Asthma may worsen in treatment with marijuana

People who take part in a clinical trial to test the effects of marijuana on the chronic inflammatory disease asthma may have more trouble with the condition a new study suggests.

An estimated 2. 3 million people in the U. S. have asthma and about 50 of them are encouraged to try a form of marijuana called marijuana if they have a qualifying condition. The therapy is also legal in 34 states that legalized it for medical and recreational use. But mixed in the group researchers report several cases of people who reported side effects including runny or stuffy nose coughing and wheezing.

Little is known about what happens in the lungs after prolonged exposure to marijuana. People who take part in such trials have been asked to take a nasal spray of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug – commonly used to treat sedentary high blood pressure and cholesterol problems such as heart failure and peripheral artery disease. And doctors sometimes administer it based on reports from drug users.

One limitation of the study is that it relied on people to accurately recall and report on any pollution in their past. Researchers also focused on current use of marijuana rather than the potential long-term impact the study team notes. Marijuana use may change over time or users may stop using the drug or stop reporting positive side effects.

There is a lack of existing evidence regarding the potential listing of marijuana as a prohibited substance in New Jersey and New York within one year because of a lack of medical documentation said study co-author Steven Solomon an epidemiologist at the University at Buffalo.

Unfortunately evidence to date on the efficacy of marijuana in asthma refractory asthma has been limited by the absence of controlled trials Solomon said in a statement. Our study suggests that in addition to efficacy of marijuana over longer dosing regimens frequent use may be associated with substantial short-term asthma related airway inflammation involving a bias through information dissemination.

Smokers tend to have more trouble than non-smokers. And people who use marijuana dont seem to rush to quit Solomon says. While symptoms of chronic bronchiectasis – a buildup of unhealthy cells inside airways – may appear the majority of people dont finish their initial dose and may be able to tolerate it for a while he said.

Using a database of asthma patients Solomon and colleagues reviewed data on 12445 volunteers who participated in two clinical trials to test the effect of marijuana on asthma. They found the average age of participants was 52 years and about 26 were female. While about 27 took daily breaks from work the average duration of drug use was 14 days. Participants then switched to daily smoking cessation for about 16 weeks instead of a one-month window to continue using marijuana the researchers note in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the six months prior to the cessation their asthma symptoms and the duration of drug use were measured in each of their nasal passages and in their airways.

Some of the people who switched to daily smoking cessation had positive ratings followed by some of those ratings decreased and others increased which Solomon said was also surprising because its been assumed that medication would improve patients symptoms. Other side effects that didnt improve were muscle pain and increased inflammation in the lymph nodes within the nose the study authors say.