Does smoking or using marijuana help pulmonary hypertension or is it deleterious to the condition?

Specifically, will there be negative outcomes in smoking marijuana for someone with PH?

Submitted by Sunny from United States on 11/15/2014

Dear Sunny:

Forgive the delay in this reply. We usually do better. The short answer to your question is: We don’t know because there is no data. However, your question is important because the true answer (i.e., does it help?), may never be known. This will pertain to many questions regarding the possible medical benefits of marijuana because of the following reasons:

1. It has been an illegal substance from the beginning and is still illegal in most states. This results in significant under reporting of it use which in turn makes any assessment of its benefit or harm almost impossible.
2. Its illegal status results in wide variation in the strength of a given dose. Side effects, often serious, may be related to the substances used to cut it for sale. Marijuana containing paraquat is one example.
3. Research at Indiana University could find no medical uses for it that were not already addressed by drugs available at that time.They abandoned the project. This research was done 40 years ago and may no longer be relevant today.
4. The marijuana currently available is much stronger that what was used in the ’60s and ’70s.
5. Chromosome damage has been reported after minimal use.
6. In susceptible individuals, significant psychotic disturbances have been reported after smoking one joint.
7. Until the active ingredient (s) such as THC have been studied in a controlled trial (similar to other prescription drugs), we won’t know its true place in medicine.
8. Remember, it took many years to determine the adverse effects of smoking plain tobacco which is a legal substance.

My advice to you: If you have any lung disease at all, smoking of regular tobacco will be detrimental. It follows that adding marijuana to the mix is likely to be worse rather than better. Until unbiased data becomes available, the health claims of marijuana will amount to little more than a spitting contest.