Valley Lung Experts on Marijuana Smoking: No Comment

Categories: Medical Weed

lungs art.JPG
Image: www.pot-tube.com
Valley lung doctors won't say whether they've treated pot smokers for chronic lung problems. Does that mean they haven't seen such problems?

Pulmonary Associates, with 15 doctors and six Valley locations, focuses on modern treatment techniques and claims on its Web site to be "in the forefront of our field."

But when asked about the effects of smoking marijuana on lungs, not one of those doctors returned New Times' repeated calls.

Nor was the lack of response on what could arguably be called a growing public health concern unique among Valley respiratory experts.

Following a widely publicized recent study about the reportedly minimal harmful effect of pot smoke on the lungs of users, New Times called several health care facilities for comment.

Our question was simple: Have local lung doctors seen self-admitted pot smokers with chronic lung problems, and if so, what types of problems?

guy smoking joint art.JPG
Image: blog.wheresweed.com
Common sense dictates that Inhaling pot smoke can't be good for you, but a recent study showed that casual users may face no lung-function problems at all.

Not a single doctor dared to respond.

Obviously, marijuana has been smoked in the Valley for decades by untold numbers of people. And now, more than 18,000 people are legally able to smoke marijuana in Arizona because of the successful passage of the 2010 Medical Marijuana Act. The public health issues related to marijuana have never been as acute in Arizona as they are now.

But when we called John C. Lincoln hospital, which touts on its Web site an "advanced interventional pulmonary program," none of its lung doctors had a thing to say about their experience with marijuana smokers.

Susan Fuchs, the hospital spokeswoman, at first said her boss had declined to pass along our question, and she suggested that we call local anti-smoking activist Leland Fairbanks (who doesn't work at John C. Lincoln) for a comment. We pressed her, asking to at least give the lung doctors a chance to respond.

"I've sent inquiries to four of our most active board certified pulmonologists," she later wrote.

None of them called back.

At Scottsdale Healthcare, spokesperson Jamie Houston inquired with pulmonologists and a lung cancer researcher.

"They're not interested in participating," Houston told us a day later.

St. Joseph's Hospital doctors wouldn't talk.

Neither would doctors with the Maricopa Integrated Health System.

"I've been asked not to pursue the story," Elizabeth Krecker, the spokesperson for Tempe St. Luke's Hospital, told us.

Jim McVeigh, spokesman for the Mayo Clinic, says doctors there felt they didn't have enough "data" to comment.

Meanwhile, it took us about 10 seconds today to find a USA Today article in which a Mayo Clinic doctor from New York talks on-the-record about an extremely rare condition in which some people are "allergic" to cold temperatures.

Not enough data to comment, our arse. What's really going on with these local doctors' reticence to talk about marijuana?

Here's our non-expert guess:

Doctors are treating self-admitted pot patients with chronic lung problems, but they don't want to talk about it because they don't care to inform the public about a public health hazard.

Or -- and we consider this the far more likely assumption, especially in light of the recent study -- the doctors are seeing very few, if any, pot smokers with chronic lung problems. But they don't want to talk about that because they don't want anyone to think they're promoting pot.

Either way, the doctors' lack of chutzpah means Arizonans aren't getting the truth about this issue.



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48 comments
ricky
ricky

i dont think docs would gi ve pot t ocancer patients if it was really dangerous n besides anythin dat u overdue can have a sideeffect its not just pot for example iron is great for u but too uch of it makes u very constipated lol so if weed those have one im pretty sure its not deadly

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guestiest
guestiest

It couldn't possibly be that the doctors are busy seeing their patients, is it?  Notice that they never put their email addresses on their websites either.  They're busy.  Even patients have trouble getting to speak to the doc on the actual telephone.  That's why you schedule an appt.  Docs do a good job of getting paid for their time.

AZ FAIL
AZ FAIL

As someone with family members in the medical industry, and working in a related industry myself, I can think of 3 reasons why no doctors will speak up on this issue:

1)  HIPPA, which severely limits how much information doctors can disclose about the patients they treat.

2) Fear that if they discuss the issue, and appear to be pro-pot, they will be blackballed by others in the medical establishment (and there are many; doctors tend to be a conservative lot) who are anti-pot.

3) Fear that if they appear to be pro-pot, they will be deluged by would-be patients seeking medical pot "recommendations." They worry that some of these "patients," frankly, are really not sick and are merely looking for an excuse to get stoned. Others may legitimately need help, but regulations in the state law mean that doctors giving out recommendations will be closely monitored, and punished if they give out "too many." I am told by some in the business that this is already starting to happen; patients seeking medical pot are desperately seeking doctors who will give them a recommendation, because many of their own family doctors are refusing to do so.

Regardless, this whole thing is a fucking joke. Pot should be completely legalized, regulated and taxed just like alcohol and tobacco are. Prohibition is, has been and will always be a huge fucking failure...and I say this as someone who doesn't smoke pot, and has no interest in doing so.

Time to take the puritanistic stick out of our collective ass and grow up.

Expert Shot
Expert Shot

Those who hold slaves are the inferior person - the slave is the morally and ethically superior to the slaveholder.  Do not participate in the slaveholders' system.  Use solar cookers, solar hot water, solar electricity - grow your own garden - share with your neighbors (Freecycle) - eat healthy (vegan if possible) and stop watching TV.  This little rock hurtling around a giant ball of nuclear explosions and plasma gas is not going to care a twit whether you get busted ingesting herbs or not - if the slaveholders do SO WHAT. 

I say FUCK THE SLAVEHOLDERS!  People walk free from your chains, simply WALK FREE. 

Timothy D Little
Timothy D Little

Bunch of pussies, scared to hang their wangs out there so Uncle Sam does not step on it. I am and will always be a supporter of MMJ. I have been able to drop Oxycontin and the SSRI's I was on through diet, exercise and MMJ. Does the MMJ kill ALL the pain..No. But not being on Oxycontin and SSRI's has changed my life. Don't believe the anti MMJ hype.. cause that is all it is.

Erin McNamara
Erin McNamara

Its hard to say what damage pot does on the lungs because a lot of pot smokers also smoke cigarettes. I have a friend that smokes pot every night and gets up and teaches multiple aerobics classes every morning. She said she wouldn't be able to do that if she smoked cigarettes. If you use a vaporizer to smoke weed, the effects on the lungs is minimal, and its even better to ingest it.

anyonebutjoe
anyonebutjoe

This article is HOGWASH.  How about, most people don't tell their doctors about their illegal drug use?  HOw about most people that smoke dope smoke cigarettes?  How about since it's not legal, there really aren't many studies about it, kinda hard to set up a study asking people to admit their illegal drug use.  How about, it's obvious your lack of medical knowledge makes your questions unasnwerable and puts the doctor in a no-win situation. 

Jason
Jason

God made Pot, Man made Liquor, Who do you Trust?

joe.distort
joe.distort

theres lots of misinformation out there... i work with doctors and MICA (the main malpractice insurer for central phoenix) straight up told us that they dont advise any docs to write rxs for medical marijuana as it 'hadnt passed yet'. this was in december.

Hammerhead
Hammerhead

Eating Pot is better anyway. you get twice as stoned when you eat it.

Jason
Jason

Its always a good idea to inhale smoke I thought. when I go camping I always inhale the smoke from the camp fire. are you telling me now thats not good? how come people get checked after a house fire for smoke inhalation or suffer from smoke inhalation but cigarette smokers do not?

Guzzo
Guzzo

Or -- it could be that you're just an idiot looking to stir the shit.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

they also might be "fearful" of stating the obvious.. that arguing that pot causes lung cancer is BULLSHIT since it doesn't appear that the evidence supports that..

Jason
Jason

  EXPERT SHOT whats your email or address or phone number brother neighbor? I want to be your pal and brother and your neighbor and help you save the planet. please leave your info and I will get in touch with you neighbor. PS, this is where the guy turns out to be a fake watch and see. he will not leave any info on himself on here to really become my true neighbor. he is a hypocrite like all the rest. he is an all talk and no action poser.

Jason
Jason

 neighbors wont say hi or wave to you or talk to you at all so how the hell can we share with our neighbors?

Jason
Jason

 go ahead and keep walking free we dont care about you anyway. we do not want you or you kind in this country!

Jason
Jason

 besides your a hypocrite. you still use electricity to power your evil box 666 internet computer and other house hold crap. your a fake and an impostor. and you wear leather and drive a stinky smelling polluting car.

Jason
Jason

 That was all done back in the 1960s and 70s back to the land hippie movement. the only people that live even close to that in 2012 are the Amish. so get over it and move on its a lost cause and people will never be like they were in the 1960s again.

Jason
Jason

Before there was Oxycontin there was Dilidud the lil gold pill of the 1960s 70s 80s 90s for cancer patients about to die. I took plenty of them back in my druggie days. dont forget Demerol it was very groovy to. liquid morphine wasnt bad either or brown mexican herion. when you grow up in the south bronx in new york shitty in the 1960s and 70s you saw it all and you did it all. im lucky to be alive today from my past drug use.

woefatcat
woefatcat

Are you kidding me? Since Pot is illegal there have been no studies? Me thinks you are talking our your ass....

Jameste
Jameste

ok im going to be making some generalizations here. But some OBVIOUS ones. MOST pot smokers are in their teens. Cuz the rest of us grew up and quit smoking that crap. So how many TEENS do you know that have chronic lung conditions? And how many pot smokers do you know that will go to a doctor to spend money on medical care that they would much rather spend on WEED?  

Timothy D Little
Timothy D Little

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” 
― Isaac Asimov

Jason
Jason

 Eating hashish is great to as well as eating fresh picked magic mushrooms.

Jason
Jason

 Eating fresh grown free Arizona desert peyote aint bad either.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

do you even know what smoke inhalation is?

Timothy D Little
Timothy D Little

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” 
― Isaac Asimov

david saint
david saint

jason, good questions, however you are missing one very important element..or elements for that matter.  That being what is being smoked or burned..of course there is a difference between cigarette smoke, smoke from a camp fire, and smoke from a house fire, versus that of weed.  Paint, metal, wood, all are different from that of a plant. 
Besides, there is a difference between weed and cigarettes, with cigarettes being up to 10 times more dangerous for you.  But you would have to assume ALL smoke inhaled is not safe.  

Guest
Guest

Its simple really; smoke from a campfire is natural, whereas house fires are generally burning terribly toxic smoke in a enclosed area.

Guest23
Guest23

Pot meet kettle.

What a moron. Conisdering the recent study it is a completely valid question.

Shooby Doowah
Shooby Doowah

Jason -- then why don't you show him how it's done and list your real name, address and phone number here, bitch, and shut the fuck about how easy it is to find the peyote unless you show the map you stole from your mother showing where it is. You're a lying, senile, bloody raped pig anus, that's all. Other than a fine example of a mental basketcase. 

Jason
Jason

 I have studied pot use and all psychedelic drugs since 1967 myself.

Jason
Jason

 go ahead and generalize everybody else on planet earth does.

teknik1200
teknik1200

FYI most medicinal cannabis users here in AZ are over 40.

Stayin Alive
Stayin Alive

I have to disagree with most pot smokers being in their teens.  I smoke pot everyday and you would never know it. I had a 4.0 GPA in college and grad school, volunteer with the zoo every Saturday, attend church on Sundays, hold down a full-time job. Are those pothead stereotypes?  I think the only thing that pot has done to me is balancing me out. It opens your mind and relaxes you.  What's so bad about that?

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

"Magic" mushrooms aren't as good for you as you think.

Jason
Jason

 OK  thanks for the help. im thinking of trying to stop breathing air all together l but im finding out that not breathing air is not easy to do as a human being.

Jason
Jason

 I was making a stupid joke I was not serious

Jason
Jason

I also love to inhale my own farts, mens underwear, car exhaust, hells angels motorcycle exhaust, my meth pipe and burning toxic smoke. us Asian guys are kind of weird I guess.

Jason
Jason

  I was making a joke I was not serious.

Guzzo
Guzzo

What was your critical evaluation of this "one" study when you read it?

Jason
Jason

 thats cause thats the age your body starts to hurt and rot from old age  and death seeping in slowly and its starts to rot into hell  and then death  then you die off. thats the over 40 medical pot story for real.

Jason
Jason

 so are you saying pot smoking makes one want to work a job, go to church, volunteer, get a 4.0 GPA whatever that is and hang out at the zoo? I hate working I hate church I hate the zoo  and im a high school dropout so college is out of the question. so is there any hope for me in your perfect world?

Jason
Jason

 smoking pot will turn you into your parents. quote from frank zappa 1968

Jason
Jason

 Thats not what Sgt Joe Friday said about pot on Dragnet 1967.

Jason
Jason

 Thats weird, the pot heads down the street from me are in their 50s and 60s and they live in old out dated shitty smelly beat up rvs, campers and vans and they dont work at all and they never shower or bathe and they are all Atheists or Satan worshipers and they are all free love hippie sex swingers who wear tye dye all the time and never change their clothes and they listen to the old grateful dead band and they smell of old sweat and patchouli oil. you must be smoking something besides hippie pot man. do you smoke straight square yuppie christian pot by chance?

Jason
Jason

  I also love to smell my own pits as in arm pits.

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