The respiratory effects of cannabis dependence in young adults.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Aim

To evaluate the relationship between cannabis dependence and respiratory symptoms and lung function in young adults, while controlling for the effects of tobacco smoking.

Setting and participants

Nine hundred and forty-three young adults from a birth cohort of 1037 subjects born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1972/1973 were studied at age 21.

Measurements

Standardized respiratory symptom questionnaires were administered. Spirometry and methacholine challenge tests were undertaken. Cannabis dependence was determined using DSM-III-R criteria. Descriptive analyses and comparisons between cannabis-dependent, tobacco-smoking and non-smoking groups were undertaken. Adjusted odds ratios for respiratory symptoms, lung function and airway hyper-responsiveness (PC20) were measured.

Findings

Ninety-one subjects (9.7%) were cannabis-dependent and 264 (28.1%) were current tobacco smokers. After controlling for tobacco use, respiratory symptoms associated with cannabis dependence included: wheezing apart from colds, exercise-induced shortness of breath, nocturnal wakening with chest tightness and early morning sputum production. These were increased by 61%, 65%, 72% (all p < 0.05) and 144% (p < 0.01) respectively, compared to non-tobacco smokers. The frequency of respiratory symptoms in cannabis-dependent subjects was similar to tobacco smokers of 1-10 cigarettes/day. The proportion of cannabis-dependent study members with an FEV1/FVC ratio of < 80% was 36% compared to 20% for non-smokers (p = 0.04). These outcomes occurred independently of co-existing bronchial asthma.

Conclusion

Significant respiratory symptoms and changes in spirometry occur in cannabis-dependent individuals at age 21 years, even although the cannabis smoking history is of relatively short duration.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Taylor, DR; Poulton, R; Moffitt, TE; Ramankutty, P; Sears, MR

Published Date

  • November 2000

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 95 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 1669 - 1677

PubMed ID

  • 11219370

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1360-0443

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0965-2140

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1046/j.1360-0443.2000.951116697.x

Language

  • eng