Could Cannabis Help People With Lung Diseases?


There is much talk in medical circles about the use of medical marijuana (or cannabis) for a variety of chronic illnesses, but could it also benefit those living with chronic lung disease?

MORE: Seven common symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 23 states in the U.S., as well as Washington, D.C., but its use is a contentious issue with as many people for it as are against it.

How could medical marijuana help those living with chronic lung diseases? According to the Lung Institute, medical marijuana has been found useful in reducing inflammation, improving sleep, easing pain, supporting the immune system, and reducing phlegm. However, one of the big issues when it comes to using cannabis if you have a pulmonary disease, is smoking.

Smoking cannabis is harmful to those with lung diseases as there is generally no filter on the “joint” and people tend to inhale deeper, leaving the smoke in the lungs for much longer than cigarettes or other tobacco products. The American Thoracic Society strongly argues against the smoking of marijuana, citing that it can cause large air sacs (bullae) to form in the lungs which could pop and cause lung collapse, ironically this is more likely to happen to marijuana smokers who are younger rather than older (under 45).

However, there are alternatives to smoking. Many people who don’t already smoke but want to get the benefits of medical marijuana choose to either ingest the product through edible items (such as cookies or brownies) or vapor (where the cannabis is heated at a lower temperature than burning which releases the active ingredients into a steam or vapor which can then be inhaled).

Some people may find that medical marijuana offers temporary relief from some of the symptoms of lung disease, but as it also comes with the side effect of getting high, there is a legal, moral and safety dilemma for many.

MORE: Four tips for discussing your pulmonary therapy treatment with your doctor

Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. Ralph Jacobs says:

    This is a very good way of reading about peers having the same issues with IPF. I am 67 in October and was diagnosed with IPF 7 years ago. I am in pulmonary rehab three times a week and use O2 when I play golf or do any other strenuous activities. I have used medical edibles for sleeping and it works very well. No adverse reactions. I eat a small section of chocolate candy and within 1 1/2 hours I go to bed and fall asleep. As with any drug if misused can cause serious issues. Problem is it is difficult to get in MD or DE.

  2. Colleen Puniard says:

    I’ve given up smoking (about 35 years ago) and drinking (36 years ago). I then turned to food but gained weight so I cut back on that. Then I kicked my very small poker machine habit. By very small I mean about $20.00 every six months or so. Now MaryJane is becoming legal I think I might give it a try. It surprises me that I didn’t get into it in the sixties! Probably won’t be easy to get here in rural Australia. My Dr is young and up to date but seems to frown upon anything that might make me feel really, really good. If I stress the anti inflammatory, mucosal and other benefits?……LOL

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