Cannabis Smokers More Likely to Develop Lung Diseases Than Cigarette Smokers

20 November, 2022 | Pranay Lad

Cannabis Top News

According to a recent study of medical records, Cannabis smokers had greater rates of a certain kind of emphysema than tobacco smokers.

A particular kind of emphysema and inflamed airways may be more common among marijuana users than in regular cigarette smokers, according to chest scans.

Canadian researchers examined the chest scans of marijuana smokers and tobacco-only smokers who were matched for age in their investigation, which was published on Tuesday in Radiology. They discovered that those who breathed marijuana were twice as likely to develop paraseptal emphysema as those who merely smoked cigarettes.

Dr. Giselle Revah, a cardiothoracic radiologist at The Ottawa Hospital and one of the study’s co-authors, described paraseptal emphysema as a condition affecting the tiny air sacs in the lungs that are in charge of eliminating carbon dioxide and absorbing oxygen.

Small holes are formed in the lungs when they are injured, which affects gas exchange, she explained.

According to Revah, there may be two reasons why marijuana smokers have a greater incidence of paraseptal emphysema. Joints don’t have a filter as cigarettes do, and marijuana smokers inhale for a longer period of time.

Paraseptal emphysema can cause a number of distressing symptoms, although it is less deadly than the most prevalent form of emphysema associated with prolonged, heavy tobacco use, according to a pulmonologist and longtime cannabis researcher Dr. Donald Tashkin of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.

Symptoms of emphysema include:

  • breathing difficulty while climbing stairs.
  • a feeling that one’s lungs are running out of air.
  • persistent wheezing and coughing
  • spitting up mucus
  • Fatigue.

According to Tashkin, paraseptal emphysema can occasionally result in a collapsed lung, which can be fatal.

No emphysema variant can be cured.

Revah and her coworkers examined the medical records of 146 people who had undergone a particular type of X-ray known as a CT scan in order to more closely examine the effects of marijuana use on lung health.

By searching the Ottawa Hospital records for the words “marijuana” and “cannabis,” the marijuana smokers were located. Next, Revah and her coworkers identified which marijuana users had undergone a chest scan.

Following that, they looked for nonsmokers and cigarette smokers who had undergone chest scans in order to compare them to marijuana users.

28 of the 56 people who admitted to using marijuana disclosed how much they typically smoked, which was 1.85 grams per day. 50 out of 56 marijuana users admitted to also using cigarettes.

Ages ranged from 20 to 73 for marijuana users, 19 to 75 for nonsmokers, and 50 to 71 for tobacco-only users.

Compared to 5% of nonsmokers and 67% of tobacco-only smokers, the investigation indicated that 75% of marijuana users had some form of emphysema. The researchers discovered that 57% of marijuana users had paraseptal emphysema, compared to 24% of tobacco-only smokers when they concentrated on patients from the three groups who were, on average, 60 years old (30 marijuana smokers, 33 tobacco-only smokers, and 29 nonsmokers).

Inflammation of the airways was more common among marijuana users.

Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, a pulmonologist and the head of Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Tobacco Treatment Clinic, was not surprised by the results.

Regular exposure to chemicals and poisons will cause harm to the lungs, according to Galiatsatos. “The lungs were not intended for marijuana or cigarette smoke.”

The study has to be verified with a bigger study because it has drawbacks, notably its small size, according to Galiatsatos.

According to Dr. Thomas McLaren, a cardiothoracic radiologist and associate professor of radiology and cardiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, “any inhalation is detrimental for the lungs, whether it is cigarette smoke or marijuana smoke.”

This is definitely not the greatest method to utilise cannabis, according to McLaren, who added that edibles are recommended for cancer patients.

According to Tashkin, indications of chronic bronchitis and broad pathological abnormalities in the airways were discovered in a UCLA study of persons who only use marijuana.

He explained, “So smoking marijuana is causing some damage to the central airways.