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Does Vaping Weed Cause Pancreatitis? – Come Find Out!

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Abdominal pain from an adverse drug reaction is perhaps not the craziest idea you’ve ever heard. However following a serum lipase, serum calcium, serum electrolytes, or even a physical exam you may find out these pains are more severe than you first thought?

Does vaping weed cause pancreatitis? Yes! Cannabis induced pancreatitis is common from both smoking and vaping weed cannabinoids, however the severity of pancreatitis developed this way is usually less serious.

Although potentially less painful, cannabis induced acute pancreatitis can lead to acute pancreatitis attacks, and bouts of serious abdominal pain. 

Prolonged use of many illicit drugs can prompt drug induced pancreatitis, which is most typically treated at a hospital by a medical professional. If you believe you are having an adverse drug reaction, ask your doctor for a serum lipase test. 

Serum lipase, among other tests, can help diagnose you if you have gotten cannabis induced AP. An adverse drug reaction can happen with any drug, so it is best to act cautiously. 

If you report to an emergency room with a drug related issue, whether that is cannabis induced pancreatitis or a severe overdose, you will not be arrested. Your safety and life comes first, provided you follow medical guidelines and avoid being belligerent or physical with hospital staff.

Cannabinoid related acute pancreatitis, like other forms of acute pancreatitis, can begin to get better without treatment after a week or more. 

What is Pancreatitis? 

Simply put, pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, a hormone producing gland situated near where your stomach meets your intestine and bowels. 

Severity of pancreatitis can vary, with something like Cerulein induced pancreatitis being more severe and painful, while cannabis induced pancreatitis tends to be acute and more minor. 

Cannabis induced pancreatitis can still result in acute pancreatitis attacks. However, like most drug induced pancreatitis, weed related acute pancreatitis resolves easily with stopping marijuana intake for some time. 

When identifying drug induced acute pancreatitis and full blown pancreatitis, your doctor will typically perform a series of tests on top of a physical exam. 

As well as the previously mentioned, you may be subject to:

  • Serum Amylase (a test of the digestive enzyme present in saliva, specialized in breaking down sugars)
  • Serum Creatinine (a test to measure creatinine levels in your blood, a waste product of muscle exertion)
  • Serum Bilirubin (a test for the yellow pigment found in bile, produced by the gall bladder, which can lead to jaundice in excessive volumes)
  • Serum Ethanol (a test to measure your blood alcohol levels, a fairly routine check for levels of intoxication or alcohol poisoning)
  • Serum Urea (a test of the urea compound produced by the liver from which urine gets its name, a vital compound for the processing and disposal of excess nitrogen)

Other tests you may be subjected to will include:

  • Serum Lipase (a test for the digestive enzyme produced by your intestine, which specializes in the break down of fats or lipids)
  • Serum Calcium (a blood test for the calcium levels in your blood, with excessive amounts leading commonly to weaker bone structure and kidney stones)
  • Serum Electrolytes (a test for various salts and minerals, including potassium, found in your blood which can lead to poor fluid management or blood clots if not maintained to a proper level)

Acute Pancreatitis from Cannabis

So drug induced pancreatitis certainly exists, but all these aforementioned tests are to determine the exact cause of your acute pancreatitis attacks. 

Drug and alcohol consumption, as well as other dietary factors, can all contribute to pancreatitis developing in your body. 

If the tests determine you don’t have drug induced pancreatitis, you may have cerulein induced pancreatitis. cerulein over produces oxygen, which irritates the pancreas and causes it to suffer inflammation. 

Drug induced pancreatitis however can be difficult to discern, as most patients are unwilling to disclose their drug use with a doctor. Even those suffering from acute pancreatitis attacks. 

Consumption of cannabis remains largely illegal, but the cessation of cannabis use can quickly help clear up pancreatitis effects and symptoms if they are minor. 

The diagnosis of cannabis related pancreatitis is usually the result of smoking or vaping weed, as some studies have found CBD and other oral ingestion to be pain relieving for pancreatitis. 

A history of cannabinoid use along with a family history of pancreatitis can aggravate the pancreas, which is as sensitive as any other organ in your body. 

The possibility of cannabis affecting your pancreas is more likely than you may think. For example, smoking weed is often cut with tobacco in the blunt. 

Nicotine is seriously irritant to the pancreas, so the diagnosis of cannabis pancreatitis may result from mixing tobacco into your weed cigarettes. 

Vapor and smoke are also generally irritant, and can easily infiltrate your digestive and respiratory systems. However, determining the exact etiology (cause of symptoms) for pancreatitis is rather difficult. 

Other Side Effects of Consuming Weed

If you have a history of cannabinoid use, then you are likely aware of the common side effects. As well as the possibility of cannabis pancreatitis, you may suffer other medical issues as well. 

Cannabinoids, the active substances of cannabis, lead to the production of excessive mucus even when vaped. On top of this, female cannabis used in hashish powders are more active than most strains. 

This leads to female cannabis (yes, plants also have sex differences) and the active substances of cannabis to affect many different parts of your body. Not all of them are as pleasant as the mind altering calm either. 

The etiology in patients with pancreatitis can include a history of cannabinoid use if previously disclosed, as well as medical histories from the family or recurrent acute pancreatitis. 

A history of diverticulitis (digestive system inflammation) paired with a history of cannabinoid use is usually a dangerous cocktail for medical staff looking at etiology in patients with pancreatitis. 

Etiology in patients who consume cannabis has also been found to have a similar effect to nicotine. Ever had the famous “munchies” after smoking weed?

That’s right, the hungry feeling you get is actually an increased expression of digestive enzymes and proteins, which can overstimulate and irritate the pancreas. Just like nicotine does, although smoking often has the opposite effect of leaving you feeling more full. 

This is why social history plays such an important part in the etiology of patients, as drug habits including alcohol could be serious factors at play in a diagnosis. 

How to Treat Acute Pancreatitis

After assessing the etiology in patients with pancreatitis, treatments can vary. However, for drug related acute pancreatitis the problems will usually resolve themselves. 

You’ll be advised to detox, and abstain from consuming the aggravating drug which inflammed your pancreas to begin with. 

Depending on the diagnostic criteria of your condition, and your country of residence, you may be asked to remain in hospital under observation for up to 48 hours. 

Here your fluids will be monitored and taken care of by medical professionals who are aware of your inclusion criteria, but this is only for those suffering from serious abdominal pains. 

Prescription medications can also be given for pain relief depending on your diagnostic criteria, and whether or not the prescription medication will upset your pancreas further. 

Regularly medications are avoided when treating pancreatitis, but there are also some home remedies you can try out for some effective pain and symptom relief. 

Whether you are a 25 year old patient, a 48 year old patient, or even older, these home style remedies while abstaining from vaping can ease your pain. 

Try and drink a clear liquid such as water, with plenty of potassium (or sodium) to promote the excretion of pancreatic juice. This will also help with constipation, and potassium supplements are often available over the counter.

Protein powder and protein shakes are a good way to put excessive protein enzymes to use in your body, while also sticking to fluids and fitting in much needed nutrition. 

Other Causes of Acute Pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is a disease that occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. The cause of this inflammation can be due to alcohol abuse, gallstones, or other conditions.

It may also occur in people who have had diabetes for some time. Acute pancreatitis is characterized by severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

There may be signs of infection, such as fever and chills. In most cases, symptoms go away within a few days. If they do not improve, however, it may indicate more serious complications.

Chronic pancreatitis is a long-term problem that affects the pancreas. It causes damage to the organ and can lead to scarring. 

High levels of cholesterol or certain infections, certain medications, getting too little iron or potassium, excessive alcohol consumption, having a pacemaker, having a high body mass index (BMI), or even a family history of diabetes are all risk factors for pancreatitis. 

Which Strains of Weed are Better or Worse?

Pancreatitis sufferers who are suffering from pain and inflammation are always happy for any kind of relief. You may be able to take certain medications to relieve pain, but they may come with some harsh side effects.

Pancreatitis patients who use cannabis can experience relief from their symptoms without any of the risks associated with traditional treatments.

Medical cannabis is safe for patients with pancreatitis to use. However some patients should exercise necessary safety measures, depending on their personal circumstances.

For example, if some one is suffering lung issues, they might think about ingesting medical cannabis orally in the form of tinctures or edibles, rather than breathing in the substance through the nose.

If you suffer from pancreatitis, you should always take your cannabis orally rather than smoking or vaping it. 

As previously discussed, vaping or smoking can irritate your pancreas with, well, smoke and vapor. 

CBD oil tablets are our suggestion, a great way to get the pain relief of cannabis without risking further damage or issues with your pancreas. 

Popular in states with legalized marijuana, gummies containing CBD may be an option you consider. However, we do not recommend these if you suffer from pancreatitis. 

The high sugar content in many CBD gummy candies can upset your pancreas and digestive system, especially depending on the results of your blood tests. 

That Serum Amylase we mentioned? If your body doesn’t produce enough Amylase to digest the sugar, it will go right to the pancreas and start to cause some pain. 

If you want to avoid pancreatitis related attacks of sharp abdominal pain, stick to oil tablets where possible, and exercise serious caution with any other cannabis treatments. 

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Ryan Hamilton

Im Ryan, a Medical Cannabis Activist & Blog Owner @ MyDryHerb.com. I started the blog as a medium to answer questions and grow the awareness of the herb. Along with the medicinal properties, cannabis can help grown the economy with its vast amount of taxable finances. Less violent properties than alcohol, cannabis legalisation is inevitable.

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