Airway effects of marijuana, cocaine, and other inhaled illicit agents

  title={Airway effects of marijuana, cocaine, and other inhaled illicit agents},
  author={Donald P. Tashkin},
  journal={Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine},
  • D. Tashkin
  • Published 1 March 2001
  • Medicine, Biology
  • Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine
Several substances besides tobacco are inhaled for recreational purposes, including marijuana, crack cocaine, amyl and butyl nitrites, heroin, methamphetamine, and phencyclidine. Abuse of most of these inhaled substances has risen in recent years, thereby increasing concern about potential pulmonary and other medical complications. Regular marijuana use can lead to extensive airway injury and alterations in the structure and function of alveolar macrophages, potentially predisposing to… 

Effects of Smoked Marijuana on the Lung and Its Immune Defenses

The major potential pulmonary consequences of habitual marijuana use are pulmonary infection and respiratory cancer.

Cannabis-Associated Asthma and Allergies

Although smoking of marijuana may cause respiratory symptoms, there is a need for more studies to elucidate many aspects in allergic asthma patients, especially considering the long-term use of the drug.

Asthma associated with the use of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana: A review of the evidence

Clinicians need to be vigilant regarding use of these drugs in their patients with hyperreactive airway disease and it would be prudent for patients with asthma to avoid smoking marijuana.

Clinical review: Major consequences of illicit drug consumption

The problems associated with the different drugs from a systems-based viewpoint are reviewed and collapse, convulsions, or coma may be caused in different circumstances by opioids, MDMA, or gamma hydroxybutyrate and may be aggravated by other sedatives, especially alcohol and benzodiazepines.

Data available on the extent of cocaine use and dependence: biochemistry, pharmacologic effects and global burden of disease of cocaine abusers.

The effects of Cocaine mainly depend on the user's addiction, the dose received and the mode of assumption, so ascribing adverse health effect to a certain drug might be difficult.

Interstitial lung damage due to cocaine abuse: pathogenesis, pharmacogenomics and therapy.

Possible molecular mechanisms explaining intraindividual variability in cocaine response and lung toxicity are summarized and the importance of including pharmacogenomics in the work-up of patients with suspected drug-induced lung toxicity is highlighted.

"Smoking wet": respiratory failure related to smoking tainted marijuana cigarettes.

This is the first 2-patient report of severe respiratory failure and rescue therapy with extracorporeal oxygenation after the smoking of marijuana cigarettes thus tainted, and it is believed that the possibility of exposure to tainted marijuana cigarettes should be considered.

Effects of cannabis on pulmonary structure, function and symptoms

Smoking cannabis was associated with a dose-related impairment of large airways function resulting in airflow obstruction and hyperinflation and the 1:2.5–5 dose equivalence between cannabis joints and tobacco cigarettes for adverse effects on lung function is of major public health significance.



Marijuana and cocaine impair alveolar macrophage function and cytokine production.

Findings indicate that habitual exposure of the lung to either marijuana or cocaine impairs the function and/or cytokine production of AMs, and the ultimate outcome of these effects may be an enhanced susceptibility to infectious disease, cancer, and AIDS.

Effects of 'crack' cocaine on pulmonary alveolar permeability.

Whereas regular smoking of tobacco alone or with other substances increases alveolar epithelial permeability, habitual smoking of cocaine and/or marijuana has no measurable effect onAlveolar permeability in the absence of tobacco nor any additive effect to that of Tobacco alone.

Respiratory effects of cocaine "freebasing" among habitual users of marijuana with or without tobacco.

The findings suggested that, among habitual marijuana smokers, "moderate" cocaine smoking damaged both large and small airways, as reflected by functional changes that were independent of concomitant marijuana use and appeared to be synergistic with the effects of tobacco.

Acute effects of intravenous cocaine on pulmonary artery pressure and cardiac index in habitual crack smokers.

Comparing the acute effects of i.v. cocaine HCl and placebo on PAP, cardiac stroke volume, and cardiac output estimated indirectly by continuous Doppler echocardiography shows that cocaine Hcl does not cause short-term increases in PAP or stroke volume index, but causes an increase in cardiac index due to its chronotropic effect.

Acute activation of circulating polymorphonuclear neutrophils following in vivo administration of cocaine. A potential etiology for pulmonary injury.

These studies demonstrate that short-term in vivo exposure to cocaine activates the effector function and cytokine production of circulating PMNs, and it is possible that bursts of acute inflammatory activity resulting from crack use could contribute to lung injury.

Pulmonary status of habitual cocaine smokers.

Frequent crack use was associated with a high prevalence of at least occasional occurrences of acute cardiorespiratory symptoms within 1 to 12 h after smoking cocaine and a mild but significant impairment in the diffusing capacity of the lung.

Tracheobronchial histopathology in habitual smokers of cocaine, marijuana, and/or tobacco.

Maine appears to lead to fewer significant bronchial mucosal alterations than marijuana or tobacco when smoked alone and does not add to the changes associated with marijuana, but when smoked together with tobacco, cocaine appears to augment the bronchia injury caused by tobacco smoking.

Lung and aero-digestive cancers in young marijuana smokers.

The case presentation of several young marijuana users with no history of tobacco smoking or other significant risk factors who were diagnosed to have lung or other aero-digestive cancers in the authors' practice is presented.

Effects of smoked marijuana in experimentally induced asthma.

After experimental induction of acute bronchospasm in 8 subjects with clinically stable bronchial asthma, effects of 500 mg of smoked marijuana on specific airway conductance and thoracic gas volume were compared with those of 500mg of smoked placebo marijuana, and 2.0 per cent marijuana and isoproterenol caused an immediate reversal of exercise-induced asthma and hyperinflation.