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Pneumonia

marijuana for pneumonia

Medical Marijuana and Pneumonia

Anybody can develop pneumonia, and it’s a common respiratory infection complication. The flu is a common cause of pneumonia, but there are many other reasons you might get the condition. Children, older adults and patients with chronic diseases like asthma and COPD have a higher risk of developing pneumonia. Its symptoms will leave you feeling miserable. Luckily, among other treatments, there’s medical marijuana for pneumonia to help relieve some of the symptoms this infection causes.

What Is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a type of common lung infection that causes inflammation. It often develops in those who have the flu, but bacteria, fungi and other viruses can also precipitate pneumonia. The symptoms of pneumonia can vary, and can range from mild to severe.

What caused your pneumonia, as well as the severity of your symptoms and your overall health and your age, will dictate your treatment. Typically, a healthy individual will recover from the condition within one to three weeks. However, pneumonia can be life-threatening.

You can decrease your risk of developing pneumonia by getting a flu shot once a year. Washing your hands and getting the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine if you’re at high risk can also help prevent pneumonia.

You may develop pneumonia:

  • After breathing in certain bacteria into your lungs from your throat and nose — this tends to happen during sleep.
  • After inhaling infected air particles.
  • After or during a cold, the flu or another viral upper respiratory infection.
  • As a complication of another viral illness, like chickenpox or measles.
  • By breathing large amounts of gastric stomach juices, food or vomit into your lungs. This condition may occur when you have a stroke, seizure or another medical condition affecting your ability to swallow.

pneumonia virus

Even if you’re healthy, your throat and nose can still contain viruses or bacteria causing pneumonia. When these organisms reach your lungs, you can develop pneumonia, since your lungs are susceptible to infection. A cold or even a chronic illness like COPD are good examples of when this could happen.

pneumonia shots

You’re at a higher risk of getting pneumonia if you:

  • Have another type of health condition, particularly a lung disease like asthma or COPD
  • Smoke
  • Are older than 65 or younger than a year old
  • Drink a lot of alcohol
  • Have an impaired immune system
  • Take a proton pump inhibitor like Protonix or Prilosec to decrease stomach acid
  • Recently had the flu or a cold

Types of Pneumonia

The main pneumonia types are classified by:

  • Cause of infection
  • Where the infection was transmitted
  • How you acquired the infection

Types by Organism

The germs causing the infection can also classify pneumonia.

  • Viral pneumonia: Respiratory viruses are common causes of pneumonia, particularly in older people and children. They’re generally not as serious as other types, and don’t last long. Viral pneumonia can spread through the droplets in a cough or sneeze.
  • Bacterial pneumonia: A type of bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common causeof bacterial pneumonia. Other types of bacteria, such as Legionella pneumophila and Chlamydia pneumoniae, may also cause bacterial pneumonia. Like viral pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia can spread to other individuals through coughing and sneezing.
  • Fungal pneumonia: Bird droppings and soil fungi may cause pneumonia in individuals who inhale a lot of these organisms, as well as those with weakened immune systems or chronic diseases. Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia is one type of fungal pneumonia. It affects individuals who have weakened immune systems, like those with AIDS. Sometimes, it appears as the first symptom of AIDS. This type doesn’t spread from person to person.
  • Mycoplasma pneumonia: These aren’t bacteria or viruses, but they do have characteristics of them both. Mycoplasmas typically only cause mild pneumonia cases, usually in young adults and older children.

Types by Location Acquisition

You may also classify pneumonia based on where you acquired it.

  • Community-acquired pneumonia: You get this type of pneumonia outside of an institutional or medical setting.
  • Hospital-acquired pneumonia: HAP is a bacterial pneumonia you acquire when staying at a hospital. It’s more severe than other types, since it often involves antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Types by How You Acquired Them

You may also classify pneumonia based on how you acquired it.

  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia: VAP is a type of pneumonia you get from using a ventilator.
  • Aspiration pneumonia: Aspiration pneumonia occurs when drinks, food or saliva cause you to inhale bacteria into your lungs. You tend to get this type when you have a swallowing problem, or if alcohol, medication or other illicit drugs sedate you.

History of Pneumonia

Formerly called “The Winter Fever,” pneumonia dates back a long time. Around 460 BCE, the Greek physician Hippocrates first described pneumonia symptoms. While it had many names throughout history, people often identified it as a type of sickness.

In 1875, Edwin Klebs, a German pathologist, used a microscope to look at pneumonia bacteria for the first time. Albert Frankel and Carl Friedlander identified a couple of common bacterial causes for the condition in the 1880s.

By the 1930s and 1940s, methods of handling pneumonia included sulfonamide therapy and the antibiotic penicillin. Today, even though mortality rates from pneumonia have decreased nearly 4 percent per year since 1999, it’s still a significant worldwide issue.

Symptoms of Pneumonia

As mentioned, your symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild to severe and depend on your health, age and the germ that caused the infection. With mild cases of pneumonia, your symptoms are similar to those of the flu or a cold, except they last for a more extended period.

pneumonia symptoms

Signs of pneumonia could include:

  • Chest pain when coughing or breathing
  • Changes in mental awareness or confusion in adults 65 or older
  • Fever, shaking, sweating, chills
  • Coughing up phlegm
  • Diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Breathing problems
  • Lower body temperature than normal

Infants and newborns might not show signs of pneumonia, or they might have a fever, vomit, cough or appear tired or restless with no energy. They may also have difficulty eating and breathing.

Effects of Pneumonia

Some individuals with pneumonia, even with treatment and particularly those at high risk, may have complications such as:

  • Difficulty breathing: With severe pneumonia or if you have an underlying chronic lung disease, you might have difficulty getting enough oxygen when you breathe. You might require hospitalization and a ventilator to help you breathe until your lungs heal.
  • Lung abscess: If pus forms in a lung cavity, it can cause an abscess. Antibiotics usually treat abscesses. However, in some cases, other treatments are necessary, including drainage with a long needle, surgery or a tube inserted into the abscess to draw out the pus.
  • Bacteremia, or bacteria in your bloodstream: Bacteria from your lungs get into your blood, spreading the infection to your other organs, possibly causing organ failure.
  • Pleural effusion: In this condition, fluid builds up between lung and chest cavity tissue layers. If it causes an infection, you may require a chest tube to drain it or have it removed with surgery.

Mental Effects

Patients with pneumonia are almost twice as likely to end up with depression or another mental health problem, reports the University of Michigan Health System. Pneumonia isn’t just life-threatening — it’s also a life-altering event for some people. For some people, their diminished quality of life and substantial chronic care requirements are much like heart disease effects. Brain issues can be so extensive they can result in nursing home admissions and disability in older adults.

According to joint research from the University of Washington School of Medicine and University of Michigan Health System, patients who received pneumonia treatment — including those who didn’t need critical care and those who required hospitalization even once in nine years — were more than two times likelier to develop new cognitive problems.

Pneumonia Statistics

Estimates by the American Thoracic Society show:

  • Around 1 million U.S. adults each year are hospitalizedfor pneumonia, and around 50,000 of them die from their illness.
  • Children under 5 make up 120 million pneumonia events each year.
  • More than 10 percent of these cases turn into severe events.
  • Pneumonia is the top cause of death worldwide in children under 5 years old, and accounts for 15 percent of all fatalities of children under 5.

Current Treatments Available for Pneumonia and Their Side Effects

Pneumonia treatment involves preventing complications and curing the infection. If severe, you may require hospitalization. If you have community-acquired pneumonia, you can typically receive medication and treatment at home. While the symptoms tend to ease up in several days or weeks, you can feel tired for more than a month.

Preventing Pneumonia

You may take various steps to prevent pneumonia, such as:

  • Avoid others with infections associated with the risk of developing pneumonia.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Stay clear of individuals with the flu, a cold or another respiratory tract infection.
  • Wash your hands often to keep bacteria and viruses from spreading and leading to pneumonia.
  • Get chickenpox or measles vaccinations, if you haven’t already, and avoid individuals who have these illnesses.

Vaccinations

Children receive a routine pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. People 65 or older, as well as those with chronic respiratory conditions, should get pneumococcal shots too.

While this vaccine doesn’t necessarily prevent pneumonia, it can prevent serious pneumonia-related complications like bacteremia or septicemia — an infection that spreads throughout the body.

Specific treatments depend on the type and severity of your pneumonia, your age and your overall health.

Common Treatments

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics help treat bacterial pneumonia. It could take some time for your doctor to identify the type of pneumonia you have and find an antibiotic to best treat it. Therefore, you may have to take a broad antibiotic initially, and your doctor will switch to another one if needed. Side effects may include vomiting, diarrhea and allergic reactions.
  • Pain relievers and fever reducers: These medications can help with discomfort and fever. Some examples include acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil) and aspirin. Side effects may include stomach pain, loss of appetite, itching and nausea.
  • Cough medicine: Cold medicine suppresses your cough, allowing you to rest. However, you shouldn’t obliterate your cough, since it helps with loosening and moving fluid from your lungs. Over-the-counter cough medications may not even lessen a pneumonia-induced cough. Side effects may include blurred vision, nausea and vomiting and confusion.

You might need to stay in the intensive care unit of your hospital if you have severe symptoms or require a ventilator.

How and Why Marijuana Can Be an Effective Treatment for Pneumonia

Heavy cannabis smokers have more chances of developing lung damage, since the smoke from marijuana has many of the same chemicals tobacco smoke has and is harmful to the delicate air sacs inside your lungs. Smoking small amounts of cannabis hasn’t been proven to increase your chances of COPD.

However, some studies show smoking cannabis or taking THC could have potent human airway-dilating effects. In a study published in the journal Nature, the endogenous cannabinoid anandamide in rodents revealed bronchial response dual effects. It strongly hindered a capsaicin-induced cough and bronchospasm.

You can control coughs in various conditions by targeting upper airway cannabinoid receptors.

Unlike tobacco smoke, which constricts airways, cannabis smoke causes air passages to expand. It also doesn’t lead to central respiratory depression like opiates.

In one study, bronchospasm induced by exercise led to recovery within 60 minutes with placebo marijuana and saline. A solution with around 2 percent cannabis led to an instant reversal of exercise-induced hyperinflation and asthma.

What Side Effects and Symptoms of Pneumonia Can Medical Marijuana Treat?

Medical cannabis for pneumonia can help relieve certain symptoms such as:

Medical cannabis also helps with the inflammation of the small air sacs in the lungs, which is a common symptom of pneumonia.

Best Strains of Marijuana to Use for Pneumonia Symptoms and Treatment Side Effects

Marijuana for pneumonia strains that are low in THC and high in CBD are useful for patients looking for anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory and anti-pain treatment. Some good marijuana and pneumonia strains include:

  • Cannatonic (hybrid)
  • ACDC (Sativa-dominant)
  • Avi-Dekel (Indica-dominant)
  • Great White Shark (Sativa-dominant)
  • Harlequin (Sativa-dominant)
  • Charlotte’s Web (Sativa-dominant)
  • Rafael (Sativa-dominant)
  • Blue Blood (Indica-dominant)
  • Sour Tsunami (Sativa-dominant)

Best Methods of Marijuana Treatment for the Side Effects and Symptoms of Pneumonia

If you have lung problems, you shouldn’t smoke medical weed. Your best bet is to make a whole plant tincture out of a hybrid strain. Place a drop under your tongue twice daily to begin, and increase when needed.

marijuana tincture

Other cannabis for pneumonia treatment methods include:

Edibles are also good, especially when made with good cannabutter. You can make oil using quality grapeseed oil or olive oil.

Let Marijuana Doctors Help You Find Pneumonia Symptom Relief Through Cannabis

Here at Marijuana Doctors, we make it easy for you to begin using medical marijuana for symptom relief. First, you need to obtain a recommendation for medical cannabis and pneumonia treatment from a qualified doctor. You need this to become a medical marijuana patient in any state that has legalized the herb for medicinal purposes.

To get your recommendation, you must first find a medical cannabis doctor using our handy directory. Once you locate a doctor or practice in your local area, you can request an appointment. You can also search our database for a cannabis dispensary.

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This information is not provided by medical professionals and is intended only to complement, and not to replace or contradict, any health or medical advice or information provided by healthcare professionals. If you have any questions, please contact your doctor or other healthcare professional.

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