Can Smoking Medical Marijuana Damage Your Lungs?
Photo credit - Marijuana and the Lungs - Good News
"Habitual use of marijuana alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function." - Dr. Donald P. Tashkin
Medical Marijuana can be extremely helpful when it come to dealing with pain, stress, insomnia and countless other disorders. Some people say Marijuana is really bad for the lungs but others say it can even help asthma sufferers. What's the truth?
Looking at many peer reviewed Journals, we find only a minute fraction of researchers that even suggest that Marijuana as a cause of respiratory disease, and only then in the case of excessive consumption.
According to a comprehensive research study reported in the American Medical Association Journal, moderate Cannabis smokers are not prone to lung damage. Researchers monitored more than 5,000 subjects aged 20-30. Light use was described to be a couple of joints per month with moderate smoking being a couple of joints several days per week. Some of the participants smoked tobacco and infact, these were the people who smoked the most Pot.
You are not going to believe the findings. The group of Cannabis users (compared to the control group) were found to have an INCREASE in lung capacity!!!
“FEV1 and FVC (intake and exhale volume) both actually increased with moderate and occasional use of marijuana” - Dr. Mark Pletcher,
It was suggested that the increase in lung capacity was linked to the way Pot smokers inhaled, deeply and long, then a long exhale. Practice makes perfect? At any rate, pot smoking was not, in any associated with diminished lung capacity. The urban myth is that holding a toke for a longer period of time increases the effect, but this apparently is not true, according to Steve Liebke's research findings.
Another not from the research team was that THC has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity which definitely is a good thing for lung tissue. So whatever harm is done by the other ingredients in the smoke, the overall effect might be significantly for the better.
The final conclusion of the study was stated to be:
"Marijuana may have beneficial effects on pain control, appetite, mood, and management of other chronic symptoms. Our findings suggest that occasional use of marijuana for these or other purposes may not be associated with adverse consequences on pulmonary function."
However, the research team warned that their findings might not apply to heavy, habitual smokers of Cannabis and infact, there was some evidence to suggest a decline in lung function. with heavy smoking. To monitor possible outcomes like lung cancer, a much longer study duration was required.
“Medical Marijuana also succeeded in reversing experimentally induced asthma, in a manner that was comparable to what could be achieved with a standard therapeutic bronchodilator that was widely used at the time.” - Dr. Donald Tashkin, a lung expert and professor of medicine at UCLA
The findings are pretty much in line with common sense and logic. Moderation is the best policy. But what is the trade off with heavy marijuana smoking? Is the overall effect still good? The research results are conflicting. But isn't that to be expected when you do one thing good and one thing bad?
On the contrary, a New Zealand study suggested that heavy pot smoking is associated with lung issues. Then again, in the Kiwi study, what kind of weed did they smoke? The study was small and the categorization of heavy smokers was dodgy, set at a joint or more per day. That's like saying drinking one glass of wine per day is heavy drinking. There are a lot more issues, such as the strain, cannabinoid profile, and pesticides and mold, the study lacked in depth. If you're smoking mold and pesticides, you're going to get very ill and these factors were not taken into account. Our last word this study; it is what it is.
When you get into quality research done by Major Medical schools, again there is no proof in any study that definitely concludes that a joint a day is harmful to the lungs. Not one. Again heavy smoking is not prescribed except in extreme cases where patients suffer from uncontrollable seizures from Epilepsy or debilitating full body pain.
There are so many great MMJ products to choose from - and ways to dose - that lessen whatever real risk there is in smoking weed. Nowadays, you can buy pot that has been thoroughly tested for toxic chemicals, pesticides, mold, etc, which all wreak havoc on the lungs.
Cannabis oil loaded with the super medicinal non-psychoactive Cannabinoid CBD and / or THC are available to smoke in a relatively clean fashion as compared to Pot.
Then there is the vaporizer. By heating marijuana at a lower temperature with a Vap (than combustion), a vapor is produced that contains the active medical ingredients in marijuana. Vaping cannabis is thought to remove approximately 95% of the smoke (including harmful byproducts) that is inhaled.
“If you were an asthmatic and were interested in delivering THC for its euphoric effect, or medicinally, then as a bonus there would be a bronchodilator effect, which would not be a bad thing.” - Dr. Tashkin
But if all this scientific hopla doesn't convince you, the there are always edibles. You can never get lung cancer from eating a brownie, but you might be cured. That is, if you believe any of the latest research.
MMJDOCTORONLINE NOTES: We provide fast, cheap and legal MMJ Recommendations. Click here to apply. It takes just minutes to type in your info and a licensed California physician will review and approve your application the same day. You have found Medical Marijuana Doctor.
FURTHER READING - MEDICAL MARIJUANA SMOKING AND YOUR LUNGS