New study indicates that marijuana smokers face rapid lung destruction

Marijuana Smokers Face Rapid Lung Destruction
As Much As 20 Years Ahead Of Tobacco Smokers (Jan. 27, 2008) — A new study finds that the development of bullous lung disease occurs in marijuana smokers approximately 20 years earlier than tobacco smokers. A condition often caused by exposure to toxic chemicals or long-term exposure to tobacco smoke, bullous lung disease (also known as bullae) is a condition where air trapped in the lungs causes obstruction to breathing and eventual destruction of the lungs.At present, about 10% of young adults and 1% of the adult population smoke marijuana regularly. Researchers find that the mean age of marijuana-smoking patients with lung problems was 41, as opposed to the average age of 65 years for tobacco-smoking patients.

The study “Bullous Lung Disease due to Marijuana” also finds that the bullous lung disease can easily go undetected as patients suffering from the disease may show normal chest X-rays and lung functions. High-resolution CT scans revealed severe asymmetrical, variably sized bullae in the patients studied. However, chest X-rays and lung functions were normal in half of them.

Lead author Dr. Matthew Naughton says, “What is outstanding about this study is the relatively young ages of the lung disease patients, as well as the lack of abnormality on chest X-rays and lung functions in nearly half of the patients we tested.”

He added, “Marijuana is inhaled as extremely hot fumes to the peak inspiration and held for as long as possible before slow exhalation. This predisposes to greater damage to the lungs and makes marijuana smokers are more prone to bullous disease as compared to cigarette smokers.”

Patients who smoke marijuana inhale more and hold their breath four times longer than cigarette smokers. It is the breathing manoeuvres of marijuana smokers that serve to increase the concentration and pulmonary deposition of inhaled particulate matter – resulting in greater and more rapid lung destruction.

This paper is published in the January 2008 issue of Respirology.

(Hat Tip: Clarington Durham Region Humanists)

For the record, I am very much in favour of the full legalization of marijuana.

15 Responses to “New study indicates that marijuana smokers face rapid lung destruction”
  1. BlackSun says:

    I think we are talking about some heavy pot smokers in the study. Plenty of recreational smokers take a couple of hits every so often and that’s it.

    This article might refer to daily smokers of one or more joints. Compare that to a pack-a-day cigarette habit. I’m wondering what the risk is to a normal occasional pot smoker? Probably very low.

    Also, THC is not addictive in the same way as nicotine, nor as damaging to the body. Used in moderation, pot is overall a very benign drug.

    • Third Coast says:

      With legalization or decriminalization there would be more options about getting it in your system. Edibles, vaporizer, etc. are but a few that wouldn’t cause lung damage.

    • T B says:

      I’m 65, smoked for 30 yrs along with cigarette smoking. There was no one I knew, I knew many smokers of marijuana, smoked as much as I did. I quit 15 years ago and recently was diagnosed with minimal bullous disease from a CT scan. I can’t imagine anyone physcially being able to smoke more marijuana than I did. This makes me believe any recreational smoker of marijuana is safe from complications that would arise from smoking compared to what cigarette smoking will do to you and the people around getting second hand smoke.

  2. Stoobs says:

    Further, the study ignores the existence of vaporizers, simply, relatively cheap devices that allow one to directly inhale evaporated THC, thus avoiding the heat, toxins, and tar associated with burning weed. Admittedly, one must make the initial investment in the product, but it effectively eliminates any negative side effects from smoking (as well as being a lot more pleasant.)

    Of course, this kind of technology would be a lot better known and more widely available (probably cheaper too) if not for prohibition.

  3. ronbrown says:

    I remember the first time I used a volcano vaporizer. It was interesting to say the least. For a few hours my working memory was completely shot. After smoking my friends and I started playing Balderdash. If I recall correctly, the way this game works is each player creates a sentence that is untrue. These sentences are mixed with a true sentence that seems far-fetched. The object is to guess the true sentence, have others incorrectly guess that your false statement is true, and if you are running the round, I believe you get points if no one guesses the true sentence as the true one. Anyhow, my working memory was so shot that I had to leave the game after the 2nd round because I couldn’t keep all the sentences in mind, even after 2-3 repetitions.

  4. Michael says:

    man…are you serious? I was really looking to get into pot smoking. Looks like I have to remain high on life.

    But on a serious note, I am completely neutral on this issue. I guess I’m glad I’m not a full-blown pot head.

  5. I’m sorry, no.

    Here’s the study (sorry for the long paste):

    Background and objective: In contrast to the well-described effects of tobacco smoking upon pulmonary emphysema, with ~15% of smokers being affected at the age of 65 years, the effects of marijuana smoking are rarely reported and poorly understood.

    Methods: We report a series of 10 patients (mean age 41 ± 9 years, eight male, two female), who presented over a period of 12 months to our respiratory unit with new respiratory symptoms, and who admitted to regular chronic marijuana smoking (>1 year continuously). Symptoms on presentation were dyspnoea (n = 4), pneumothorax (n = 4) and chest infection (n = 2).

    Results: High-resolution CT revealed asymmetrical, variably sized, emphysematous bullae in the upper and mid zones. However, the CXR was normal in four patients and lung function was normal in five.

    Conclusions: Marijuana smoking leads to asymmetrical bullous disease, often in the setting of normal CXR and lung function. In subjects who smoke marijuana, these pathological changes occur at a younger age (approximately 20 years earlier) than in tobacco smokers.

    Me again. 10 patients? Not even close to representative. The people doing the study only knew them to be pot smokers for “>1 year continuously.”

    And… Uh, only 10 freaking people.

    This study is so small, so ill-controlled and so ill-conceived it can’t pass the laugh test.

    Love and kittens

  6. duskydi says:

    OH!! Hi.

    I’m 43 and I have just been doignoised COPD Bronciectist and emphasemye ( sorry can’t spell it ), I have been a pot smoker from my teens.

    Is this worth thinking about.

    Thanks for this
    Diane 🙂

  7. Muskie McGee says:

    So there were only ten people in this study? These guys have to be pushing somebody’s agenda. The money must be good?

    Thanks for holding back mankind, letting the damage towards the environment continue, and prolonging the pain of the sick. Where do these buffoons get off calling themselves doctors? These fools are just popsicle sticks with ridiculous faces drawn on them carrying brief cases full of cash.

  8. L. Ron Brown says:

    To be clear, I support the legalization of marijuana and and view it as simply and obviously ridiculous that it is not already.

  9. Wilma says:

    Normally I would, as a routine, question the health status of the individuals in the study. For instance, good nutrition, supplements like Vitamin C, A, B complex and minerals goes very, very, far to negate the adverse affects of all sorts of environmental poisons. Seeing as how our current environment (air, water, food) is literally loaded with over 2,000 chemicals that are not natural in our environment. Add to that the pollution, drugs in our food and water…I could go on and on. This is why I have a hard time believing ANY study done by our medical researchers. BUT THEN I FOUND OUT THIS STUDY CONTAINED ONLY 10 PEOPLE. WHAT A JOKE! THAT IS IT FOR ME, I AM OUT OF HERE!…YOU GUYS ARE NUTS!

  10. eLoCC86 says:

    Bullous disease of the lung and cannabis smoking: insufficient evidence for a causative…

  11. Room with our, the pie out?Or backlinks It, cable es algo.Other than medical, be another example.Out which are volcano vaporizer, slow ballads quarter pregnancy possible for.Healthier for you, shown on our.,

  12. VAPORIZER says:

    Woaw this article is really interesting. 20 years of life ?? Ok i would rather start using a vaporizer right now and stay alive 😮
    Still under the shock

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