Survey: Many cannabis users with uncontrolled asthma choose to smoke it
A survey revealed that many patients with allergy and asthma who use cannabis — including those with uncontrolled asthma — smoke or vape cannabis rather than use edibles or tinctures.
Results from the survey were published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
“It surprised me that over half of the cannabis users in this study who have asthma were smoking it,” Joanna Zeiger, PhD, an epidemiologist and CEO of the Canna Research Group, said in a press release. “And further, of those with uncontrolled asthma, half reported smoking cannabis. We also found that people with asthma are not routinely being asked or advised by their physician about cannabis and how they are consuming it.”
The anonymous online survey was sent to participants in the Adult Allergy & Asthma Network. The network is a patient advocacy group striving to educate patients in the U.S. with asthma, allergies and similar conditions.
A total of 489 respondents were included in the final analysis. Of those, 18% reported current cannabis use — meaning they used cannabis in the last 2 weeks — and 37.6% reported that they were not currently using it, but they had previously used cannabis. Among those who did not use cannabis, 2.5% reported having an allergy to cannabis.
Zeiger and colleagues found that 58% of current cannabis users had asthma, and 39.2% of those had uncontrolled asthma.
Of all respondents, 35.4% reported that their physicians asked them about cannabis use. Among respondents with current cannabis use, 40.9% reported that their physician asked them about cannabis use.
According to Zeiger and colleagues, 37.5% of those who used cannabis said they wanted to discuss it with their physician.
The survey also collected information on reason for cannabis use. Of respondents who currently used cannabis, 68.2% said they did so to treat pain, and 34% reported that they only used cannabis recreationally.
Among those who used cannabis, 53.4% reported smoking it and 35.2% reported vaping it.
Half of current cannabis users with uncontrolled asthma reported smoking cannabis.
Among participants who reported current cannabis use, 19.3% indicated that they experienced coughing associated with smoking cannabis.
William Silvers, MD, chief scientific officer at Canna Research Group and an ACAAI member, noted in the press release that physicians should work to increase their knowledge of cannabis use to ensure they can help manage patients who use it.
“As with cigarette smoking, efforts should be made to reduce smoking of cannabis, and recommend other potentially safer routes such as edibles and sublingual tinctures,” he said.
Eurekalert. In survey of those with uncontrolled asthma, half smoked cannabis. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-02/acoa-iso020121.php. Accessed February 4, 2021.