Cannabis use and lung health

Published Mar 16, 2019 01:00 p.m. ET

With legalization fresh in the minds of Canadians it is crucial perhaps now more than ever that the people are educated on the possibility of any adverse effects that can be expected from smoking marijuana. Knowledge is power, and with alcohol studies being so prevalent it may be quite a while before cannabis use can be looked at as in depth with such confidence. Cigarettes, alcohol, cigars, and any other legal mind-altering substance available on the market by law must come labeled with warnings. Due to limited research there just isn’t enough evidence to push Health Canada in one way or another to say with absolute certainty that there is or isn’t a specific health-related condition that can be attributed to marijuana use alone. That does not mean that there isn’t widely studied information available to learn from, the facts can just be more challenging to find if you don’t know where to look. Here we will focus on what we do know about a weed smoker’s lungs.

What does weed do to your lungs?

Cannabis smoke reacts similarly in a user’s lungs to any other sort of smoke, becoming an irritant once introduced to the lining of the lungs. The smoke itself is fraught with several widely known more volatile chemicals such as tar which leads many medical professionals to believe that it does have the potential to cause cancer or lung disease. Smoking marijuana can also cause an increase in the user’s airway resistance and airway inflammation which has the potential to bring on symptoms of bronchitis or chronic bronchitis.

Is smoking weed bad for your lungs?

While we do know that a weed smokers’ s lungs will go through some form of irritation after chronic use, the jury is still out on the ultimate verdict of just how bad it is. Instead, what we can do is focus on the statistics of those who smoke cannabis vs those who do not.

  • Those who smoke marijuana on a regular basis are diagnosed with symptoms of chronic bronchitis up to twice as often as their non-smoking counterparts.
  • People who smoke cannabis frequently have more outpatient medical trips for respiratory issues than those who do not.
  • THC has shown the potential to inhibit a user’s immune system making a recovery from respiratory problems such as chest infections or pneumonia longer and more difficult for those who use marijuana.

With legalization fresh in the minds of Canadians it is crucial perhaps now more than ever that the people are educated on the possibility of any adverse effects that can be expected from smoking marijuana. Knowledge is power, and with alcohol studies being so prevalent it may be quite a while before cannabis use can be looked at as in depth with such confidence. Cigarettes, alcohol, cigars, and any other legal mind-altering substance available on the market by law must come labeled with warnings. Due to limited research there just isn’t enough evidence to push Health Canada in one way or another to say with absolute certainty that there is or isn’t a specific health-related condition that can be attributed to marijuana use alone. That does not mean that there isn’t widely studied information available to learn from, the facts can just be more challenging to find if you don’t know where to look. Here we will focus on what we do know about a weed smoker’s lungs.

What does weed do to your lungs?

Cannabis smoke reacts similarly in a user’s lungs to any other sort of smoke, becoming an irritant once introduced to the lining of the lungs. The smoke itself is fraught with several widely known more volatile chemicals such as tar which leads many medical professionals to believe that it does have the potential to cause cancer or lung disease. Smoking marijuana can also cause an increase in the user’s airway resistance and airway inflammation which has the potential to bring on symptoms of bronchitis or chronic bronchitis.

Is smoking weed bad for your lungs?

While we do know that a weed smokers’ s lungs will go through some form of irritation after chronic use, the jury is still out on the ultimate verdict of just how bad it is. Instead, what we can do is focus on the statistics of those who smoke cannabis vs those who do not.

  • Cannabis smoke includes many of the same carcinogenic properties as tobacco does.
  • Marijuana smoke produces 50% more of some of the most noxious carcinogenic chemicals including vinyl chlorides, benzanthracene, benzopyrene, and nitrosamines than cigarette smoke.
  • Cannabis smoke produces up to four times more tar than cigarette smoke because of the way that it is normally used. Smoke is generally inhaled deeper and held for longer which is what causes this difference.
  • Cigarette smoke is known and proven to generate higher numbers of cancer in user’s while studies on marijuana smokers couldn’t find the same correlation.

Conclusion

The point of this article is not to discourage the use of cannabis as our goal is merely to inform you of the facts so that you can make an educated decision. This article includes only one aspect of cannabis use that is being researched. If you are concerned about the potential hazards to your health from smoking weed than there are many other more health conscious ways to ingest marijuana including tinctures, vaping, edibles, and oils that will all provide the same positive types of effects in a user.

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