Weed harmful to your immune system?

Discussion in 'Medicinal Marijuana' started by Big God, Jun 20, 2001.

  1. Big God

    Big God Guest

    Today my main toking buddy has an apparent sinus infection and he has come to the conclusion that all the weed we have consumed in the past has started to affect his immune system...

    Now, has anyone ever heard of this? anyone have any facts I can use here? Could it be possible or is he just a dumbass?

    and yes I know moldy weed and the sort can affect your sinuses but that isnt the issue...
  2. HappyMan

    HappyMan Subscriber

    When you pass a pipe or joint you also pass germs.....your friend probaly picked it up from somone else. When I was in college the flue ripped through the smoking community...yuck.
  3. Bailey1138

    Bailey1138 Senior Member

    Same thing happened with my friends, we had a cold we passed around for like 3 months. Soon as someone would start to get better, someone else would get sick.
  4. deadhed

    deadhed Guest

    I believe that, while still psychoactive, marijuana does have an immunosuppressant effect, but this goes away once the THC is metabolized. Correct me if I'm wrong.
  5. Harleyman

    Harleyman Guest

    immune system

    I'm not a DR., but I have read some posts and articles the past couple weeks about people using marijuana to help ease the suffering associated with AIDS with excellent results.
    It increased their appetites, helped with nausea, helped decrease lethargy and a couple other things and in turn it upped their cell count in their blood. Sorry I can't remember what it's called, but in AIDS patients this goes up and down and when they go down it's very bad for them.
    AIDS is an immune deficiency and some of the articles I have read it was DR's. offering the praise of it so I would think that it wouldn't.
    As far as a passing around a cold or the flu that is true as with any germ, but when you have a respiratory infection, smoking anything will hinder your recovery due to it helping to keep the mucous accumalating in your lungs.
  6. Greenman

    Greenman Seasoned Activist

    There are alot of other factors that go into the strength of an immune system at any given point, including diet, sleep, stress level, activity level etc etc. While marijuana I am sure is not good for your immune system, I believe that any effects that it does have are dwarfed by those other factors that I mentioned, and certianly marijuana does help with a persons stress level, as well as their emotional outlook on life, which can be a huge booster to the immune system.

    I think this is one of those questions where there is not a simple yes or no answer. It depends entirely on the person and their individual habits. Marijuana, or the inhalation of smoke, is not good for the body by any means. But there are some benifits to smoking pot that can help to counterbalance these heath side effects.

    For example, what if THC or the other cannibinoids were not the compounds responsible for any immune system weakening, but rather the other compounds that are formed by the burning smoke? If that were the case, then the potency of weed will be a large variable, smoking much more potent weed means you burn less plant matter to get the same effect. There would be less of these harmful compounds entering your body, and therefore much less damage is done than smoking schwag. Even though you get just as high both times.

    From my own personal experience? I haven't been to the doctor's office for an illness but once since I began smoking pot. Prior to that point, I was sick with strep throat EVERY year around September. I am not going to say that pot boosted my immune system to the point where I just don't get sick, but rather that pot really dampens the "sick" feeling where I don't really notice that I am sick unless I get REALLY sick. Since I don't use antibiotics, my body must defend itself against infections. In short, my immune system gets a lot of practice, and I believe it is strong for that reason.

    I think treating every single sickness with antibiotics does more "damage" to the immune system than any amount of pot will do, because the immune system never has to contend with a full blown illness. What would happen if you got sick with a strain of virus that is immune to antibiotics? The only defense you have is your immune system, which has been weakened by a lack of practice....

    Don't get me wrong, doctors have their place. And America has the best acute medical system in the world. But just because we have it, doesn't mean we must use it. If your really sick, then go to the doc. There are illnesses out there that must be treated medically or you can die or be seriously crippled. But going to get some pennicillin every time you have the sniffles is stupid, and only makes the problem worse. Nature works with viruses as well, And over perscribing antibiotics has created several strains of super-viruses that can kill a man and are immune to all but maybe one or two antibiotics. Survival of the Fittest. We kill off all the weaker ones, leaving only the strong resistant ones to breed an make more strong resistant viruses. Doctors are like everything else, use but don't abuse.

    Just my thoughts.

  7. Harleyman

    Harleyman Guest

    Immune system

    Sounds like a winner to me. You make a lot of since and some excellent points.
  8. TIMedWork

    TIMedWork New Member

    Interestingly, I found this Harvard publication on the subject. It appears, according to the research by the authors, that cannabis lowers the T-cell count and suppresses the immune system. It appears to hurt many of those it is prescribed to help. Cancer patients, organ transplant patients and AIDS patients are all needing strengthened immune systems, yet the opposite occurs with weed use. Similar results are published my the Mayo Clinic research team.
    Personally, I used it, hoping to lower blood pressure, as this is stated as a benefit from THC and cannabinol. However, the next morning my BP was as high as it was when I first sought medical help, a complete reversal of months of previous therapy which has succeeded in lowering my BP by 40 points.
    Prompted by this effect in myself, I researched and discovered that cannabis use also significantly increases the heart rate, a factor in hypertension associated with heart attacks and strokes. And though it does in many, relax the arterial walls (vasodilation), it has shown to increase the rate of heart attack by 400% in some users, even as young as 22 y.o. in the case studies cited.
  9. 5drive

    5drive Slacker

    Harvard huh? Here's my personal publication. I've been using mj regularly for 2 of those 22 year old lifetimes, and I've had the flu once as an adult and been out of work only a handful of days otherwise. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh foods and getting regular exercise has made, by far, the biggest difference for me in staying healthy and being able to kick colds in a hurry.

    If chronic long time mj use compromises your immune system to a significant degree, it didn't work on me. IMO a healthy lifestyle (you really are what you eat) is much more important than whether you use mj or not.

    If you're really concerned and feel you're less healthy when smoking, then stop. I will say that my lungs, likely due to childhood asthmatic bronchitis, got to the point where they protested smoke some years ago, and I switched to vaporizing, which is much easier on the lungs. Smoke, of any kind, is not good for your lungs.
  10. TIMedWork

    TIMedWork New Member

    I suppose the problem with the clinical tests and studies by recognized researchers and universities is that they use too many subjects and trained professionals, with degrees in clinical research and medicine, to derive an average result. I am sure that the goofballs at Harvard used a lot of test subjects. This always leads to confusing conclusions. Using the results of one person is always easiest. Your good health is a blessing that I am sure you appreciate.
    I just found this crazy study where the fools (doctors and clinicians) used 50,000 subjects over a period of 20 years. Not sure what they were thinking with that one.

  11. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    If the article you site had come out of Harvard's medical school with a doctor's name on it, it would have much more value than something published anonymously by someone in the law school. Negative effect on the immune system is one of many proposed but not supported reasons to not use marijuana, just another bit of Reefer Madness.

    A lot of people get sinusitis or throat infections after smoking. Anything that irritates the mucous membranes opens the way to infection. This is a much more likely explanation than some kind of general impairment of the immune system.

    If you look closely at the study indicating a 400% increase in heart attacks, you'll not that this is in the first hour after smoking. If you have coronary artery disease, you probably shouldn't be smoking (or having sex or running around the block). Otherwise, a 400% increase of a highly unlikely occurrence is still highly unlikely. What are an otherwise-healthy person's chances of having a heart attack in any given hour?
  12. TIMedWork

    TIMedWork New Member

  13. TIMedWork

    TIMedWork New Member

    Buzzby, you make some interesting observations. And so, you got me thinking ...and looking for answers.
    ""If the article you site had come out of Harvard's medical school with a doctor's name on it, ""The heart attack study, led by Dr. Murray Mittleman of Harvard Medical School, followed nearly 4,000 heart attack survivors for up to 18 years to investigate any patterns between marijuana use and heart attack patterns. Among the participants, 109 had smoked marijuana at least once in the year before they were hospitalized. Most were in their 40s and 50s; none of those over age 63 had used marijuana.

    Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/08/marijuana-linked-to-increased-stroke-risk/#ixzz2coXDwNUI
    "Content provided by the Mayo Clinic" :http://www.riversideonline.com/health_reference/Articles/GA00014.cfm
    "smoking marijuana poses several health risks, including:
    ◾Impairment of thinking, problem-solving skills and memory
    ◾Reduced balance and coordination
    ◾Increased risk of heart attack
    ◾Heightened risk of chronic cough and respiratory infections
    ◾Potential for hallucinations and withdrawal symptoms

    Also, marijuana smoke contains 50 percent to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke and has the potential to cause cancer of the lungs and respiratory tract. Marijuana smoke is commonly inhaled deeper and held longer than is tobacco smoke, increasing the lungs' exposure to carcinogens.
    These risks should be taken into account when considering the use of marijuana for medical purposes. If you are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms or side effects of medical treatment, especially pain and nausea, talk to your doctor about all your options before trying marijuana."
    Also this: "NIDA reports that smoking weed drastically increases heart rate by 20 to 100 percent. This increase in heart rate can last up to three hours. Also, according to NIDA, one study found that smoking marijuana increased the incidence of heart attack almost fivefold. Smoking weed also may cause the heart to beat irregularly. Research has shown a definite link between heart disease and smoking marijuana. A study by S Jayanthi and colleagues from the **National Institutes of Health on May 13, 2008 in the journal "Molecular Psychiatry" demonstrated the first link between smoking marijuana and heart disease.** The researchers tested blood from multiple marijuana users and showed that they had high levels of a protein that is a proven risk factor for heart disease.

    Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/87790-bad-effects-smoking-weed/#ixzz2coc5gQZ3
    AS I said, you make some interesting points. Not being personally opposed to marijuana use, and having started using it, myself, in the 60's, I have seen the plant evolve into strains of increasing potency. While in my 20's I had an 'unlikely' experience with weed while smoking with friends. I thought it was just my imagination that my heart seemed to be pounding like a drum, until my friend noticed that he could see my heart beating in my chest. I have long been in excellent health with lower-than-usual blood pressure, and 4-5 times weekly sessions in weight training at the gym; and at my physical when I turned 50, the doc laughingly said, "Usually, to men of your age, I would say come back once a year. But you have the body and physiology of a 26 year old. Don't see me again for 10 years." Though his judgment may have been questionable, the test results were not. And it was a full battery of test of every kind. Only within the last few months have I developed hypertension, most likely related to circumstances. So, plainly, as a libertarian by personal philosophy, as I am open to adults making their own choices, I think that an honest discussion should have all of the facts, and not a bias towards one point of view, one which is rarely supported by clinical research, but more by anecdotal and personal experience and opinions. I have found that the greatest number of clinically observed participants usually increases the veracity of any analysis.

    As you said, the unlikely is and will be, unlikely. So I pondered, "Air travel is by far, the safest form of all common travel means. The probability of dying in an airplane crash is miniscule. So, if an airline advertised international flights of 6-8 hours to reach destinations of the Netherlands and the like, on which flights, marijuana use was allowed and encouraged, being offered along with the usual refreshments, would I take that flight if it came with a known 400% increased probability of crashing during the first 1-3 hours, due to excessive strain on the engines. Crashing is highly unlikely and therefore will remain, highly unlikely" The jury, for me, is still out on that hypothetical.
  14. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    Why didn't I think of that?
  15. TIMedWork

    TIMedWork New Member

    LOL.. I just checked and my very thorough reply with links and footnotes is STILL awaiting moderation. I am sure you will glad to see it if/when it ever arrives

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