Marijuana Use And Chronic Bronchitis

Marijuana use can be a controversial topic. Let’s confront it head-on.

For those who suffer from Chronic Bronchitis, maintaining one’s quality of life can be a difficult struggle.

As a form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) chronic bronchitis describes a set of symptoms that may or may not be present in COPD such as chronic cough, wheezing, mucus production, and fatigue.

However, recent legal and medical advances have established medical marijuana as an emerging form of treatment for a variety of ailments including lung disease.

With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to explore the relationship between Marijuana Use and Chronic Bronchitis and see just how this emerging form of treatment can be used to combat the disease.

Smoking Marijuana

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When marijuana is traditionally consumed through smoking, it spreads at least 33 known carcinogens, 300 additional chemicals, and deposits 4 times as much tar into the lungs as cigarette smoke.

Due to the method in which marijuana is smoked–typically deeper than cigarettes with a tendency to hold the smoke in the lungs longer– these variations only contribute to making the inherent negative effects of smoking worse.

Marijuana Use and Chronic Bronchitis 

Due to the mixed legality of medical marijuana, there are few studies available showing or disproving the effectiveness of medical marijuana as a form of treatment.

As the topic of medical marijuana is explored further as a form of treatment for lung disease, the question remains: how does marijuana affect someone who struggles with chronic bronchitis?

Some tests indicate the positive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on opening the airways, while others point to negative outcomes from marijuana smoke inhalation.

Chronic bronchitis flare-ups can occur whether instigated or not.  Adding smoke of any kind can cause symptoms of chronic bronchitis to become severe, especially coughing, sputum (phlegm), wheezing and shortness of breath.

Although studies have shown that a low rate of marijuana use (1-2 joints a month) can be beneficial for those with chronic lung disease, while habitual marijuana use (25 joints a month) can weaken immunostimulatory cytokines and in turn, weaken the immune system.

Smoking marijuana, coupled with chronic bronchitis, can lead to a higher probability of developing a lung infection as well.

THC and Chronic Bronchitis 

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There have been some conflicting studies that have produced results that THC, the main psychoactive component of marijuana, is actually good for your lungs.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved THC as a drug, which means that THC’s benefits outweigh its risks. Studies have also shown that THC can act as a bronchodilator, increasing airflow to the lungs.

In turn, this could increase lung functioning and efficiency. However, although THC is an approved drug and has some beneficial attributes to lung disease symptoms, consuming THC products does not necessarily constitute a safe form of treatment for people diagnosed with chronic bronchitis.

Although the use of medical marijuana can serve as a temporary method of treatment, the inability to avoid the side effects (being ‘high’) and its mixed legality leaves its use as a future form of medication uncertain.

Although COPD currently has no cure, new discoveries are being made every day.

As the scientific community continues to put their best minds to the task of solving the problems and complications of the human body, the Lung Institute will continue to bring these advancements to the public with the hope of bettering quality of life for those who need it most.