Background: With the increased use of cannabis in the medicinal and recreational domains, it is becoming more important for physicians to better understand its harmful and beneficial effects. Although medical cannabis comes in several forms, the preferred route of administration is smoking or inhalation. After caring for three asthmatic patients who were treated with medical cannabis and who reported improvement in their symptoms, we decided to review the available data on the effects of medical cannabis on asthmatic patients.
Objectives: To review the known effects of medical cannabis on asthmatic patients.
Methods: A thorough search was conducted of the MEDLINE and PubMed databases as well as the internet for publications about the effects of medical cannabis on asthmatic patients.
Results: Cannabis has a bronchodilator effect on the airways and might have an anti-inflammatory effect on asthmatic patients. However, harmful effects on the lungs are mainly attributed to smoking and include airway irritation and the development of chronic bronchitis symptoms.
Conclusions: Cannabis has some benefit, yet there are many harmful effects on the lungs. Additional research is needed to determine the harmful effects of vaporizers as well as inhalers.