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Respirology. 2008 Jan;13(1):122-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2007.01186.x.

Bullous lung disease due to marijuana.

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Department of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



In contrast to the well-described effects of tobacco smoking upon pulmonary emphysema, with approximately 15% of smokers being affected at the age of 65 years, the effects of marijuana smoking are rarely reported and poorly understood.


We report a series of 10 patients (mean age 41 +/- 9 years, eight male, two female), who presented over a period of 12 months to our respiratory unit with new respiratory symptoms, and who admitted to regular chronic marijuana smoking (>1 year continuously). Symptoms on presentation were dyspnoea (n = 4), pneumothorax (n = 4) and chest infection (n = 2).


High-resolution CT revealed asymmetrical, variably sized, emphysematous bullae in the upper and mid zones. However, the CXR was normal in four patients and lung function was normal in five.


Marijuana smoking leads to asymmetrical bullous disease, often in the setting of normal CXR and lung function. In subjects who smoke marijuana, these pathological changes occur at a younger age (approximately 20 years earlier) than in tobacco smokers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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