Marijuana and Lung Health

While the health consequences of smoking marijuana are not completely understood,
marijuana smoke is known to contain many irritants and carcinogens and may lead to, or
contribute to, respiratory problems. Many physicians are concerned about
recommending marijuana to their patients for this very reason. Fortunately, several
options are available for reducing or eliminating the dangers of marijuana smoking for
individuals who find symptom relief from marijuana use.
The most obvious way to avoid respiratory trouble is to take oral preparations of
marijuana, such as oil capsules or marijuana baked goods (also known as “medibles” or
“edibles.” Oral ingestion of marijuana has the benefit of providing relief for longer
periods of time and also provides a discrete way to medicate. However, orally ingesting
marijuana can be slower to take effect than smoking and a proper dosage may be difficult
to measure, much less adjust. Because oral preparations can be more powerful than
smoking, we counsel patients to start with small amounts, and increase the dose
gradually, according to comfort level and medical need, until the optimum dose is
For more information on how to prepare marijuana for oral use please check our class
for our next “Medicine Preparation” class.
The second way to ingest medical marijuana in order to reduce respiratory risk is a
process known as “vaporization.” Vaporization is the process of heating cannabis to
temperatures of approximately 180-190°ree; C., which causes THC and other
cannabinoids to vaporize without the combustion of any organic matter. In essence,
vaporization provides the therapeutic benefits of marijuana while significantly reducing
the harmful consequences of smoking. Many different types of vaporizers are available
on the market today, but only the Volcano Vaporizer has been scientifically studied and
shown to effectively reduce the amount of tar and carcinogens produced through the
heating of marijuana. Many other vaporizers of varying price and quality are available,
and Compassion Center offers three of the less expensive versions in our retail store.