By using marijuana will you be discriminated against for lung transplants?

Published Mar 7, 2019 12:55 p.m. ET

Inhaling combusted materials allows toxins and carcinogens to be absorbed into your system, primarily the lungs. These and other toxins are released into the air as second-hand smoke. Frequent use of cannabis can lead to lung conditions such as increased sputum production, wheezing and chronic bronchitis. Studies have shown that tobacco and marijuana use act synergistically and increase the chances of developing respiratory diseases.

Long term smoking of marijuana as some studies state can promote a decrease in a person’s airflow. This can be a cause for a rise in a person’s breathing rate, which in turn can lead to lung dysfunction.

Requirements that needed for the consideration of a lung transplant:

• For a bilateral lung transplant, you must be physiologically 60 years of age or less.
• For a single lung transplant age requirement of 65 or less
• One does not have to be 60 or 65, but your body must be like the typical condition of a person of those ages
• Poor prognosis of your disease with an eighteen, to a twenty-four-month rate for survival
• No other life-threatening disease can be present in your body

The above requirements are necessary whether the patient uses marijuana or not.

That being said, should a marijuana user be denied giving someone a life-saving lung transplant? Some hospitals policies clearly state that generally, they do not consider transplants to patients with active abuse of alcohol, tobacco or illicit drug dependencies.

Lung associations look at this issue from the point of view that there is a shortage of lungs available for transplant. Using a substance that damages your health will be looked on adversely when lung transplants are being considered.


Oregon’s organ transplant centers have legislation that ensures users of cannabis that require lung transplants will not be discriminated against. The bill will prevent centers from removing patients needing transplants from the list due to their use of marijuana.

Transplant patients can receive benefit from medical marijuana for pain management and sleep disorders that can accompany a patient needing a lung transplant. The Oregon Center does not discriminate by removing patients from their transplant list; however, patients are counseled on their use of cannabis.

I believe it is unanimous in the thought that smoking weed is the most harmful way of using cannabis. Let’s look at some ways that using marijuana will not harm the lungs and would provide the medicinal benefits that are being obtained from smoking the herb.

Tinctures sometimes called the green dragon is infused alcohol. This form of administering cannabis is fast and discreet. Taken under the tongue, the THC is rapidly absorbed into the system and addressing issues directed at easing the symptoms of chronic lung disease. Administering cannabis by this method, effects can typically be felt in 15-30 mins. Choose to add the tincture to a smoothie or tea or some other form that goes through the liver, you can expect the time for results to be a little longer. The time frame will be as when you are administering your cannabis through an edible form.

Edibles: as previously mentioned are another means of absorbing cannabis into your system. They will provide a extended, healthier means of obtaining the effects of marijuana. In general edibles effectiveness for pain management lasts on average for 4 to 6 hours.

With more countries and states moving forward with marijuana legalization, more studies will be come up highlighting the health benefits that the marijuana plant can provide. Lung disease is one of many illnesses that can be managed with medical marijuana use.



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