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Addiction and Substance Abuse

I smoke, but am I okay?

08/03/2006

Question:

I smoke weed and ciggarettes but smoke weed more than ciggs. I don`t smoke ciggarettes that much for it be apart of my daily thing, more like socially. I have been recently congested with a lot mucus and i think it is due to allergies but when i spit my mucus out i sometimes notice charcoal-colored tiny bits within the mucus. This happens sparatically, but i also experience occasional chest pains. Is this somehting i should be concerned about? I`m getting worried but i dont want to work myself up. I don`t know what it is i am spitting out in my mucus and why these chest pains are occuring, but i would like to know what may be causing them and any other information that can be to my benefit. thanks so much and please help!

Answer:

I think that your concern is very well placed. It is NOT normal to spit up mucus regularly, and certainly not normal to have chest pains and black-looking mucus. It is highly likely that this is due to your smoking ... both tobacco and M.J. It is quite common for patients with cocaine addiction who smoke a lot of crack cocaine to have chest pains and black residue in their phlegm, but it is also possible for M.J. / nicotine smokers to have the same thing.

I strongly recommend that you see a doctor to get a chest examination, perhaps an X-ray, perhaps a mucus culture, and probably skin testing for exposure to infections.

I also strongly recommend that you quit smoking - everything. It sounds from your note that you may actually smoke more M.J. than tobacco, but certainly you should quit both. If you have trouble quitting, then please seek counseling! Good luck.

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Response by:

Ted   Parran, MD Ted Parran, MD
Associate Professor of General Medical Sciences
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University