Influence of history of cannabis smoking in selected donors on the outcomes of lung transplantation

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2017 Jan;51(1):142-147. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezw255.


Objectives: Cannabis is the most commonly abused illicit drug and the smokers are at the risk of lung infections, bullous emphysema and lung cancer. However, no evidence about the outcomes of lung transplantation (LTx) utilizing the lungs from such donors is available in the literature.

Methods: We retrospectively analysed lung 'organ offers' and LTx at our centre between January 2007 and November 2013. The outcomes of LTx utilizing lungs from donors with a history of cannabis smoking were compared with the outcomes of those with no such history using unadjusted model as well as propensity score matching.

Results: A total of 302 LTxs were performed during this period and were grouped depending on the history of cannabis smoking in donors-'cannabis' (n = 19) and control group (n = 283). All the donors in 'cannabis' group were tobacco smokers compared with 43% in the control group. Preoperative characteristics in recipients in both groups were comparable. Intraoperative and post-LTx variables including 1- and 3-year survivals were comparable in both groups.

Conclusions: The history of donor cannabis smoking does not appear to affect early and mid-term outcomes after LTx and potentially improve the donor pool. As it does not seem to negatively affect the outcomes after LTx, it should not be per se considered a contraindication for lung donation.

Keywords: Cannabis; Lung transplantation; Organ donation; Smoking history.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Transplantation
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tissue Donors* / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome