Each year new words are added to the American lexicon.  These new words come from our culture and reflect the common usage of these words.  Recently, a new word has found its way into medical literature, and I suspect it will be there for some time.  The word is “cannabinosis” and describes lung disease that occurs from smoking marijuanna.

Marijuanna is the second most common product to be smoked in the world, following tobacco.  Tobacco and marijuanna share many of the same compounds and disease potential.  The main difference between tobacco and marijuanna is that tobacco has the addictive substance nicotine, which is not present in marijuanna, and marijuanna contains the mood altering chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is not in tobacco.  Both of these products have been engineered to contain large quantities of their respective compounds, both of which tend to produce some level of dependence and addiction.

In addition to these compounds, which tend to produce dependence, the smoke from these products contain similar carcinogens (compounds associated with cancer). Patients who regularly smoke marijuanna are exposed to chemicals that increase the risk of lung disease such as COPD and, disturbingly, lung cancer.

The opinions on medical marijuanna vary, but the notion that smoking marijuanna is not as harmful as cigarettes is false.  Consider the fact that we were born to breathe air, and any regular inhalation of burning plant material is bound to result in unwanted and unnecessary problems.