Acute and chronic effects of marijuana smoking on pulmonary alveolar permeability

Life Sci. 1995;56(23-24):2193-9. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(95)00207-m.


Pulmonary clearance of technetium (99mTc)-labeled diethylene triamine pentaacetate (DTPA), a sensitive test of alveolar epithelial permeability, was measured twice in 34 healthy subjects, including 10 control nonsmokers (NS), 10 habitual smokers of marijuana alone (MS) (> or = 10 joints/wk), 9 regular smokers of tobacco alone (TS) (> or = 15 cigarettes/day) and 4 habitual smokers of both marijuana and tobacco (MTS). In smokers, the first study was performed after > or = 12 hrs of abstinence from smoking to assess chronic effects of marijuana and/or tobacco smoking on alveolar permeability; the second study was performed within 15 min of smoking to assess possible acute effects. TS exhibited abnormally rapid 99mTc-DTPA clearance after > or = 12 hours of abstinence, indicating an increase in pulmonary epithelial permeability, consistent with chronic tobacco-induced lung injury. MS showed a more modest and less consistent chronic effect than TS on 99mTc-DTPA clearance, suggesting a more variable and smaller degree of marijuana-induced lung injury. No acute effect of tobacco or marijuana smoking on 99mTc-DTPA clearance was apparent. Concomitant habitual smoking of marijuana and tobacco had no additive effect on alveolar permeability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Membrane Permeability*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Marijuana Smoking / metabolism
  • Marijuana Smoking / pathology
  • Plants, Toxic
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / pathology
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / metabolism
  • Smoking / pathology
  • Technetium Tc 99m Pentetate / pharmacokinetics
  • Tobacco


  • Technetium Tc 99m Pentetate