Smoking Marijuana and Lung Health: Is There A Relationship?

Soft Secrets
28 May 2020

Recent studies have shown that smoking marijuana and lung health are related. Is there truth to this? Is smoking marijuana harmful or beneficial to the lungs? Let’s find out.


The respiratory system is one of the main systems of the body. If this system malfunctions, it is fatal since the lungs are the primary source of oxygen. The body needs oxygen for its survival. Just like any other body system, the respiratory system is vulnerable to infections and a vast array of diseases. 

There are various lung health disorders that can affect the respiratory system, including: 

  • Cough
  • Coughing up sputum
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty in breathing

Aside from those mentioned above, there are other symptoms of lung disorders that can be felt in the different parts of the body, such as: 

  • Clubbing, the enlargement of the tips of the fingers and toes
  • Cyanosis, or bluish skin discoloration
  • Chest pain or tightness

Other general symptoms of lung health disorders that a person may experience further include:

  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • and, Malaise (a general feeling of illness or discomfort) 



One of the commonly known lung health disorders that can significantly affect the respiratory system is asthma. Asthma affects millions of people around the globe today. It is a chronic lung disease that comes from inflamed or narrowed chest airways due to reversible airway obstruction. The symptoms of asthma are as follows:

  • Coughing
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Wheezing

Unfortunately, there is no real cure for asthma as of the moment. People affected with asthma can only lessen the effects of the symptoms with relievers such as beta-agonist drugs and steroids, all of which have their devastating side effects. Due to this, many experts are considering cannabis as a form of alternative therapy for potentially treating asthma. 

Lung Cancer

Another known lung health disorder is lung cancer, which is the second most common type of cancer in the United States. Cancer is one of the top ten killers worldwide; it is also a costly disease. 

Traditionally, lung cancer is usually treated by chemotherapy along with other types of targeted therapies, but these treatments are very costly and require a lot of therapy sessions for treatment. These treatments also have harmful side effects. Because of this, many experts are considering cannabis as a possible alternative therapy for lung cancer, or at least for treating the nasty symptoms of this notorious disease.

So, let us find out more about the effects of cannabis on lung health and whether smoking marijuana and lung health are related. 

Cannabis Treatment

Ever since marijuana has been discovered, it has been used for both medical and recreational purposes. And to be honest, a lot of non-regular consumers like a good puff from time to time. Marijuana was considered legal to use until first-world countries started to look into the benefits of marijuana use, however.

In today's society, many US states have legalized the use of medical and recreational marijuana/cannabis. Some countries like Canada have made bolder moves, legalizing it all across their country, allowing online cannabis dispensaries to sell both medical and recreational marijuana as well as any tool you might need for using marijuana. 


Benefits of Smoking Weed

Smoking may not be able to treat and terminate various lung health disorders, such as asthma or lung cancer. Nevertheless, smoking marijuana or cannabis can provide a lot of benefits to its consumers. Smoking marijuana may help with any of the following: 

  • Relief from chronic pain
  • Relief of inflammation
  • Help treat symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
  • Relieves fatigue
  • Relieves nausea and vomiting
  • Helps control anxiety
  • Assists in depression
  • Relieves headaches
  • Improves appetite

In the lungs, cannabis also exerts its effects, such as a higher vital capacity, total lung capacity, functional residual capacity, and residual volume. This simply means that cannabis makes you breathe easier, which is not the case with tobacco. 

Methods of Using Cannabis

Most cannabis products are either in the form of edibles such as baked goods, beverages, candies, or any type of foods that can be either baked/cooked or blended into. Cannabis oil may be consumed raw, but it will be bitter. Usually, consumers would mix the oil with hot beverages such as tea or any drink of choice.

Another method of using cannabis is through smoking or vaping. The user needs to buy cannabis oil, or if not available, raw marijuana/weed, along with proper smoking tools. For smoking, consumers can use the traditional way of smoking weed using bongs with cannabis oil or cannabis extract. They can then inhale the fumes that are being released. Another way by which consumers can smoke marijuana is through vaping or the use of electronic cigarettes.

Risks and Complications

Even though it can be considered as a form of treatment, smoking marijuana in the long run and in large doses can lead to various risks and complications that the consumer may eventually experience. Below are some of the risks, complications, and even side effects of overusing marijuana:

  • Mood and perception changes
  • Coordination reduction
  • Difficulty in remembering, thinking, and reasoning

If a user has asthma before starting to smoke weed, there is a possibility that asthma can worsen instead of being treated. In this case, you should check with your doctor first whether an asthmatic can use marijuana. 

For any type of smoking, whether it would be for medical or recreational purposes, the following complications of smoking will be felt by the user: 

  • Increased sputum
  • Chronic coughing
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Hoarse/cracked voice
  • Chest pain/tightness

Take note that long-term marijuana smoking can lead to other complications and illnesses such as bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). And of course, take note of all these risks regardless if you are a new or experienced smoker.

Keeping a balance with your buds is for the best. Optimizing how much you inhale or ingest will help you get the most of the buds, feeling the joy of being high or treating any medical issue while avoiding experiencing any unwanted marijuana effect. Even if you are a heavy smoker, consider taking a break once in a while, especially if you feel that weed is making you peculiarly slow and unproductive in the mornings when you are not high, or if you are perhaps starting to forget things, too often and too important.


Marijuana Side Effects

Lastly, the use of marijuana in huge amounts for a long time can bring about some extremely serious side effects on the user. You do not want to experience any of these:

  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorientation
  • Anxiety and racing thoughts
  • Depression or disengagement from real life
  • Irritability and anger bursts 

These side effects can be easily avoided by adjusting yourself to moderate and controlled use of marijuana. However, if you are struggling with any form of psychiatric disorder, or if you know that someone in your family has suffered from a disorder like schizophrenia, stay cautious, and consult your doctor! Unfortunately, this may make you ineligible for smoking marijuana. 

A lot of research is currently being done at the global level by various medical institutions and government departments. This research is supposed to help everyone use cannabis at least in some form, both for medical treatment and entertainment. Countries such as the United States are slowly making the use of medical marijuana fully legal.

It won’t take long before most people can fully harness the medical benefits of marijuana, without the accompanying side effects and complications it brings with long-term use. 

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