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Revista chilena de enfermedades respiratorias

versión On-line ISSN 0717-7348


ALVEAR T, GONZALO. Reflections about medicinal and recreational use of marijuana and its effects on the respiratory system. Rev. chil. enferm. respir. [online]. 2015, vol.31, n.3, pp.160-169. ISSN 0717-7348.

Marijuana use has increased in Chile in recent years, particularly in teenagers and young people. It seems to be a general perception that its use does not involve great risks. The current discussion on the legalization of marijuana should make the necessary distinction between medical and recreational use of it. There are few indications approved by international health agencies for medicinal use, all of them with synthetic derivatives and oral administration, and countless other indications based mostly on studies with serious methodological flaws. The recreational use of marijuana, in addition to the widely known psychosocial deleterious effects, induce on the respiratory system the onset of chronic respiratory symptoms, airway inflammation and immunomodulatory effects. Depending on the exposure time and amount, use of marijuana has been associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function, development of COPD and lung cancer. Therefore, the recreational use without restriction of this drug could have adverse impact on personal and public health, so then the free use of marijuana should not be recommended.

Palabras clave : Marijuana; cannabis; medical use; recreational use; respiratory adverse effects.

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