Smoking Marijuana and Cigarettes Linked to Increased Lung Damage

New analysis signifies that smoking each marijuana and cigarettes considerably will increase the danger of lung harm, difficult widespread beliefs concerning the security of marijuana smoking. The examine underscores the necessity for extra analysis on this space to inform public understanding.

According to findings lately offered on the Radiological Society of North America’s annual assembly, combining marijuana and cigarette smoking may end in higher hurt to the lung’s air sacs.

Despite widespread beliefs that marijuana smoking just isn’t dangerous to the lungs, intensive analysis has highlighted the hazards of cigarette smoking. However, there’s restricted data concerning the influence of marijuana smoking by itself, and even much less is known concerning the results when it’s mixed with cigarette smoking.

“Marijuana is the most widely used illicit psychoactive substance in the world, and its use has increased in Canada since the legalization of non-medical marijuana in 2018,” mentioned examine co-author Jessie Kang, M.D., cardiothoracic radiologist and assistant professor within the Department of Diagnostic Radiology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. “Currently, not much research exists on the effects of marijuana smoking on the lungs.”

To decide the results of marijuana and cigarette smoking, researchers for the multicenter potential examine examined the chest CT pictures of 4 affected person teams: non-smokers, cigarette people who smoke, marijuana people who smoke, and mixed marijuana and cigarette people who smoke. Marijuana people who smoke included within the examine had smoked marijuana no less than 4 instances a month for 2 years. Patients who ingested marijuana through edibles or oral drops had been excluded from the examine.


The researchers discovered that individuals who mixed marijuana and cigarettes had been 12 instances extra possible to have centrilobular emphysema than non-smokers. Centrilobular emphysema is a kind of pulmonary emphysema the place the air sacs throughout the lungs are broken. This can lead to respiratory difficulties and different critical respiratory signs.

“The mean number of marijuana smoking years was less than compared to cigarette smokers and combined marijuana and cigarette smokers,” Dr. Kang mentioned. “However, marijuana that is smoked is often unfiltered, which can potentially lead to more damaging particles entering the airways and lungs.”

Airway Changes in a Marijuana and Tobacco Smoker

Airway adjustments in a 66-year-old male marijuana and tobacco smoker with cylindrical bronchiectasis and bronchial wall thickening (arrowheads) in a number of lung lobes in a background of paraseptal and centrilobular emphysema. Credit: RSNA/Radiology

Combined marijuana and cigarette people who smoke had been three to 4 instances extra possible to have airway wall thickening, which may lead to infections, scarring, and additional airway harm. Association with marijuana solely and smoking solely with bronchial wall thickening was not as vital. Similar outcomes had been seen with centrilobular and paraseptal emphysema, suggesting that the mix of cigarette and marijuana smoking could have a synergistic function on the lungs and airways.

“With our study, we show that there are physical effects of marijuana smoking on the lungs and that cigarette smoking and marijuana smoking may have a combined damaging effect on the lungs,” Dr. Kang mentioned.

According to Dr. Kang, additional analysis is required to determine the long-term results of smoking marijuana.

“There is a common public misconception that marijuana smoking is not harmful,” Dr. Kang mentioned. “More research needs to be done in this area, so the public can make an informed decision on their recreational usage of marijuana.”

Meeting: 109th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America

Co-authors are Sebastian Karpinski, B.Sc., Paul Sathiadoss, M.B.B.S., Eric Lam, M.Sc., Eric Hutfluss, M.D., O. Osorio, M.D., D. A. Hashem, M.D., Matthew D. F. McInnes, M.D., and Giselle Y. Revah, M.D.

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