Can you get Smokers Cough from Smoking Weed
Pretty much everyone gets an irritating cough every once in a while, usually along with a cold or the flu. They are usually linked to viral infections, and caused by irritation to the nerves in your airway; and in these cases the cough is helping to protect your lungs by constantly clearing the airways of further irritants. Within a week or two chances are the cough has gone, and life moves on, but things aren’t so simple with a ‘smoker’s cough’.
What is a true smoker’s cough?
The term is describes either a dry (usually the first stage), or productive, (the type where you bring gunk up), cough that lasts for longer than three weeks. It is mostly seen in smokers because the cough is the body’s way of trying to eliminate the toxic chemicals which smoking has brought into the lungs and airway. A normal cough will disappear as the body heals, but smoking just locks in the cycle of irritation – cough – more irritation.
What’s the risk?
The longer someone smokes the more chance they have of developing smoker’s cough, but it’s about more than an irritating habit. Long term smokers are much more likely to develop bronchitis, COPD, infections, cancer, collapsed lung, and emphysema than anyone else.
The links between weed and smoker’s cough
Some forms of cannabis are believed to have healing properties, and to be great for relieving symptoms of chronic long term conditions, but it’s impossible to escape the fact that smoking weed exposes the body to the same potential health problems as smoking tobacco does, and that includes smoker’s cough.
Some experts even believe smoking weed is actually more harmful to the lungs for several reasons. These include: the added dangers of burning heavily bleached white papers, inhaling dirty marijuana with high levels of pesticides or fertilizers, marijuana mould – a fungus called aspergillus which sometimes grows amongst the weed and can get into the lungs, and the different temperature a joint burns at.
Any kind of smoke, whether it’s from a cigarette, a bonfire or a joint, damages the lining of our airways. The lining is basically dried out by the heat of the smoke, leaving the airway open to irritation and inflammation – which explains why smoke is so dangerous in a house fire. In the long term this weakens the immune system, leaving the lungs vulnerable to both persistent coughs and long term chest conditions.
A joint, spliff or blunt produce much hotter smoke than a regular cigarette, so the entire process moves faster, but the good news is that anyone quitting weed will generally recover lung function faster and better than someone quitting plain tobacco cigarettes.
Smoking weed in any form offers no magical protection from the development of a smoker’s cough because it’s the smoke damage to your body which is the trigger. In fact smoking pure weed could actually make s smoker’s cough more likely, but on the positive side quitting generally has a more positive long term outcome than a cigarette smoker could expect.