Study Shows Link Between Marijuana Use and Pediatric Asthma

If you are an adult marijuana user with children at home, a new study recently published in the Preventive Medicine journal is one you might be interested in. It shows a link between adult marijuana use and pediatric asthma in homes where adults smoke marijuana.

Researchers suggest that the link may be due to children being exposed the second-hand smoke. It makes sense. If second-hand tobacco smoke is harmful to people exposed to it, why would we expect anything different from marijuana smoke?

Millions of Children with Asthma

The CDC estimates that approximately 6 million children live with pediatric asthma. In addition, nearly 17% of them are forced to visit the emergency department every year for an asthma-related incident. One out of every 20 in that group ends up being hospitalized.

We know the types of things that trigger asthma in people prone to the disease. Smoke is just one of them. Allergies, pet dander, and even pollutants in the air can all be triggers. The question is whether second-hand smoke from marijuana can cause otherwise healthy children to develop pediatric asthma.

Just a Link for Now

It is important to note that the research linking marijuana use to pediatric asthma does not establish cause and effect. At least for now, the findings only show a link. Future research could determine that marijuana smoke simply triggers asthma in kids who already have the disease – whether it was previously diagnosed or not.

Further research could also determine that the link is a casual one, which is to say it is coincidental. The two conditions are completely unrelated to one another. But given what we know about smoke’s ability to trigger asthmatic symptoms, a casual link is unlikely.

Other Ways to Use Marijuana

Parents with children still in the home should be aware that there are other ways to use marijuana. Smoking is the preferred method because it delivers the effects of the drug nearly instantly. But are the risks of first- and second-hand smoke worth taking?

The operators on the Pure Utah medical cannabis dispensary in Payson, UT say there are three other ways to use marijuana products and still enjoy nearly instantaneous effects:

  • Vaping – Vaping involves inhaling an aerosol rather than smoke. Users still get the THC into their bloodstreams as quickly as possible without having to produce or inhale smoke.
  • Dry Heating – Dry heating involves heating marijuana plant material to a temperature high enough to release the desired constituents without burning said material.
  • Tinctures – A tincture is a concentrated oil that is consumed by placing a drop or two under the tongue. THC makes it to the bloodstream almost as quickly as with inhalation.

Marijuana users can also make use of edibles, pills and capsules, and topical products. Products in each of these three categories are slower to deliver THC’s effects, but they still work.

Be Cognizant of the Smoke

If you are a marijuana user with children at home, it is up to you whether you switch to another delivery method. Just help your kids out and be cognizant of the smoke should you choose to continue the practice. Exposing kids to second hand smoke is probably not good for them.

In the meantime, expect further research that either reinforces or contradicts the data in the just published study. That is the way science works. We will eventually know if the discovered link is casual or real. And if it is real, we should know soon enough if marijuana smoke causes pediatric asthma or just triggers it.

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