Cannabis Use and Bleomycin: An Overview and Case Study of Pulmonary Toxicity

Sarah Merkle

Susan S. Tavernier

marijuana, cannabis, pulmonary toxicity, bleomycin, vaping, lung injury, vaporization
CJON 2018, 22(4), 438-443. DOI: 10.1188/18.CJON.438-443

Background: Legalization efforts in many states have heightened awareness of the medicinal uses of cannabis, and oncology nurses are more frequently caring for patients who have used or are using cannabis. Significant epidemiologic data on the prevalence of cannabis use in patients with cancer are not yet available, and not much is known about the effects of cannabis on cancer treatment.

Objectives: This article describes the effects cannabis may have on the lungs, reviews indications for cannabis use in patients with cancer, and explores an atypical case of progressive pulmonary toxicity in a young patient with a history of Hodgkin lymphoma and cannabis use.

Methods: A review of the literature on cannabis-associated lung injury was conducted, with 32 articles selected for full review.

Findings: As cannabis use in cancer care continues to gain support, further research evaluating cannabis use in patients treated with bleomycin is warranted. In addition, the pros and cons of cannabis use must be fully evaluated and discussed with the patient with cancer prior to recommending its use.

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