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Cystic Fibrosis (CF)

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disorder that mostly affects the lungs and causes abnormal amounts of viscous mucus production. Other symptoms include frequent chest infections, poor weight gain, poor growth & weight gain, clubbed fingers and toes, shortness of breath and salty-tasting skin. CF also affects the pancreas, liver, kidneys and intestine.

 

CF is caused by mutations in the gene for the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein. People can be carriers if they have a single working copy of the gene. People with CF are often on one or more antibiotics at all times in order to prevent infection.

 

Though many antibiotics are generally safe, antibiotics in the aminoglycoside class can cause hearing loss, loss of balance and renal failure with long-term use. Antibiotics may also become ineffective over time due to resistance. Other treatments for CF include vitamin supplements, high protein diets and chest percussion & postural drainage to help keep the airways clear.

 

Suffering from CF means an increased likelihood of developing bowel problems, diabetes, infertility, respiratory problems, pneumonia, arthritis, sinusitis and lots more. Though a relatively rare disease, CF is one of the most common life-shortening inherited diseases.

 

Positives

 

  • Many strains of cannabis have high amounts of limonene, borneol and eucalyptol – all bronchodilators that can help ease breathing
  • THC is also a potential bronchodilator
  • Cannabis can help manage the aches and pains associated with CF and the effects of regular chest percussion
  • Medicine that targets the endocannabinoid receptors may help prevent coughing
  • Help increase appetite and decrease nausea
  • Help reduce inflammation
  • May help defeat superbugs (e.g. MRSA – see our chat with Bonita “Bo” Money) that have developed due to antibiotic resistance

Negatives

 

  • Smoking cannabis may make things worse for those with CF
  • Important that the cannabis is free of pathogens (e.g. moulds, bacteria etc.) that may harm those with a suppressed immune system

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