Following the legalization and decriminalization of weed in certain states, lots of people have taken to smoking cannabis in hopes of experiencing some physical benefits; however, if you’ve developed the habit of smoking weed, then you may be at serious risk of experiencing issues with your lung health.
Can weed affect your lungs? The simple answer is yes. Marijuana, also known as weed or cannabis, is a mixture of dried flowers from the Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica plants. The active chemical component in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for producing psychological side effects in smokers. While weed can be ingested in a variety of ways, the most common method is smoking it in blunts, joints, bongs, or pipes. Similar to tobacco, how marijuana affects your lungs can be attributed to the chemical properties it contains. When comparing marijuana vs tobacco, it’s been discovered that weed actually contains the same toxins and carcinogens as tobacco, including ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The smoking method you use also contributes to how marijuana affects your lungs. When smokers use bongs or vapes, for example, they may also be inhaling water, adding moisture to the lungs that can worsen side effects.
Despite what many believe, weed can be addictive and many people have found themselves struggling to quit. If you or someone you know has this issue, Banyan Chicago offers a partial hospitalization program that can help. Our PHP in Illinois allows patients to heal from their addiction while learning how to incorporate what they learn into their daily lives.
In addition to these harmful chemicals, marijuana smokers also tend to inhale more deeply and hold smoke longer in their lungs to experience a stronger high. Because of these carcinogens and smoking methods, marijuana’s effects on the lungs can cause permanent respiratory problems. Marijuana smoke can irritate the lungs and cause coughing, wheezing, and a feeling of tightness in the chest.
The most common effects of smoking weed on the lungs include:
Heavy weed smokers also run the risk of developing asthma, cystic fibrosis, and lung cancer. The effects of smoking marijuana on the lungs also include the formation of large air sacs called bullae. Bullae can make breathing difficult and can cause a collapsed lung if it ruptures. Cannabis can also worsen symptoms in people with preexisting lung conditions.