Though many are curious about the effects of weed on cancer, another form of physical trauma is much more likely to occur when smoking. This damage takes the form of lung disease and more specifically bullous emphysema.
Bullous emphysema is a serious disease that debilitates lung capacity and function. The extreme temperatures and prolonged inhalation of weed smoke both lead to a rapid erosion of lung wall linings. This erosion reduces the lung’s elasticity and results in less oxygen available inside the bloodstream. This will be most evident in shortness of breath and increased risk of infection.
A study published in the January 2008 issue of Respirology titled “Bullous Lung Disease due to Marijuana” further details this issue. A team led by Dr. Matthew Naughton wanted to examine the negative effects of weed smoke on the respiratory system.
One significant fact they revealed was marijuana smokers will establish bullous lung disease much sooner than tobacco smokers. The mean age for developing such a disease in weed users was 41 years old while tobacco users was 65 years old, a massive 24 year difference! As stated earlier, this was attributed to cannabis smoke being inhaled at a much higher temperature and held in the lungs for a longer period of time.
Another troubling discovery they made was that bullous lung disease often goes undetected. Lung function and X-rays may appear completely normal while high resolution CT scans tell a completely different story of serious lung damage.
The reassuring idea behind all of this is that this type of lung disease is completely preventable. Because the problem is attributed to the smoke itself and not the marijuana, by cutting out the smoke, you cut out the damage.
Eliminating the toxic smoke problem takes a process called vaporization. I am a strong advocate of vaporization as it allows users to receive the positive benefits of THC without having to damage their lungs along the way.
Vaporization works by heating marijuana to the appropriate level which allows the THC to essentially steam out and be released through vapor without causing the organic green matter to combust. This greatly reduces heat and carcinogenic levels of the inhaled matter.
I will continue to post articles that outline the negative effects of weed on the lungs and respiratory system. Through my research, I have found deterioration of lung tissue to be the most common and hazardous risk of smoking marijuana. If you want to learn more about the topic of vaporization, please visit The Effect of Weed Network’s vaporization page.