THURSDAY, Dec. 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Marijuana smokers more often have airway inflammation and emphysema than nonsmokers and tobacco-only smokers, according to a study published online Nov. 15 in Radiology.
Luke Murtha, B.M.B.S., from Ottawa Hospital General Campus in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues used chest computed tomography to examine the effects of marijuana smoking in the lung in a retrospective case-control study. Rates of emphysema, airway changes, gynecomastia, and coronary artery calcification were compared for 56 marijuana smokers, 57 nonsmoker controls, and 33 tobacco-only smokers.
The researchers found that the rates of emphysema were higher among marijuana smokers than nonsmokers (75 versus 5 percent), but not compared with tobacco-only smokers (67 percent). Compared with other groups, marijuana smokers had higher rates of bronchial thickening, bronchiectasis, and mucoid impaction. Marijuana smokers more often had gynecomastia compared with control patients and tobacco-only smokers (38 percent versus 16 and 11 percent, respectively). The rates of bronchial thickening, bronchiectasis, and mucoid impaction were higher for marijuana smokers than tobacco-only smokers in an age-matched subgroup analysis. Emphysema rates were also higher in marijuana versus tobacco-only smokers in an age-matched analysis, but no difference was seen in the rate of coronary artery calcification.
“These findings may be related to specific inhalational techniques while smoking marijuana, as well as to the bronchodilatory and immunomodulatory properties of its components,” the authors write.
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