A study coming out of New Zealand comes with a warning for heavy cannabis users. It says that smoking cannabis can cause bronchitis and in some heavy users, it can also lead to irreversible lung damage. This destructive disease is being called as “bong lung”
What Is “Bong Lung”?
The study was conducted on thousands of people, and results revealed that heavy users of cannabis could end up with damaged lungs for life.
This damage was irreversible and can be highly destructive with researchers calling it “ bong lung”
Author of the research Bob Hancox explained further on what exactly does “bong lung” mean, saying: "The bronchitis that people get, the really nasty bronchitis, does tend to improve if you stop.
"But what we as lung doctors sometimes see in people that don't stop smoking cannabis - we see people coming in with lungs which are very badly damaged with lots of destruction of the lung tissue, and that is irreversible."
“Bong Lung” refers to the presence of large apical bullae in patients who regularly smoke marijuana. While no causal link has been established between the existence of the problem and its link with smoking marijuana, it is expected the heavy smokers of cannabis usually suffer from this ailment.
Smoking marijuana has been held responsible for chronic bronchitis, airflow obstruction, impaired large airway function and hyperinflation in the past as well.
Here’s What The Study Had To Say On The Impact Of Cannabis On Lungs
Emphasis was also given to how smoking cannabis has a different impact on the lungs as compared to tobacco.
Smoking tobacco persistently causes a variety of lung disorders known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. While the authors of the research said that the impact of cannabis smoking on the lungs is different from that of smoking tobacco, it was clear that the drug is not harmless to the lungs.
Another study aims to quantify the trade-off between smoking tobacco and marijuana. It said that one marijuana joint is equivalent to 2.5-5 cigarettes, possible due to different inhalation techniques and lack of filters.
Dr Kathryn Gracie also spoke about the ill effects of smoking cannabis on the human body. Sufficient evidence that cannabis causes respiratory symptoms and has the potential to damage both the airways and the lungs".
The report concluded by saying that while social and mental effects of smoking cannabis are discussed, adequate importance also needs to be given to how weed can impact the lungs.
However, several barriers prevent cannabis research to take place. The fact that cannabis is illegal in most countries and the cannabis industry is unregulated are some of the problems that researchers face in today’s times. Many cannabis users also fail to come forward and be part of the research, fearing prosecution.
With cannabis being the second-most commonly smoked substance after tobacco and the most widely used illicit drug worldwide, adequate research needs to be done to fully understand the impact cannabis has on our body.