Medical Cannabis; Can it Cause Lung Disease?

A current study was done to establish the collective and independent effects of tobacco and cannabis smoking on respiratory symptoms and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) within the general population.  COPD is a progressive (which means it gets worse with time) lung disease that makes it hard to breathe.  COPD symptoms include chronic coughing, mucus production, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.  The leading cause of COPD is tobacco smoke.  The above mentioned study evaluated 878 people aged 40 and older and assessed their respiratory history, use of tobacco and use of marijuana. They performed lung function tests before and after using medication that opens up the lungs.

The findings: “Smoking both tobacco and marijuana synergistically increased the risk of respiratory symptoms and COPD. Smoking only marijuana was not associated with an increased risk of respiratory symptoms or COPD.”  (Tan, et al, Canadian Medical Association Journal, 4/14/09; 180)

Despite these findings, most physicians still recommend that medical marijuana patients do not smoke their medication and instead use vaporizers, edibles, and/or tinctures.  It is clear from this study that the damage that smoking tobacco can cause is significant (which we all knew before anyway!) and it can be worsened if you also smoke marijuana.

The Colbert Report and Prop 19

Well it seems that my Facebook Fan page for Marijuana Medicine Evaluation Centers paid off in a big way. As a fan of both The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report I make it a point to go to their FB fan page on a daily basis and post comments, stories, videos and such. Well it would appear that one of their writers got a hold of our website 

Marijuana Medicine Evaluation Centers

Marijuana Medicine Evaluation Centers

and saw the opening for a few jabs at the medical marijuana doctor / patient relationship.

While it seems they found humor in some of the items one could receive a medical marijuana recommendation for they seemed to focus most of their comical attention on the fact that the necessity for Prop 19 has been undermined by Governor Schwarzenegger opting to signed Senate Bill 1449which reduces adult marijuana possession charges from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil infraction.

Senate Bill 1449 amends the California Health and Safety Code so that the adult possession of up to 28.5 grams of marijuana is classified as an infraction, punishable by no more than a $100 fine — no court appearance, no court costs, and no criminal record.

The new law, which takes effect on Jan 1, 2011, will have an effect even if Californians vote to legalize marijuana by passing Prop 19. Proposition 19 leaves misdemeanor possession penalties in place for public use and smoking in the presence of children; under SB 1449, these offenses would be simple infractions.