Emphysema More Common in Marijuana Smokers Than Cigarette Smokers
According to new analysis, airway irritation and emphysema are extra widespread in marijuana people who smoke than cigarette people who smoke. Investigators mentioned the distinction could also be as a result of approach that marijuana is smoked and the truth that marijuana smoke enters the lungs unfiltered. The analysis examine was printed on November 15 in Radiology, a journal of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
Marijuana is the most-commonly smoked substance after tobacco and some of the extensively used psychoactive substances on this planet. Amid the legalization of leisure marijuana in Canada and lots of states within the U.S., its use has elevated considerably in recent times. With the rising use, there’s an pressing want for info on marijuana’s results on the lungs, one thing that’s presently missing.
“It has been suggested that smoking a marijuana joint deposits four times more particulates in the lung than an average tobacco cigarette.” — Giselle Revah, M.D.
“We know what cigarettes do to the lungs,” mentioned examine creator Giselle Revah, M.D., a cardiothoracic radiologist and assistant professor on the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Canada. “There are well-researched and established findings of cigarette smoking on the lungs. Marijuana we know very little about.”
To discover out extra, Dr. Revah and colleagues in contrast chest CT outcomes from 56 marijuana people who smoke with these of 57 non-smoking controls and 33 tobacco-only people who smoke.
Three-quarters of the marijuana people who smoke had emphysema, a lung illness that causes problem with respiratory, in contrast with 67% of the tobacco-only people who smoke. Only 5% of the non-smokers had emphysema. Paraseptal emphysema, which damages the tiny ducts that hook up with the air sacs within the lungs, was the predominant emphysema subtype in marijuana people who smoke in comparison with the tobacco-only group.
Airway irritation was additionally extra widespread in marijuana people who smoke than non-smokers and tobacco-only people who smoke. The identical was true for gynecomastia, a situation of enlarged male breast tissue on account of a hormone imbalance. Gynecomastia was present in 38% of the marijuana people who smoke, in contrast with simply 11% of the tobacco-only people who smoke and 16% of the controls.
The researchers discovered related outcomes amongst age-matched subgroups, the place the charges of emphysema and airway irritation had been once more increased within the marijuana people who smoke than the tobacco-only people who smoke.
There was no distinction in coronary artery calcification between age-matched marijuana and tobacco-only teams.
According to Dr. Revah, the outcomes had been stunning, particularly contemplating that the sufferers within the tobacco-only group had an in depth smoking historical past.
“The fact that our marijuana smokers—some of whom also smoked tobacco—had additional findings of airway inflammation/chronic bronchitis suggests that marijuana has additional synergistic effects on the lungs above tobacco,” she mentioned. “In addition, our results were still significant when we compared the non-age-matched groups, including younger patients who smoked marijuana and who presumably had less lifetime exposure to cigarette smoke.”
According to the CDC, 48.2 million individuals, or about 18% of Americans, used marijuana no less than as soon as in 2019.
There are doubtless a number of components that contribute to the variations between the 2 teams. Marijuana is smoked unfiltered, Dr. Revah famous, whereas tobacco cigarettes are often filtered. This ends in extra particulates reaching the airways from smoking marijuana.
In addition, marijuana is inhaled with an extended breath maintain and puff quantity than tobacco smoke.
“It has been suggested that smoking a marijuana joint deposits four times more particulates in the lung than an average tobacco cigarette,” Dr. Revah mentioned. “These particulates are likely airway irritants.”
The increased incidence of emphysema may be as a result of approach that marijuana is smoked. Full inhalation with a sustained Valsalva maneuver, an try at exhalation in opposition to a closed airway, might result in trauma and peripheral airspace adjustments.
More analysis is required, Dr. Revah mentioned, with bigger teams of individuals and extra knowledge on how a lot and the way typically individuals are smoking. Future analysis might additionally take a look at the impression of various inhalation strategies, resembling by way of a bong, a joint, or a pipe.
“It would be interesting to see if the inhalation method makes a difference,” Dr. Revah mentioned.
For extra on this analysis, see Emphysema More Common in Marijuana Smokers Than Cigarette Smokers.
Reference: “Chest CT Findings in Marijuana Smokers” by Luke Murtha, Paul Sathiadoss, Jean-Paul Salameh, Matthew D. F. Mcinnes and Giselle Revah, 15 November 2022, Radiology.