What You Need to Know About Marijuana And Cystic Fibrosis

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Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a fatal genetic disease. It messes up the cells that produce sweat, mucus, and digestive acids, so that these essential human juices become sticky and turgid (or, in the case of mucus, even stickier and turgider) and clog up our insides—particularly the lungs and pancreas.

Particularly saline sweat is a symptom of CF. So is wheezing, phlegmy coughing, stuffy nose, smelly, greasy stools, and general yuckiness of the insides. Over time, the disease can make it difficult to metabolize food, cause diabetes, inflame the gallbladder, and fatally damage the airways.

Because about half of CF patients are children and because the disease targets the lungs, physicians have not shown much interest in possible cannabis treatments. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that the endocannabinoid system may have some role in causing (and, ergo, curing) CF. It is evidence that is circulated almost entirely on heavily partizan websites that tend to incorporate a marijuana pun into their URL.

The wellspring of medical cannabis research into CF seems to be two reports coauthored by a single researcher: Esther Fride. Both are based on the somewhat tenuous premise that “endocannabinoids are fatty acid derivatives, and fatty acid deficiency is considered a major factor in CF etiology.”

The only mention of a medical use for cannabis for CF that we could find from an independent source comes from the Mayo Clinic, which recommends oral does of synthetic THC to improve appetite. We imagine that cannabis could credibly relieve CF pain and possibly lessen the organ inflammation as well. But’s pure speculation; we couldn’t find any documented support.


Pending more evidence, we have to call this one a bust. Of course, the hope is that there will be more and considerable research done in the near future. We will update this post when that is the case.




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