Is Vaping Cannabis Recommended for My Lung Disease?

“I have idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). I’m trying to get medication into my lungs to help my lung disease. ”

I’m very sorry to hear of your lung disease diagnosis.

To answer your question, vaporizing marijuana does not harm lung function as dramatically as smoking tobacco does. Nevertheless, even vaporizing cannabis increases symptoms of respiratory irritation such as tightness in the chest, wheezing and coughing. It also has the potential to alter lung function when frequency of use are high.

“Alveolar cell death and increased alveolar replication are a constant observation in active IPF, and there is evidence that it might contribute to enhance fibroblast proliferation and collagen deposition. It is therefore likely that agents that increase alveolar epithelial cell death will also aggravate the fibrotic process. Thus, the objective of therapy should be to repress inflammation without harming the alveolar epithelium or ideally to prevent alveolar damage.”


Simply put, vaping cannabis can aggravate the fiborotic process, which is the hallmark of pulmonary fibrosis.

However, delivering cannabis by ingestion would be no less effective than vaping is at delivering the anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects, for which cannabis has clearly demonstrated. When vaping or smoking cannabis, the active components of cannabis go from the lungs to the blood within seconds. From there, they enter the circulation and would still be delivered to lung epithelium and alveoli. When ingesting cannabis, the cannabinoids are absorbed in the small intestine, then enters the blood stream to deliver the cannabinoids to lung tissue. Therefore, since the healing cannabinoids are delivered via the circulation, vaping cannabis would have no discernible advantage over smoking. In fact, ingesting cannabis would result in a steady delivery of cannabinoids that vaping could not.

Therefore, I recommend using ingestible methods of using cannabis. I would particularly recommend a highCBD:lowTHC tincture or oil – somewhere between a 8:1 to 20:1 ratio. l

Sincerely yours,
Richard Kim MD


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