though, those younger than five years old fit into the category of 120 million yearly pneumonia cases. Unfortunately, more than ten percent of these cases become severe. Also, individuals who have chronic diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are more likely to develop pneumonia.
Common Pneumonia-Causing Symptoms and Side Effects
Moreover, the symptoms of pneumonia vary, but they can be anywhere from mild to extremely severe. Generally, the infection’s symptoms can be draining and overwhelming, especially for those who haven’t had pneumonia before, have weak immune systems, and/or struggle with other medical issues. It’s important to know that there are four types of pneumonia that can develop, which include viral, bacterial, fungal, and mycoplasma pneumonia. These four types fit into a classification based on the infection’s cause, where the infection was transmitted, and how pneumonia was developed.
It’s possible to develop community-acquired pneumonia, which means that the infection was acquired from somewhere outside of a medical setting. However, hospital-acquired pneumonia can develop too, which is a bacterial form that can be acquired while staying at a hospital. Normally, pneumonia’s symptoms are similar to those of colds or the flu. However, pneumonia’s symptoms last for much longer than that of a traditional cold. The most common signs of pneumonia include the following:
- Breathing difficulties
- Fatigue or weakness
- Diarrhea, nausea, and/or vomiting
- Coughing up phlegm regularly
- Fever, body shakes, sweating, and the chills
- Chest pain when breathing and/or when coughing
- Mental awareness changes or confusion (more common in adults aged 65 or older)
- An abnormally low body temperature
Although most pneumonia-causing symptoms go away after a few weeks, in some cases, they can last for a month or more. On top of this, individuals who have pneumonia are close to twice as likely to develop depression or another mental health issue
Traditional and Non-Traditional Pneumonia Treatment Options
The cause of pneumonia, the severity of its symptoms, one’s age, and one’s current state of health all dictate which treatment method will be most suitable. The primary intention of treating pneumonia is to cure it and prevent additional complications from occurring. Severe pneumonia cases often require hospitalization, whereas, other cases require taking antibiotics and resting until the infection is killed. The most common treatment methods for curing pneumonia include antibiotics and other medications that relieve fevers, reduce pain, and suppress coughs.
Aside from these treatment options, medical cannabis and CBD are alternative forms of medicine that can help relieve many of pneumonia’s symptoms and side effects. In most instances, medical cannabis can help relieve many symptoms caused by pneumonia including the following: anxiety, depression, fatigue, inflammation, nausea, vomiting, and chest pain due to coughing. Thus far, various studies, clinical trials, and anecdotal evidence support cannabis’s ability to help treat the unwanted health issues listed above while having pneumonia.
Additionally, it has been found that cannabidiol (CBD) contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties. One main symptom of pneumonia is inflammation, which occurs within the small air sacs in our lungs. Therefore, since cannabis and CBD are anti-inflammatory agents, this medical benefit could be of much use to those with pneumonia. Also, cannabis and CBD are known to be effective analgesic, anti-nausea, and anti-emetic agents, which can significantly help pneumonia patients. On top of this, different studies have been released regarding cannabis’s anti-anxiety and anti-depressant properties. Although cannabis cannot cure pneumonia, it can certainly help relieve and reduce many of the infection’s symptoms.
Best Marijuana Practices & Strains for Relieving Pneumonia-Causing Symptoms
Lastly, since smoking cannabis can irritate our lungs and cause inflammation, it’s strongly recommended to stay away from smoking if you have pneumonia. If you experience any lung related issues at all, it’s advised to stay away from smoking entirely. Fortunately, vaping is a much healthier option that doesn’t play havoc on our lungs. The other cannabis consumption methods to utilize while having pneumonia include the following: oral ingestion via infused edibles, sublingual administration via sprays, suppositories, and/or topical products depending on where relief is needed.
Several cannabis strains that can be consumed for treating pneumonia’s symptoms include ACDC, Cannatonic, Harlequin, Charlotte’s Web, and Sour Tsunami. It’s suggested to consume high CBD strains to reap the cannabinoid’s many medicinal and therapeutic benefits, especially when one has pneumonia and their immune system is weaker than usual.
Overall, even though pneumonia is a treatable infection, it can still be life-threatening, and people can die if pneumonia is left undiagnosed or untreated for too long. If you have any reason to believe that you have pneumonia, get checked by a doctor right away. In the meantime, consider consuming different cannabis-based products to help relieve many of pneumonia’s symptoms while improving your quality of life during this difficult time.