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Can You Develop Asthma From Smoking Weed

Can You Be Allergic To Cannabis

How does smoking affect asthma?

Yes, people can be allergic to marijuana.; People can develop an allergy to cannabis even if they are not cannabis users.; About 2.5% of participants in the PEACE survey who were NOT current cannabis users reported a cannabis allergy. As more states legalize cannabis, doctors should expect to see more people experience allergic reactions to cannabis. This can occur due to ;occupational exposures. These reactions may be specific to a strain of cannabis.

Its likely cannabis allergies have been around for years. Cannabis allergy may have gone ;unreported due to its illegal status. In addition, there is no current way to test for cannabis allergy.

Cannabis pollen grains typically emerge in late summer or early autumn and they can become airborne. This can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Is There An Association Between Cannabis Use And Pulmonary Function

Systematic Reviews

systematically reviewed the evidence found in 34 publications, of which 12 reported on the effects of airway response and 14 reported on the effects of pulmonary function. The authors found that short-term exposure to cannabis smoking resulted in bronchodilation. Specifically, acute cannabis smoking was consistently associated with improvements in specific airway conductance, peak flow measurements, and FEV1, as well as reversed bronchospasm from challenges by either methacholine or exercise. Any short-term benefits, however, were offset by the effects of long-term cannabis smoking. Specifically, regular cannabis smoking was associated with a lower specific airway conductance on average by 16 percent and also with a lower FEV1. There was also a doseresponse effect between average daily quantity of cannabis and a lower specific airway conductance. However, the clinical significance of the association between regular cannabis smoking and a lower specific airways conductance is not known. Other studies that examined the association between long-term cannabis smoke exposure and pulmonary function have inconsistently found lower or no change in FEV1, FVC, FEV1/FVC, DLCO, and airway hyperresponsiveness .

Primary Studies

Discussion of Findings

The Risks Of Using Weed With Asthma

The marijuana plant itself doesnt appear to have an adverse effect on asthma unless you are allergic to it. However, smoking marijuana does have the potential to cause problems. Smoking weed ups your chances of developing lung cancer, and the smoke may aggravate asthma symptoms in many people, If your asthma symptoms appear to get worse when using cannabis, the potential benefits are probably not worth the risks, and you should discontinue use.

Q: Is weed bad for asthma?A:As long as you are not allergic to cannabis, there is no evidence that marijuana on its own is bad for asthma. Smoking weed may contribute to asthma symptoms, but it appears to be the smoke itself that is the irritant not the cannabis.

Recommended Reading: How To Prevent Asthma Attacks

The Potential Repercussion Of Substance Abuse On The Respiratory System

The respiratory systems principal function is to deliver oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. The lungs are the primary organ in the respiratory system, which is actually quite complex and the system contains numerous other components, including:

  • The mouth, nose, and nasal cavity.
  • The pharynx, commonly called the throat, connects the mouth and nasal passages with the esophagus and larynx.
  • The larynx, a muscular organ commonly called the voice box, which is essential for human speech and contains the vocal cords and allows air to pass into and out of the lungs.
  • The trachea is commonly referred to as the windpipe and is a cartilaginous tube extending into the two bronchial tubes .
  • The bronchi, which are the major air passages in and out of the lungs.
  • The alveoli, which are tiny sacs in the lungs and the location where gas exchange occurs: carbon dioxide leaves the blood and oxygen enters itthe blood then distributes oxygen to the tissues in the body and picks up carbon dioxide to be exchanged when it gets back to the lungs.

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Is It Safe For People With Asthma To Smoke Cannabis

Can You Treat Asthma with Cannabis?

Many people with asthma are smoking or vaping cannabis. This could be harmful to their lungs and airways, especially in adolescents.

In the PEACE survey, 53.4% of cannabis users with asthma smoked it, while 35.2% vaped cannabis. Further, about half of the cannabis smokers with asthma reported uncontrolled asthma symptoms.

It surprised me that over half of the cannabis users in the study who have asthma were smoking it, says Joanna Zeiger, PhD, principal investigator of the PEACE survey.

Its not recommended that people with asthma smoke or vape cannabis. Smoking or vaping cannabis can cause increased cough, wheezing and shortness of breath. It can increase risk of an asthma attack or asthma flare. In the PEACE survey, nearly one-third of those who smoked cannabis reported cough.

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Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Causes Asthma Symptoms In Child Allergic To Cannabis

After cannabis is removed from home, asthma symptoms improve.

SEATTLE Its well established that secondhand smoke from cigarettes is a risk to anyone who suffers from asthma. New research being presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting shows its possible for both children and adults with uncontrolled asthma to find their symptoms worsening due to cannabis allergy and exposure to marijuana smoke.

A 6-year-old boy suffering with severe asthma had family members who frequently smoked marijuana in the house, says allergist Bryce Hoffman, MD, ACAAI member and lead author of the study. Even though family members didnt smoke marijuana in the same room as the child, he was exposed to traces of smoke and plant material. It was not clear why his asthma was so severe and not responding to aggressive asthma therapies until we determined he was allergic to cannabis. After the cannabis was removed from the house, his asthma improved.

In addition to the young boys allergies to cannabis, the study indicates his grandmother also had a history of hives after personal use of cannabis.

If your child has asthma that isnt well controlled, see an allergist. An allergist can set your child on the right track for the long term to handle their allergies or asthma.

Abstract Title: Cannabis allergy in a young child with severe asthma exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke Bryce Hoffman, MD, ACAAI member

Alcohol And The Respiratory System

Chronic use of alcoholincreased risk for numerous diseases and health conditionsalcoholic lung disease

Nonetheless, chronic use and abuse of alcohol is known to increase the risk for the development of numerous infectious diseases and disorders, numerous forms of cancer, and other health issues associated with poor nutrition and a lack of attention to self-care. When alcohol is combined with other drugs, such as tobacco products, the risk for health issues is increased even further.

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Effects Of Tobacco Smoking

The effects of cigarette smoking on lung health are well known. They include symptoms of cough, sputum production , wheeze and shortness of breath. Spirometric changes such as a progressive, largely irreversible decrease in forced expiratory volume in 1s and FEV1 divided by forced vital capacity FEV1/FVC ratio occur. This ratio is the most reliable measure of airflow obstruction. These changes may be accompanied by air-trapping within the lungs, measured physiologically or residual volume or the ratio RV/TLC) or radiologically, on chest X-ray, etc. Chronic persistent, progressive airway narrowing, damage to the alveoli and effects on small airways , in varying proportions, comprise the condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . As cannabis was thought to affect the lungs in similar ways to tobacco, it was logical to use spirometric measurements to detect the adverse health effects of marijuana. However, with concurrent tobacco smoking, it is difficult to separate changes due to cannabis from those due to tobacco.

Should You Smoke Medical Marijuana For Asthma


Now that we’ve gone through and discussed some of the main benefits, well now focus on the potential long-term risks of smoking with asthma:

  • Large fluid-filled sacs otherwise known as bullae may easily develop in your lungs if you smoke cannabis. Considering the fact you’re already dealing with asthma, we can imagine this is the last problem you’d want to deal with.
  • Over time, the bullae may develop into pneumothorax, otherwise known as a collapsed lung, which is a life-threatening condition.

The short-term risks arent too pretty, either. They could easily aggravate your asthmatic symptoms and make your daily experience a lot more miserable. These are what youll likely experience if you aren’t careful with your smoking habit:

  • Wheezing while exhaling

What Is the Real Effect of Cannabis on the Lungs?

Also Check: Can Smoking Weed Cause Asthma

What Does The Research Say About Smoking Weed For Asthma

At first glance, smoking weed and asthma may not seem like a good match. But in recent years, the use of medical marijuana has gained more acceptance. Some of the chemical compounds in marijuana have been found to have therapeutic benefits. For example, it has been found to decrease pain, anxiety, and nausea.

Research is mixed on whether the possible benefits of cannabis for people with asthma outweigh the risks. It does appear that potential benefits may depend on the way cannabis is used and how often. For instance, research published in the Canadian Journal of Respiratory Therapy indicated that marijuana may have a bronchodilator effect, opening the airways.

Additional research published in Nature, also indicated the same results and found the chemicals in marijuana may have a potent dilating effect on the airways, which could ease asthma symptoms. But the same research also found that some people with asthma may experience increased bronchospasm when smoking weed for asthma, which could make symptoms worse.

As expected, men that smoked cigarettes had decreased lung function. The study also indicated that moderate marijuana users slightly improved their lung function test. The study did caution that the potential effects of heavy use on lung function are less clear, but findings suggest it may cause a decline in lung function.

How To Determine If You Are Buying A Moldy Weed

There is no need to worry about the possibility of getting a moldy weed if you choose to buy your stash from a credible cannabis club, marijuana dispensary, or coffee shop. Unfortunately, being worried about a moldy weed is inevitable since mold does not single out between neophytes and professionals, all it needs is excellent conditions, even after harvest.

The inappropriate storage of a cannabis seller may lead a jar loaded of weed into a shaggy turmoil of fungus. Wet weed is a breeding environment for fungus and allurement for mold.

Even after a cautious and slow drying, preferably, in simple paper bags, the final step is the curing and most often where it all happens wrong.;

Another undesirable feature of a moldy weed is its smell. There are times that it can be associated with hay, although something is always mortifying when the smell of a moldy weed. It will be helpful to give your chosen stash a puff also while you are doing your inspection. Many known cannabis sellers are not too particular on customers who are very touchy and feely with the menu.

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Could I Develop Asthma From Smoking Weed Also

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Will There Be Any Risks Involved

10 Common Asthma Triggers

While the use of cannabis certainly seems to be an effective choice to treat asthma symptoms, it is still important to pay attention to all the risks involved in using this option. For instance, many studies show that when you take inhaler-delivered THC in excess, you may end up dealing with bronchoconstriction. In a study, only 3 out of 5 asthma patients experienced bronchodilation after receiving 5-20mg of THC. It implies that even if you are using weed to treat your asthma, you need to be very careful about how much you take.

Many studies have already confirmed that you do not increase your risk of developing lung cancer after smoking marijuana, but there is evidence that excessive smoking may well be associated with an increased risk of developing bronchitis, which involves the mucous membranes of the airway becoming inflamed. Your asthma symptoms may become worse and you notice serious complications if you develop bronchitis.

Nevertheless, there are other ways to use cannabis without having to worry too much about the risks. Instead of inhaling, you can ingest marijuana through alternative methods, such as edible preparations or vaporizers. Keep in mind that you do not always need to smoke weed to enjoy its therapeutic benefits.

Also Check: Can U Get Asthma

How Marijuana Smoke Affects Asthma

If you have asthma and smoke weed, you may experience higher incidences of coughing, excessive build-up of phlegm, wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in your chest, and you may be more susceptible to lung infections. The possibility does exist that irritation from smoking marijuana could prompt a life-threatening asthma attack. This risk is due to the irritation caused by smoke inhalation, not specifically because the smoke comes from cannabis.

Q: What happens if you smoke weed and have asthma?A:It is possible that asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath will worsen if you smoke weed. However, smoking cannabis gives many people near-instant relief from bronchoconstriction, which can stop an asthma attack in its tracks.

Smoke combustion releases toxins and is bad for the lungs whether it comes from weed, cigarettes, or campfires.

Opioid Drugs And The Respiratory System

Opioids drugs are a large class of prescription analgesic drugs and some illicit drugs. Opioids have received quite a bit of media attention due to a rise in overdoses and recent stories of abuse of prescription opioids.

Opioids are central nervous system depressant drugs that reduce the activity of the neurons in the brain and spinal cord. This central nervous system depressant action also affects the functioning of the respiratory system by slowing down a persons breathing rate. The actions also result in their medical uses as analgesics and contribute to their abuse as they produce a reduction in a persons experience of pain, feelings of relaxation, and euphoria.

In most cases, opioid drugs are not smoked. They are taken in pill form, ground up and snorted, or mixed with liquid and injected. Nonetheless, due to their significant ability to suppress breathing, chronic use of these drugs can lead to respiratory issues. Some of the issues include:

  • Worsening existing respiratory issues, such as emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma
  • A significant increase in the risk to develop pulmonary edema, fluid buildup in the lungs, which can be fatal if left unchecked and can also facilitate the development of other respiratory problems

Chronic use of opiate drugs also increases the risk of the development of all forms of cancer, including different cancers of the respiratory system.

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Potential Benefits Of Marijuana For Asthma

A growing body of research is focusing on marijuanas effects on asthma and whether cannabis plants can offer some relief for the condition. The focus isnt so much on smoking marijuana joints, but rather on taking cannabinoids instead.

Cannabinoids are naturally occurring substances in marijuana plants. They are sometimes used to treat chronic pain and neurological conditions, such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis. This is due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Since asthma is caused by a chronic inflammation of the lungs, researchers are trying to find out whether cannabinoids can have similar effects for this condition. Research is especially promising for people who have allergic asthma.

Cannabinoids may be available in the form of supplements. These substances may also be derived from smoking marijuana in nontraditional forms. A 2013 study in the journal Substance Abuse found that people who smoke marijuana using vaporizers gained more benefits from the plant with less lung-irritating smoke.

Still, there are some limits to these potential benefits. One study published in Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine contends that short-term medicinal uses of marijuana may not harm the lungs. This is compared to recreational or heavy smoking. However, its not clear just how much is safe or for exactly how long.

Final Thoughts On Snorting Marijuana

Smoking and COPD | Nucleus Health

As the legal and medical use of marijuana is changing rapidly, new cannabis products appear on the market that aim to provide a variety of consumption methods for marijuana users. Great examples are THC or CBD nasal sprays.;

These new cannabis products may be a good way for medical marijuana consumers to administer proper doses of weed discreetly, as well as relieve a stuffy nose. But it should be done in moderation, as this method of cannabis consumption can cause rebound congestion.

No matter whether you want to get on board with the THC nasal spray users or not, make sure that, if you do decide to try these weed products, you always start with a low dose. And most importantly, make sure that weed is legal where you live before purchasing cannabis products, otherwise you might have a problem with local law enforcement and maybe even face charges.

Additional Sources

Wang, X., Derakhshandeh, R., Liu, J., Narayan, S., Nabavizadeh, P., Le, S., Danforth, O. M., Pinnamaneni, K., Rodriguez, H. J., Luu, E., Sievers, R. E., Schick, S. F., Glantz, S. A., & Springer, M. L. . One Minute of Marijuana Secondhand Smoke Exposure Substantially Impairs Vascular Endothelial Function. Journal of the American Heart Association, 5, e003858.

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Reduce Exposure To Smoke

If you smoke, the best thing to do is to quit smoking. Quitting smoking is important whether you are a person with asthma or taking care of a child with asthma. The benefits of quitting include:2

  • You will have fewer daytime and nighttime asthma symptoms.
  • Your lungs will function better.
  • Your airways will be less sensitive to triggers.
  • You will need less rescue medication and inhaled corticosteroids.
  • Your inhaled corticosteroids will work better.
  • Your asthma-related quality of life will improve.

Even cutting back on how much you smoke can help, although the improvements are smaller.2

It is important for people with asthma to avoid tobacco smoke exposure. Studies have shown that if parents who smoke take steps to reduce tobacco smoke exposure, their children have fewer medical visits.1 Some ways to do this are:1

  • Do not allow smoking in your home or car. Going outside to smoke may not be enough to avoid the risks to children.
  • Do not allow anyone to smoke around you or your child.
  • Be sure that no one at your childs school or daycare smokes.
  • If you have a choice, try to live in a town or county with smoking bans. People who live in smoke-free counties have less smoke exposure, as measured by byproducts of second-hand smoke in the blood.9 They also go to the hospital less often.5


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