Florida Judge Doug Bench

Retired Florida Judge Doug Bench. Image Source.

by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It’s an umbrella term used to cover chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, and emphysema. Considered incurable and progressive even with mainstream medical applications, COPD leads to other maladies caused by oxygen shortages.

The pharmaceutical drugs used to manage symptoms only worsen the condition, putting many into hospital stays after E.R. visits.

Early stages of four stage COPD, which mainstream medicine predicts will worsen over time, include shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, and a chronic need to cough up the sputum (phlegm) lodged in bronchial tubes. COPD can be diagnosed with pulmonary function tests to determine which of the four stages one is in.

Almost all those older folks you see lugging oxygen canisters that feed O2 into their lungs via tubes in their nostrils are COPD sufferers. Asthma produces similar breathing problems, even wheezing, but is usually not chronic and without the level of coughing up sputum often involved with COPD.

Smoking is blamed for COPD, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes asthmatics can develop COPD, and folks with COPD can have asthma attacks.

The pharmaceutical remedies for COPD, which seem to help at first, are side effect nightmares that most COPD sufferers drop upon discovering other more natural solutions. There are some natural options existing that can make life less miserable for COPD sufferers who are forced into toxic steroidal pharmaceuticals to manage symptoms.

But the crisis of sudden difficult attacks often pushes COPD sufferers back into pharmaceutical symptom management remedies.

There is one natural treatment for COPD that is more effective than other natural treatments, however, and that is cannabis.

Judge Doug Bench’s Amazing Turnaround

During his tenure as a Florida judge, Doug Bench had sent 311 marijuana users to jail. He was sure he was doing the right thing then, though now he acknowledges his remorse knowing that some of them were probably using marijuana for medical purposes.

Judge Bench was diagnosed with late stage COPD and told by a pulmonologist that his condition would worsen even with treatments and his life expectancy would be 20 to 30 months. His wife went online and began researching while Doug was barely tolerating the medications he had been prescribed.

Ms. Bench’s research at first wound up with her preparing essential oil solutions that had some minor positive effects on his breathing and ability to sleep, but not nearly enough. Then she came up with yet another unnamed essential oil. Doug demanded to know what it was before he tried it. Then she confessed, she had gone to Colorado, where they own a ranch, and purchased cannabis oil.

Doug vehemently refused at first, but finally gave in and tried it when she threatened to leave him. He was surprised and amazed at the early rapid resulting lung improvements by taking only a drop of the oil under his tongue nightly. Now Judge Bench’s COPD is at least in remission and he is a Florida medical marijuana advocate equipped with the true history of cannabis suppression. He’s an excellent speaker and tells his detailed story very well. You can hear it in the radio interview below.

If the Facebook page video is still available, you can see Judge Bench in activist action as a witness to the Florida Department of Health Public Workshops hearing on Medical Marijuana Implementation. There he emotionally pleads for improving the health needs of Florida citizens with better cannabis legislation.

Cannabis is a Healthy COPD Remedy Not Allowed in Most Medical Marijuana States

It’s too early to tell if cannabis can completely cure COPD. But it serves to relieve the anxiety of not breathing well, restore normal breathing, clear lungs of mucous, and allow one to enjoy regular exercise with only low dose applications that offer somewhat pleasant side effects instead of harmful side effects that exacerbate symptoms.

One of the pioneers of forging medical marijuana legislation in Oregon, Dr. Phil Leveque, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 90, had prescribed cannabis for over 5,000 patients and stated for the record:

Marijuana is one of the best bronchodilators, much better than any other class of drugs. For these respiratory diseases, [asthma and COPD] marijuana can be life-saving.

Dr. Leveque also pooh-poohed the idea that smoking marijuana was bad for the lungs, claiming cannabinoids are beneficial for lung tissues. And it seems there are some published studies that confirm Dr. Leveque’s assertion. In some cases, lung function increased with pot smokers who did not use tobacco cigarettes. (Sources)

However, those not familiar with smoking marijuana may suffer from throat irritations at first, causing some coughing. The common choice for most COPD sufferers are edibles and oils. Their cannabis effects last longer than smoking or vaping with a cannabis vaporizer.

Using a vaporizer leaves no smoke. The cannabis is heated, not burned, and a cool vapor is created and inhaled. This serves as instant relief for sudden attacks of tight chested shortness of breath, but again, the positive effects don’t last as long as edibles and oils.

The high THC oils are used sparingly, usually a drop under the tongue in the morning and one at night. Regardless of delivery mode, the ideal COPD cannabis strain is a high THC sativa dominant hybrid strain.

State by State Cannabis Legality for COPD

It appears that Washington, D.C. allows physician discretion for approving anything and everything for cannabis. A few of the more progressive states, such as California, also allow physician discretion for granting medical marijuana cards to anyone with a debilitating or life threatening disease.

Still, most medical cannabis friendly states don’t have a specific provision that allows cannabis for COPD. Therefore many COPD sufferers have to be diagnosed with other diseases considered co-morbid that are covered by medical marijuana statutes in each state.

One person was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and he used that to get his medical cannabis card, which he used for his COPD. Prior to that, this same person was living in a very medical marijuana unfriendly state, and he was getting his cannabis oil from underground sources in other states.

Eventually he moved to Colorado where he got his card that allowed using cannabis for arthritis. This cycle goes on for ever-increasing COPD victims who become aware of cannabis THC’s medical properties.

Of course, some of those progressive medical marijuana states have now opened the flood gates to allow recreational cannabis use. With that level of open cannabis marketing, COPD people would have access to their medicine. But generally, medical cannabis tends to be more potent and less expensive than recreational marijuana.

So it would be better to allow COPD as a legal exemption for DEA hands-off cannabis use, or at least leave it to a physician’s discretion as the incurable and debilitating disease that it is. Perhaps the association of smoking pot is the image most politicians and government agencies hold in their collective consciousness. And “everyone knows” smoking is bad for COPD victims.

Perhaps they’re not aware of the other options mentioned earlier in this article for taking in high THC cannabis. Even though maybe most COPD cannabis users shun smoking marijuana, the high THC/CBD medicinal aspects of cannabis usually compensate for whatever irritations are caused by smoking pot, again, according to some studies.

Other Natural Remedies

The herb Lobelia can be purchased over the counter in most health food stores as a tincture. It helps especially with acute breathing problems, but taken too often can purportedly create adverse effects.

Spending time in salt caves and breathing in the cave’s air is a time proven long term remedy for lung diseases proven throughout Europe and Russia. Artificial salt caves can be built and there are some available in the USA. So far there are 57 halotherapy Himalayan Salt Cave spas in America listed here.

COPD sufferers usually give up on exercise because of their breathing problems and inherent weakness due to cellular oxygen shortages. But that’s a mistake. One who has COPD should impose increasingly difficult treadmill and outdoor walking consistently. Cannabis users have an easier time with this approach.

COPD sufferers need to be vigilant against contacting infectious diseases that affect the lungs. But flu and pneumonia vaccines have serious adverse side effects. A better idea would be having a nebulizer loaded with colloidal silver handy.

As with all natural remedies, an improved lifestyle with a better diet is heavily encouraged. There are also several lifestyle measures that help COPD sufferers endure. But they tend to be very demanding and are not as convenient with our modern living.

The more cannabis is recognized as the effective medicine that it is, the more COPD sufferers can relax, breath easy, and kick their toxic pharmaceutical medications.