Can you get lung cancer from smoking weed or marijuana?

lung cancer from smoking weed or marijuana

Lung cancer is a class of cancer that starts in the lungs. The disease begins to spread when cells in the body spread and start to go out of control. Lung cancers often begin in the cells which line the bronchi and other sections of the lung. This includes the alveoli or bronchioles. Later, It might further spread to lymph nodes and more organs of the body. The first signs of lung cancer from smoking include chronic coughing and blood in the cough. Chemotherapy, radiation, palliative care and immunotherapy for lung cancer are some of the most prevalent forms of treatment available for lung cancer. 


Smoking weed or marijuana have their fair share of risks as well as benefits. However, a prominent risk exists in the case of Lung Cancer. Studies suggest that just like tobacco, weed and marijuana have chemicals that can cause cancer. Additionally, any kind of smoke that you inhale, whether it is from a cigarette, or weed or marijuana, it affects and subsequently damages the lungs. Many people also consume marijuana from vaping, which could be a plausible contributor to lung cancer. 

Another way that smoking weed or marijuana can cause lung cancer is by mixing it with tobacco. Most people tend to mix tobacco with marijuana and weed. This increases carcinogen causing a person to have difficulty breathing, which is among the first signs of lung cancer from smoking.  

People also smoke weed and marijuana differently than they smoke tobacco, possibly increasing the chances of endangering their lungs. Usually, weed and marijuana are inhaled more deeply and held in for longer. This gives the toxins increased contact with the lung tissues, and a greater chance to remain there for a much longer period of time, thereby becoming one of the few first signs of lung cancer from smoking. 

Therefore, while marijuana and to some extent, weed, can have medical benefits, they are some of the most common causes of lung cancer in people. 


The two imperative types of lung cancers, both of which have different symptoms and treatments are discussed below:

  1. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC):

Non-small cell lung cancers are the most usual form of lung cancers. It has different subtypes, namely:

  • Adenocarcinoma: these are lung cancers that begin in the cells that generally secrete substances like mucus. This type of lung cancer usually affects smokers, both current and former. However, it is also the most common cancer seen in non-smokers. It is commonly discovered in the outer sections of the lung and can be diagnosed before spreading. 
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma: These start in squamous cells, or flat cells. Commonly, they are found in the line of the airways in the lungs. This type of lung cancer affects smokers. It is present in the central area of lungs, which lies close to the bronchus. 
  • Large Cell Carcinoma: This type of lung cancer can begin in any given area of lungs. It has a propensity to grow. Later it can spread swiftly, which makes it tough to operate upon. 

NSCLC also has other types, such as the Adenosquamous Carcinoma and the Sarcomatoid Carcinoma, which are quite rare. 

  1. Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC):

These lung cancers are less common and affect only a small number of populations. These are also sometimes known as the Oat Cell Cancer. This is a type of lung cancer that expands faster than its counterpart and is likely to spread at a quicker rate. 70 out of 100 people diagnosed with SCLC are likely to have cancer which may have spread already by the time they are examined. 

Since this cancer grows quickly, it responds well to radiation therapy and chemotherapy. However, for most people, there is a huge chance that cancer will return at some point. 

Other types of lung cancers:

In addition to NSCLC and SCLC, there are other tumours that can grow in the lungs. These include:

  • Lung Carcinoid Tumours
  • Adenoid Cystic Carcinomas
  • Lymphomas
  • Sarcomas
  • Hamartomas


One of the very first signs of lung cancer from smoking is a cough that is persistent or gets even worse with time. Coughing up blood or rust-coloured spit/ phlegm, in addition to a chest pain that gets worse with coughing, laughing or breathing deeply are also some of the first signs of lung cancer from smoking.

However, as cancer develops and spreads, these symptoms may increase in severity. While the first signs of lung cancer from smoking vary from person to person, they commonly include:

  • A new cough that remains persistent or gets worse
  • Change in a cough that has become chronic with time
  • Blood in the spit/ cough 
  • Pain in the check, shoulders or back that gets severe while coughing, laughing or breathing deeply
  • Sudden loss in weight 
  • Feeling exhausted 
  • Food aversion 
  • Persistent lung infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Hoarseness or wheezing

Some of the first signs of lung cancer from smoking, that are visible, but less common, are:

  • Swelling in either of the face or neck
  • Feeling of pain when swallowing
  • Changes in the way fingers appear
  • Lumps in the neck or collarbone
  • Chronic headaches
  • The feeling of weakness in limbs


Stage 4 lung cancer is known as the most progressive stage of this cancer. By this stage, the disease has already metastasized. This would imply that it has begun to spread from the originating lung to the other one. It could also implicate that cancer has further spread to various other sections of the body, such as the chest or pericardium. 

This stage of lung cancer is known as Metastatic Lung Cancer and can be found in the other organs as well as in lymph nodes. However, it mostly spreads to the liver, the bones and/or the brain. However, it can be prevented with early diagnosis or the correct lung cancer 3rd stage treatment. 

A lung cancer 3rd stage treatment may include different treatment plans, such as surgery and radiation therapy, to stop it from advancing to stage 4. Some people also undergo immunotherapy for lung cancer. 


The five-year survival possibility for those suffering from 4th stage lung cancer ranges between 1 per cent to 10 per cent. However, this survival rate also depends on the patient’s condition, their treatment and how well they respond to it. 

Most people, when diagnosed, are found to be in the late 3rd stage or early 4th stage of lung cancer. To avoid advancing to the last stage, extreme lung cancer 3rd stage treatment is usually given to patients, which consists of multimodal treatments. These are a combination of treatments to treat or prevent advanced lung cancer. 


If you are a current or former smoker of weed or marijuana, or even tobacco, and have been suffering from chronic cough, see a lung cancer specialist in Delhi. People with an increased risk of getting lung cancer are required to get annual lung cancer screenings done using low-dose CT scans. 

Other tests that may help a person to diagnose lung cancer early are Imaging Tests which may reveal the presence of an abnormal mass or nodule, Sputum Cytology which can sometimes reveal lung cancer cells and the Biopsy of a tissue sample containing abnormal cells. 

Additionally, you must also be vigilant of any physical changes that you are going through, along with checking for any abnormal lumps in the throat or collarbone region. Regular visits to the doctor in case of coughing with blood, extreme difficulty in swallowing and chronic pain is also advisable. Physical changes also form the first signs of lung cancer from smoking. 


The cost of best lung cancer treatment in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi depends on the category of lung cancer which a person contracts. Additionally, the stage of lung cancer also affects the overall cost treatment. The most frequent treatment option for lung cancer embodies either surgery or chemotherapy. However, with recent medical advancements, radiation, palliative care and immunotherapy for lung cancer have also become prevalent.  

While the other forms of treatment for lung cancer have been known to people for quite some time, immunotherapy for lung cancer is a relatively new form of treatment for the disease. It is a revolutionary new therapy where medicines to strengthen the patient’s immune system are given. Subsequently, these medicines help the patient’s immune system to not only protect them but also fight the cancer cells.  The cost of multimodal treatment in Delhi, which includes a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and immunotherapy for lung cancer, may vary between INR 10,00,000 (10 lakh rupees) to INR 30,00,000 (30 lakh rupees) approximately. The total cost is inclusive of hospital care, treatments as well as medicines.

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