Vaping cannabis CBD causes more severe lung damage, study finds

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In a study from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, scientists found vaping cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in marijuana, leads to more severe lung damage than vaping nicotine.

Until now, research on the health effects of vaping, or using e-cigarettes, has focused almost exclusively on vaping nicotine as opposed to CBD.

Previous research has found the effects of smoking cannabis, but the effects of vaping cannabinoids such as CBD were not previously known.

In the study, researchers conducted the first study comparing the pulmonary effects of acute inhalation of vaporized CBD and nicotine.

Vaping involves using a device that heats a liquid containing nicotine or other substances, such as CBD, to create an aerosol that can be inhaled.

In this study, the team compared two commercial vaping products:

A CBD product containing 50 mg/mL of CBD (natural flavoring), dissolved in a solution of medium chain triglycerides—fats derived from coconut or palm oils; and

A nicotine product containing 5.0% nicotine (Virginia Tobacco flavor) dissolved in a solution of propylene glycol, a synthetic food additive, and vegetable glycerin, made from plant-based oils.

The study involved both in vivo models and in vitro cultures of human cells, which were exposed to filtered air, nicotine aerosols or CBD aerosols for two weeks.

The researchers found tissue damage in the lung was greater after inhalation of CBD aerosols than nicotine aerosols.

For example, myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity was much greater following exposure to CBD aerosol vs. nicotine aerosol. MPO promotes inflammation and damage to lung cells.

Inhalation of CBD aerosols resulted in greater inflammation and higher oxidative stress in the lung.

Exposure to CBD aerosols killed common white blood cells in humans (neutrophils) more than nicotine aerosols (44.5% vs. 21%). Neutrophils in the lungs protect against bacteria, viruses and fungi.

CBD aerosols were more toxic to human small airway epithelial cells and disrupted the lung epithelial barrier.

Inhalation of CBD aerosols interrupted processes responsible for reducing inflammation and protecting against infection.

These findings suggest that vaping cannabis may not only cause significant lung injury, but can also increase susceptibility to respiratory infections.

It may lead to poor responses to prophylactic vaccinations or cause worsening of symptoms in patients with underlying pulmonary inflammatory disease.

If you care about cannabis, please read studies that CBD from cannabis may inhibit COVID-19, and cannabis linked to 3-times higher death risk in high blood pressure.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about gum disease linked to impaired lung function, and results showing new drug combo could improve survival in lung cancer.

The study was conducted by Yasmin Thanavala et al and published in the journal Thorax.

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