The official blog of the Lung Institute.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are currently medical marijuana and cannabis programs in 29 of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
These laws were designed to help individuals find relief from medical conditions related to chronic pain, nausea, and anxiety. Some of the most common diagnoses that lead to the use of marijuana include cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, and HIV or AIDS.
However, what happens if your medical condition is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD? In this situation, does medical marijuana hurt or help? To help answer this question, we’ve done a bit of research.
What Research Says About Marijuana and COPD
Healthline reports that studies have discovered that long-term use of marijuana can negatively impact common COPD symptoms. For instance, it found that it can increase mucus production (even damaging the mucus membranes), make you cough more, and increase your risk of lung infections.
They further suggest that some of these negative consequences likely occur because marijuana smokers “may hold smoke longer and deeper into the lungs and smoke to a shorter butt length.” This increases the amount of tar in the lungs, maybe as much as four times that of cigarettes.
Marijuana usage also increases carbon monoxide byproducts in the blood, which lowers its oxygen level, a factor that can affect how you feel. This issues is compounded even further because there are many different strains of marijuana and, since some people grow their own, there is a lack of consistency from one plant to the next.
Does Marijuana Cause COPD?
As far as whether smoking marijuana could potentially cause COPD, one 2009 journal article reports that “firm conclusions cannot be drawn about the association between use of marijuana and COPD based on the limited and inconsistent data available.” In other words, there haven’t been a lot of studies in this area and, as far as the ones that have been done, different ones have found different results.
Another article, this one published in 2014, looked at this same topic and added that there is also a lack of research when cannabis is consumed by other methods, name water pipe or vaporizer. Though, some have found that inhaled toxins are still a concern when these are used, even though they don’t involve putting smoke in the lungs.
One Final Word
Though research is leaning toward medical marijuana hurting COPD more than helping it, some will continue to smoke it. Therefore, if this is your decision, if you notice that you’re having a harder time breathing, experience tightness in your chest, or have a lot of respiratory infections, you may want to talk to your doctor to see if your marijuana consumption is making your COPD worse.
If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic disease like COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis or other symptoms of lung disease, the Lung Institute offers a variety of cellular treatment options. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 or fill out the form to see if you qualify for cellular therapy, and find out what cellular therapy could mean for you.
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