• A new study finds that smoking cannabis poses a higher risk for fungal infection
  • The study was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • The young and immunocompromised are at a higher risk

A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests smoking cannabis could cause the development of potentially life-threatening mold and fungal infections, particularly for those considered immunocompromised. Past studies have shown cannabis plants are vulnerable to mold and fungus growth. With these results, the health body is suggesting people should abstain from smoking cannabis or at least learn more about testing results for particular strains they want to purchase.

Contaminated With Pesticides And Mold

The CDC report revealed that cannabis could lead to the development of deadly infections, not from the smoke it generates, but from molds and fungus that grow on its flowers. The study, which was published by the CDC on May 13, builds on past studies in Colorado and California. These past studies found that legal marijuana is contaminated with mold and pesticides. Researchers say it could expose people who have received marijuana prescriptions for medical conditions.

cannabis users have higher risk of fungal infection
cannabis users have higher risk of fungal infection msqrd2 - Pixabay

In the new study, CDC researchers examined 2016 health data from approximately 27 million people in an IBM database. They then scanned it to check whether there is a link to fungal infections and cannabis use.

Fungal Infections More Common Among Cannabis Users

Researchers found 40 of the 53,000 people, or around 0.07%, using cannabis developed fungal infections in 2016 compared to 6,294 of 21 million non-cannabis users, or 0.02%, contracting a fungal infection. While the possibility was very low across the board, the CDC still issued a report about the findings warning that fungal infections were 3.5 times common among cannabis users.

The researchers also said that a marginally elevated risk is still a cause for concern due to the potentially lethal nature of mold and fungal infections. In their findings, the researchers also wrote: “In this large commercially insured population in the United States, cannabis use was associated with a higher prevalence of certain fungal infections.” They added that while such infections are rare, they often result in significant illness and even death, especially in immunocompromised patients.

Young Patients

The CDC study also revealed that those using cannabis and contracted fungal infections are oftentimes young and immunocompromised. In general, cannabis smokers were more likely to report contracting fungal infections compared to the non-cannabis user population. Researchers said this may be because 60% of cannabis smokers they examined used it regularly, thus making them more vulnerable to infections in general.