Pulmonary Effects of Marijuana Inhalation

Megan L Howden; Matthew T Naughton


Expert Rev Resp Med. 2011;5(1):87-92. 

In This Article


Regular marijuana smokers utilize the healthcare system more than nonsmokers and have more frequent upper respiratory tract infections.[16] Plant material may be contaminated with bacteria or fungi[27] and a number of fungi have been cultured from marijuana including penicillium and Aspergillus species.[28,29] Cannabis smoking also impairs immune function with a number of studies finding reduced ability of alveolar macrophages to kill bacteria and tumor cells.[30–32] However, the clinical significance of these findings remains to be determined. The use of marijuana, in any case, does not appear to be associated with significant systemic immunosuppression as evidenced by a study of HIV-positive men.[33] The past or current use of marijuana was not associated with the development of AIDS or a decline in white cell count.


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