Long-term marijuana smoking leads to respiratory complaints

February 12, 2007

Long-term exposure to marijuana smoke is linked to many of the same health problems as tobacco smoke, such as increased respiratory symptoms like cough, phlegm and wheeze, according to a new study by researchers at Yale School of Medicine.

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States, and abuse of the drug is on the rise. The study is published in today's Archives of Internal Medicine. First author Jeanette M. Tetrault, M.D., and colleagues sought to find the relationship between marijuana smoking and pulmonary function or respiratory complications.

"While there is convincing data on the effects of tobacco smoke on pulmonary clinical outcomes, the effect of marijuana smoke has been poorly understood," said Tetrault, ambulatory care fellow at Yale School of Medicine and the Department of Veterans Affairs Connecticut Healthcare System.

Tetrault and colleagues systematically reviewed articles from 1966 through 2005 identified from the MEDLINE, PsychINFO and EMBASE databases that evaluated the effect of marijuana smoking on pulmonary function and respiratory complications. Of the 34 articles that met selection criteria, 12 were classified as challenge studies because they examined the link between short-term marijuana use and airway response. Eleven of the 12 studies found an association between short-term marijuana use and relaxation and opening of the air passages.

The study's physiologic data failed to show an association between long-term marijuana smoking and airflow obstruction (emphysema). However, all 14 studies that assessed long-term marijuana smoking and respiratory complications noted an association with increased respiratory symptoms, suggesting obstructive lung disease.

The authors noted several common limitations among the studies, including inadequate control of the complicating effect of tobacco smoking; lack of standardized measures for the amount or duration of marijuana use; and lack of standardized measures of the outcomes that were evaluated.

"Despite these limitations, clinicians should advise their patients of the potential negative impact of marijuana smoking on overall lung health," said Tetrault.

Source: Yale University

Explore further: Hookah use widespread among college students

Related Stories

Hookah use widespread among college students

April 5, 2011

Despite a growing number of cities instituting smoking bans across the country, hookah bars are cropping up everywhere – from chic downtown cafes to locations near college campuses, where they've found a loyal customer ...

Debate rages over health effects of marijuana

October 25, 2010

The marijuana cigarette, with its pungent smell, became a symbol of the 1960s. Bill Clinton tried it, but he didn't inhale. Comedians joked about burned-out dopers with brains altered by a variety of drugs, including pot. ...

Breast milk transmits drugs and medicines to the baby

June 24, 2010

There is great confusion among the scientific community about whether women who are drug abusers should breast feed their babies. In order to shed some light on this issue, scientists from various Spanish hospitals and research ...

Cannabis alters human DNA

June 16, 2009

A new study published by University of Leicester researchers has found "convincing evidence" that cannabis smoke damages DNA in ways that could potentially increase the risk of cancer development in humans.

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

LordOfKarma
not rated yet Jan 24, 2008
Didnt we knew that already ? that smoking anything is bad ? it certainly is not natural to do so. Now are you and can you use this as an argument against weed? uh no, heres why: there are a lot of gadgets that can be used to reduce smoke, like vaporizers.

also, the difference is that when you're stoned, ur stoned. the jack herer strain for exemple contains 25% THC, wich makes you smoke less because obviously after 1-2 hit you've reached ur usual state, the one that you wish to reach by smoking weed.

This isnt like cigarettes where the more you smoke the more you want to smoke. give a weed smoker a supply of jack herer, and i can guaranteed you that if he was smoking 2 grams of outdoor crap a day he'll go down to .5 .. 1gram max
Arkaleus
not rated yet Jun 20, 2009
If those doctors had any amount of common sense, they would prescribe a delivery method of either ingestion or vaporization. No doctor should ever recommend that their patient smoke.

These studies are very important and we need to wake up people to the fact that smoking is a primitive and dangerous pass time. We need to use safe delivery methods.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.