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Marijuana is one of the most widely spread drugs worldwide. Users rarely consume marijuana by eating or drinking; instead, they smoke it and frequently combine cannabis with tobacco. Users usually interpret the high they get from smoking as relaxing. However, smoking marijuana may have some short and long-term side effects on their health, and some of them can be deadly. Marijuana often causes breathing problems, and the most common symptoms are shortness of breath, coughing, increased sputum, and wheezing. [1]  

Breathing problems

  • Respiratory airway irritation, 
  • bronchospasm, 
  • frequent wheezing, 
  • chronic bronchitis, 
  • shortness of breath, 
  • chest sounds without a cold, 
  • prolonged duration of the flu and common cold, 
  • increased risk of complications of respiratory infections 

are just some of the risks marijuana smoker expose themselves to when smoking marijuana, and especially when mixing it with tobacco. Marijuana usage has some similarities to tobacco smoking regarding health risks [2]. 

When you smoke marijuana, it is not merely THC you inhale — there are a lot of other chemicals which can damage your lungs. Most of them can be found in cigarettes and science recognizes them as one of the causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchitis. Individuals who are often are exposed to higher concentrations of these chemicals are at higher risk of developing side effects. People who smoke marijuana and who have preexisting lung diseases should be particularly careful. [1]

Bullous lung disease 

Marijuana, especially when combined with tobacco use, can potentially cause many lung diseases (already mentioned above). The reason we talk about bullous lung disease as a separate entity is the unpleasantness of the condition.[3

Studies have shown that a long-term smoking of marijuana destroys lung tissue in some individuals, causing the formation of bullae, which are like small balloons filled with air in the lungs. If they are extensive, they will create symptoms. So, what is the effect of Bullous lung disease? Imagine breathing through a straw — that’s how Bullous lung disease patients describe their breathing in the absence of an oxygen machine. In most cases, it occurs in younger patients, who often belong to the age group that most experiments with cannabis. [1]

In case bullae are located at the periphery of your lung, and they pop, there is a chance that your lung will collapse. The patient will feel a sharp pain and a sudden and severe shortness of breath. A collapse of lungs is a very critical condition which can even end with death. 

Smoking marijuana can lead to exacerbation and can worsen symptoms of preexisting lung disease such as asthma. A person who suffers from lung diseases should avoid smoking marijuana or cigarettes for that matter. [1]  

Smoking marijuana can increase the risk of lung cancer in the same way as tobacco can. The most dangerous are chemicals which can be found together with marijuana in a cigarette smoke.

Aspergillosis is an infection of the lung that is linked to smoking marijuana. Aspergillosis can be found on marijuana plants, and a person inhales it while smoking cannabis - Aspergillosis travell into the lungs and start multiplying and causing pneumonia. [1]

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