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Similarities and differences between smoking cannabis and tobacco When comparing cannabis and tobacco smoke, the exposures are different based on chemical constituents and smoking topography. Cannabis smokers typically inhale more deeply and for a longer duration. Table 1 — Cannabis Smoke Vs. Tobacco Smoke.
Values presented reflect the difference in cannabis smoke. Acute Effects on Lung Function Upon initial use, inhaling cannabis in particular, via THC may dilate the airways of healthy and asthmatic individuals from several minutes to hours and might be dose related. Chronic Effects on Lung Function With chronic habitual smoking of cannabis, users often cite symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, excess sputum production, chest tightness, pharyngitishoarse voice, worsening asthma symptoms and the development of chronic bronchitis.
Chronic smoking in physical changes to the respiratory system. When looking at biopsy specimens, researchers have noted that chronic cannabis smoking in extensive histopathologic abnormalities in the trachea -bronchial mucosae similar to tobacco use. Infection Risk In addition to airway injury, cannabis smoke may increase the risk of airway infections such as pneumonia.
Airway infection rates among HIV-positive cannabis smokers are increased compared to non-users. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease COPD Risk When reviewing epidemiological studies, occasional use of marijuana with low cumulative use has not been established as a risk factor for the development of COPD based on measuring spirometry.
Lung Cancer Risk As cannabis smoke contains carcinogens, there is a concern that cannabis smoking may lead to the development of lung cancer. With chronic cannabis use, histological changes have been noted in biopsies pointing to pre-cancerous states. Reversal of Adverse Effects via Cannabis Smoking Cessation It is unknown whether cannabis smoking cessation reduces the observed histological changes in airways.
A longitudinal study of young adults over 10 years found that those who smoked either cannabis or tobacco were at increased risk of symptoms of chronic bronchitis at follow-up. Short term minutes bronchodilator effects. More frequent use noted to produce bronchospasm. Development of chronic bronchitis and symptoms of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, excess sputum production, chest tightness, pharyngitis, hoarse voice, worsening asthma symptoms.
Inconsistent evidence. Some studies report increased risk of cancer while others do not. Difficult to control for the influence of tobacco use. Smoking cessation shown to reduce acute and chronic bronchitis symptoms.
What to know about a weed smoker's lungs
Unknown if any reversal in histologic changes occur. Due to the concurrent use of cannabis and tobacco smoking, research obtained on acute and chronic use, infection risk, COPD risk and lung cancer risk is confounded to various degrees and therefore not as robust in comparison to the literature on tobacco use and respiratory harms.
In an attempt to limit the degree of confoundingmost studies attempted to control for factors such as age, social factors and tobacco use. Aspergillosis - is the name given to a wide variety of diseases caused by infection by fungi of the genus Aspergillus. Asthma - a chronic lung disorder that is marked by recurring episodes of airway obstruction. Bronchial, Bronchi - is a passage of airway in the respiratory system that conducts air into the lungs after branching from the trachea.
Bronchitis - is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes. Bronchopulmonary - Pertaining to both the air passages bronchi leading to the lungs and the lungs pulmonary themselves.
Bronchoscopy - Bronchoscopy is an endoscopic technique of visualizing the inside of the airways for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Bronchospasm - spasm of bronchial smooth muscle producing narrowing of the bronchi. Confounding - A situation in which the effect or association between an exposure and outcome is distorted by the presence of another variable. Cytokines - any of a of substances, such as interferon, interleukin, and growth factors that are secreted by certain cells of the immune system and have an effect on other cells. Endocannabinoid - cannabinoids produced endogenously for example in humans and not from plant sources.
Epidemiological - relating to the branch of medicine which deals with the incidence, distribution, and control of diseases. Histopathologic - refers to the microscopic examination of tissue in order to study the manifestations of disease. Macrophages - a large phagocytic cell found in stationary form in the tissues or as a mobile white blood cell, especially at sites of infection. Mucosae - is a membrane that lines various cavities in the body and covers the surface of internal organs. Natural killer cells - are a type of lymphocyte a white blood cell and a component of innate immune system.
Particulates - matter in particulate form that can cause harm to human health. Pathogens - a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease. Phagocytosis - the ingestion of bacteria or other material by phagocytes. Pharyngitis — is caused by swelling in the back of the throat pharynx between the tonsils and the voice box larynx. Phytocannabinoid - naturally occurring cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Pre-cancerous - of a cell or medical condition likely to develop into cancer if untreated.
Sputum - a mixture of saliva and mucus coughed up from the respiratory tract. Trachea - colloquially called the windpipe, is a cartilaginous tube that connects the pharynx and larynx to the lungs, allowing the passage of air, and so is present in almost all air-breathing animals with lungs. Tuberculosis - is a lung disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. The latest scientific evidence on this topic was reviewed by the Centre's leadership team.
There are no conflicts of interest. Questions regarding this piece should be directed to cmcr mcmaster. Back To Top. Toggle. Home News.
Latest News Archive. What effects does smoking cannabis have on the respiratory system?
Short-term effects of marijuana smoke on the lungs
April 27, Evidence Briefs Latest This Evidence Brief will summarize what is known about smoking cannabis and its acute and chronic effects on the respiratory system. Chronic Use Development of chronic bronchitis and symptoms of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, excess sputum production, chest tightness, pharyngitis, hoarse voice, worsening asthma symptoms. Risk is uncertain with high, cumulative use — likely to increase COPD risk. Lung Cancer Risk Histological biopsies show evidence of pre-cancerous airway changes among cannabis smokers.
Smoking Cessation of Cannabis Smoking cessation shown to reduce acute and chronic bronchitis symptoms. Limitations of Research Due to the concurrent use of cannabis and tobacco smoking, research obtained on acute and chronic use, infection risk, COPD risk and lung cancer risk is confounded to various degrees and therefore not as robust in comparison to the literature on tobacco use and respiratory harms.
Glossary of Terms Aspergillosis - is the name given to a wide variety of diseases caused by infection by fungi of the genus Aspergillus. Author Details The latest scientific evidence on this topic was reviewed by the Centre's leadership team. Routes of administration for cannabis use — basic prevalence and related health outcomes: A scoping review and synthesis. Int J Drug Policy.
Long-term damage caused by smoking marijuana
Medical cannabis use in Canada: Vapourization and modes of delivery. Harm Reduct J. Marijuana and lung diseases. Curr Opin Pulm Med. A comparison of mainstream and sidestream marijuana and tobacco cigarette smoke produced under two machine smoking conditions. Chem Res Toxicol.
N Engl J Med. Cannabis smoking and respiratory health: Consideration of the literature. Curr Respir Care Rep. Respir Care. Tashkin DP. The respiratory health benefits of quitting cannabis use. Eur Respir J. Effects of quitting cannabis on respiratory symptoms. Exception occured while executing the controller.