What is COPD?

Symptoms of COPD can include wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest. COPD describes a group of long-term lung diseases that includes bronchitis and emphysema. These diseases cause inflammation, which impairs airflow in and out of the lungs, making breathing difficult.

COPD is progressive, meaning that a person's symptoms tend to get worse over time. Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of COPD.

Symptoms of COPD can vary in severity but typically include:

  • tightness in the chest
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • fatigue
  • unintentional weight loss
  • low oxygen level

Smoking marijuana and COPD

A person's risk of developing COPD may increase due to heavy marijuana smoking.

The medical community is unsure whether smoking marijuana increases a person's risk of COPD. According to the American Thoracic Society, heavy marijuana smoking is likely to cause lung damage, which could increase a person's risk of developing COPD.

Many of the harmful and volatile chemicals in tobacco smoke are also present in marijuana smoke. Regardless of the source, smoke, ash, and heat are harmful to the lungs and can damage their lining. This seems to suggest that marijuana smoke is likely to cause COPD.

Also, the manner of smoking can increase the risk of lung damage. A person usually inhales marijuana smoke more deeply and holds it in the lungs for longer than cigarette smoke.

Long-term use may also lead to inflammation and swelling of the bronchial tubes, which can cause symptoms of chronic bronchitis, such as increased mucus production, coughing, and wheezing.

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