Dear Stoner: Can Lungs Heal Themselves When You Quit Smoking?

Dear Stoner: Can Lungs Heal Themselves When You Quit Smoking?

Dear Stoner: I’m thinking about quitting smoking flower. I’ll probably eat edibles, but I want my lungs to stay healthy. Will they heal themselves if I quit?
J.R. Huff ’n’ Stuff

Dear J.R.: Good for you, man. As much as I love consuming cannabis and all that it does, there’s no way around the effects of smoke on lungs after years of use, so I commend you for even considering the idea. According to the American Lung Association, the dangers of marijuana smoke include chronic cough, phlegm production, wheezing and acute bronchitis. The first three are likely to gradually disappear in the weeks, months and years after you quit smoking, but if you get chronic bronchitis or emphysema, then you’re stuck for life. If your lungs and the air sacs in them aren’t completely forsaken, though, they could slowly regenerate and eventually filter out all of the tar — so don’t be surprised if you continue to cough for a little after quitting.

A study done in 2005 for the Harm Reduction Journal and National Center for Biotechnology Information found that while marijuana smoke contains carcinogens and toxins that are certainly bad for your lungs and can cause the conversion of respiratory cells to a pre-cancerous state, there’s no connection between cannabis and lung, colon or rectal cancers. If you’re patient enough for edibles, though, your lungs will thank you in the future!

Dear Stoner: I’m thinking of doing some biking and camping in western Colorado this summer, probably the Fruita area. Can I buy weed there? If not, where should I stop to stock up?
Mick Trickle

Dear Mick: Pretty sweet to be able to drive to Fruita in less than half a day, isn’t it? But even though that town will let us enjoy its trails, that doesn’t mean it will sell us pot. Although communities on the western side of Colorado are much cooler than those on the eastern side when it comes to recreational sales (and you don’t hear Arizona and Utah bitching, do you, Nebraska and Oklahoma?), Fruita, Grand Junction and unincorporated Mesa County all ban retail pot shops. Fortunately, I-70 has a healthy helping of towns along the way that allow pot sales. Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Silt, Parachute and DeBeque are all on the way to Fruita and have retail stores, and Palisade has a medical-only dispensary. It’s not like you’re leaving the state, though, so why not just stock up in Denver before making the drive?

Have a question for our Stoner? E-mail marijuana@westword.com or call the potline at 303-­293-­2222.


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