Cannabis smoking and respiratory health: Consideration of the literature

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Abstract

The respiratory health effects from tobacco smoking are well described. Cannabis smoke contains a similar profile of carcinogenic chemicals as tobacco smoke but is inhaled more deeply. Although cannabis smoke is known to contain similar harmful and carcinogenic substances to tobacco smoke, relatively little is understood regarding the respiratory health effects from cannabis smoking. There is a need to integrate research on cannabis and respiratory health effects so that gaps in the literature can be identified and the more consistent findings can be consolidated with the purpose of educating smokers and health service providers. This review focuses on several aspects of respiratory health and cannabis use (as well as concurrent cannabis and tobacco use) and provides an update to (i) the pathophysiology; (ii) general respiratory health including symptoms of chronic bronchitis; and (iii) lung cancer.

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