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The Effect of Combined Tobacco and Marijuana Use on Pulmonary Function: A Pilot Study

Institution: University of California, San Francisco
Investigator(s): Salomeh Keyhani,
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 29) Grant #: T29IP0511 Award: $586,820
Subject Area: Pulmonary Disease
Award Type: High Impact Pilot Award

Initial Award Abstract
Marijuana is legal in some form in 30 states and Washington DC. Use of all forms of marijuana is increasing among US adults. Smoking remains the most common form of marijuana used. The increasing rates of smoking marijuana among US adults raises concerns about the combined effect of smoking tobacco and marijuana on lung health. Little is known about the effects of marijuana on lung health; however, marijuana smoke contains particulate matter known to be detrimental to lungs. Marijuana smoke like tobacco smoke also causes inflammation in the lung. As such, it is possible that combined tobacco and marijuana use accelerates lung damage. Data is insufficient on this topic as previously studied populations have not been representative of regular marijuana users. We are proposing a pilot study among Veterans in Northern California. The purpose of this pilot study is to develop the tools and test the methods that can be used to develop a larger cohort study that will examine the association of combined marijuana and tobacco use on health. In this pilot study, we propose to 1) develop an algorithm that will identify Veterans who have used both tobacco and marijuana using VA data; 2) develop a reliable questionnaire to measure lifetime marijuana use; and 3) test our study participant recruitment methods. We will identify Veterans using an algorithm we will develop for this study, recruit eligible participants using a recruitment letter, complete a telephone interview, and invite eligible participants for the pulmonary function testing. This pilot will inform a larger study on the effects of combined lifetime use of tobacco and marijuana on lung health and will be useful to researchers, public health officials, physicians and the general public.