Marijuana and the Lung: Evolving Understandings

Med Clin North Am. 2022 Nov;106(6):1093-1107. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2022.07.010. Epub 2022 Oct 4.


Human beings have used marijuana products for centuries. Relatively recent data showing extensive cannabinoid receptors, particularly in the brain, help to explain the impacts of cannabinoids on symptoms/diseases, such as pain and seizures, with major nervous system components. Marijuana can cause bronchitis, but a moderate body of literature suggests that distal airway/parenchymal lung disease does not occur; marijuana does not cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and probably does not cause lung cancer, distinctly different from tobacco. Potentials for cognitive impairment and for damage to the developing brain are contextually important as its beneficial uses are explored.

Keywords: Cannabis smoking; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Lung cancer; Marijuana.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics
  • Cannabinoids* / adverse effects
  • Cannabis* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / etiology
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid


  • Cannabinoids
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Analgesics