Home Health news Connecticut man, 25, almost dies after smoking cannabis in a bong that caused lethal lung infection

Connecticut man, 25, almost dies after smoking cannabis in a bong that caused lethal lung infection

by Editor

A Connecticut man contracted a rare and deadly lung disease after smoking a cannabis bong with water from a garden hose.

The unnamed patient, 25, who suffered a ‘crackling’ noise in his lungs, sought medical help after four days of a ‘vigorous’ cough, confusion, vomiting, and back pain. 

Urine tests revealed the man was suffering from Legionnaires’ disease, a bacterial infection that leads to lung damage and severe pneumonia

The man, who was addicted to cannabis and alcohol, had also gone into sepsis, an immune system overreaction that kills one American every 90 seconds. 

His story, documented by doctors, comes shortly after the Drug Enforcement Administration announced it would downgrade marijuana to a Schedule III drug, classifying it as ‘less harmful’ than previously thought.  

An unnamed man in Connecticut, 25, contracted Legionnaires' disease after inhaling vapors while using a cannabis bong with water from a garden hose

An unnamed man in Connecticut, 25, contracted Legionnaires’ disease after inhaling vapors while using a cannabis bong with water from a garden hose 

Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by the bacteria Legionella, which is found in freshwater environments, showerheads, hot tubs, hot water tanks, and large plumbing systems

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by the bacteria Legionella, which is found in freshwater environments, showerheads, hot tubs, hot water tanks, and large plumbing systems

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by the bacteria Legionella, which is found in freshwater environments like lakes and streams. 

However, it can also grow in human-made water systems like showerheads and faucets, hot tubs, decorative fountains, hot water tanks and heaters, and large plumbing systems that are not cleaned often enough, exposing them to bacteria.

According to the CDC, water containing Legionella can aerosolize, or turn into droplets that people breathe in. And though it’s less common, people can also drink water containing the bacteria, similar to the case study patient. 

Doctors noted the man was delirious and uncooperative. He also suffered a high heart rate and high blood pressure, as well as elevated white blood cells.

GOT A HEALTH-RELATED STORY?

Additionally, the patient suffered from emphysema, which damages the lung’s air sacs called alveoli. 

The doctors treating him believe he contracted Legionnaires’ and sepsis from inhaling vapors while using a cannabis bong with water from a garden hose. 

The CDC reports that most people exposed to Legionella don’t get sick, however some groups are more at risk of disease than others. 

The agency estimates that 8,000 to 10,000 cases are reported every year in the US, though the true number is likely higher, as many cases go undiagnosed. Roughly 15 out of 100 people who get the infection are expected to die. 

Those most vulnerable include people over age 50, current or former smokers, people with chronic lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or emphysema, and people with underlying diseases like diabetes or organ failure. 

The patient was discharged after six days and underwent a two-week course of antibiotics. 

The case was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.  

WHAT IS LEGIONNAIRES’ DISEASE?

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia that causes lung inflammation.

It is caused by a bacterium, known as Legionella.

Around 500 people in the UK and 6,100 in the US suffer every year.

The condition can cause life-threatening complications, including respiratory failure, kidney failure and septic shock, which occurs when blood flow to the vital organs is blocked.

Most sufferers become ill by inhaling tiny water droplets from infected sources, such as shower heads, hot tubs, swimming pools or ventilation systems in buildings.

Anyone can become infected, however, at-risk people include the elderly, smokers and those with suppressed immune systems, such as chemotherapy patients.

Symptoms usually develop between two and 10 days after exposure to the bacteria.

Early signs include:

  • Headache
  • Muscle Pain
  • Fever and chills 

People may then experience:

  • Cough, which may bring up blood
  • Breathlessness
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Confusion 

Treatment is antibiotics, usually in hospital, as soon as possible.

Prevention involves meticulous cleaning and disinfection of water systems.

People can reduce their risk by not smoking as this damages the lungs and makes individuals more susceptible.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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