Medical Marijuana for the Treatment of COPD
Posted on July 07, 2021 |
This position statement was reviewed by the COPD Foundation Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee.
Background: Claims for using marijuana for treatment of COPD
There are several websites that make claims that marijuana can be an effective treatment for COPD. These websites state that "smoking marijuana may help (COPD) patients manage acute airway constriction attacks caused by inflammation and provide a preventive measure."1 They go on to state that medical marijuana can "possess antimicrobial properties, support the immune system, provide pain relief, reduce phlegm by acting as an expectorant, and promote better sleep."1 These websites make claims of effectiveness, but these claims are unsubstantiated and cannot be proven. Smoking, vaping, and dabbing marijuana can harm the lung tissues causing scarring and damage to small blood vessels.2 Marijuana smoke contains many toxins and irritants as tobacco smoke and can lead to greater risk of hyperinflation from increased mucus production.3 In addition the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved marijuana to treat COPD.
COPD Foundation Position
Medical marijuana is not recommended for the treatment of COPD. The COPD Foundation does not recommend the use of medical marijuana in the treatment of COPD or other lung diseases until there is rigorous scientific and medical proof of its effectiveness. Instead, the COPD Foundation encourages individuals with COPD to talk to their pulmonary physician about other scientifically proven treatment options for COPD.
- The Marijuana Doctors. Medical Marijuana for COPD. https://www.marijuanadoctors.com/conditions/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease/. Accessed May 3, 2021.
- Tashkin DP. Effects of marijuana smoking on the lung. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2013 Jun;10(3):239-47. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.201212-127FR. PMID: 23802821
- Aldington S, Williams M, Nowitz M, Weatherall M, Pritchard A, McNaughton A, Robinson G, Beasley R. Effects of cannabis on pulmonary structure, function, and symptoms. Thorax. 2007 Dec;62(12):1058-63. doi: 10.1136/thx.2006.077081. Epub 2007 Jul 31. Erratum in: Thorax. 2008 Apr;63(4):385. PMID: 17666437; PMCID: PMC2094297.