CBD and Altitude Sickness

CBD and Altitude Sickness

What is Altitude Sickness?

Altitude sickness is an illness that can occur when someone is at a much greater altitude than they are used to. Higher altitudes are synonymous with lower oxygen pressure, which can lead to a below-normal level of oxygen in the bloodstream. This creates a number of symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Appetite loss
  • Difficulty sleeping

HAPE (high-altitude pulmonary edema) and HACE (high-altitude cerebral edema) are two much more extreme forms of altitude sickness that require immediate medical attention. They can cause symptoms such as:

  • Severe fatigue and weakness
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Coma

Fortunately, these types of altitude sickness are much less common than the milder form.

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis. In contrast to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not cause a high. CBD-infused goods such as food, beverages, and body care products have exploded in popularity over the past several years. This may be because CBD has been found, at least anecdotally, to mitigate a wide range of ailments, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, and many others.

Can CBD Help Treat Altitude Sickness?

Given CBD’s potentiality to alleviate a large number of physical and mental conditions, it is no wonder that some may be curious if it can reduce or even completely prevent altitude sickness. Unfortunately, there have yet to be any studies focusing on this specific area. However, one study from 2015 found that CBD does help to open up bronchial passages, which may prevent low levels of oxygen in the blood. Thus, it could potentially inhibit altitude sickness from occurring, since under-oxygenated blood is what creates altitude sickness in the first place. Additionally, anecdotal data commending CBD’s ability to prevent altitude sickness does exist.

Overall, more research is needed on this topic, but it is certainly possible that CBD could prevent people who would usually experience altitude sickness from enduring its symptoms. Hopefully, in the future, CBD’s capability to help with altitude sickness and other illnesses will be further researched to reach more solid conclusions.

However, before taking CBD for altitude sickness or any other reason, please consult a medical professional.

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