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British Lung Foundation
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Respiratory irritation, very worried!

Hi everyone. I am new here and very worried. I have quite a few chronic health issues( Interstitial Cystitis which is a vert painful bladder disease, Chronic Gastrointestinal issues, Fibromyalgia, chronic Fatigue Syndrome). Last month my doctor suggested I try medical cannabis for my severe bladder pain. I ended up trying something called Cannabis oil through a vape pen. that I purchased at a medical cannabis dispensary. I have never done this before in my life so when I bought the stuff I asked the person at the dispensary to explain to me how to use the device. Well unfortunately he gave me the wrong instructions. He said to take a nice breath in and hold a few seconds. Well I immediately starting coughing and it felt like someone poured hot acid down my chest and in my throat. it was so awful. I thought I was going to die. The burning in my chest and in my throat was just terrible. This was on a Sunday( May 15th). I called the dispensary right after the whole incident and told them what happened. The guy said I took too big of a hit and apologized saying that the other person who sold me the stuff should have told me to take a Small puff since the cannabis oil is concentrated. He said I should feel better after a few hours. Well it took 2 days for me to start feeling better. Then on the fifth day I felt bad again. I felt burny and irritated in my upper chest and throat and felt like I had that feeling of having to cough all the time. I ended up going to the ER and they did a chest x-ray and checked my oxygen and said they were both fine. The doctor said he believed I had aspiration Pneumonitis. He said basically I was just very irritated from inhaling the cannabis oil and that it was similar to aspirating liquid into the airway. He said it should get better after a few days. After about 4 to 5 days I felt a lot better and eventually felt back to normal for the last two and half almost three weeks. Well last night I had something in my throat that made it tickle and I coughed some. You know when you feel like you have that tickle in your throat that makes you cough. Well now I am all irritated in my upper airway again. I feel like I did before with the constant feeling like need to cough and a little burny inside.

I had no respiratory issues at all before I took that one puff from the Cannabis oil vape pen. I am terrified that somehow doing that one hit of the medical cannabis oil vape pen that it permanently damaged my lungs some how. I have a very good friend who also has the same bladder disease I have( Interstitial Cystitis). She however also got Bronchiolitis Obleritans about a year and half ago. She said out of the blue she got a dry cough that just escalated. At first they said she had Asthma but the treatments for that did not help her. Then they told her she had COPD and when she explained that she never smoked a day in life they retracted that diagnosis. All the while she was getting progressively worse. Well within 6 months she ended up at Mayo Clinic and was finally dx with Bronchiolitis Obleritans and told she needed a lung transplant. They were not exactly sure how she got it, but said it may have been a medication she had taken, but called hers idiopathic. She ended getting the transplant a year ago and is doing pretty well right now thank God. I of course I am terrified that from inhaling the medical cannabis from that Vape pen that one time, that it may have damaged my lungs. How common is Bronchiolitis Obleritans? Could inhaling pure cannabis oil from a vape pen one time( a too big of a hit due to the person at the dispensary giving me the wrong instructions on how to use the device) cause irreparable damage? I mean it has been a month since the whole incident. I mean like I said, I felt back to normal the last two and half to three weeks and then last night I guess I got a tickle in my throat and it caused me to cough a bit and now today I do not feel good again in my upper chest and feeling like I have to cough all the time again. Not sure what to think. Do you think using a cannabis oil vape pen could have caused me permanent damage or could I be developing BO from that?? I am so worried. Any advice would be appreciated.

10 Replies

Even tho you have quite a lot going on a think STREES and your other issue could be making you worry that's why chest is tight.

If your coughing a lot try sip of water .. Fire men breath in a lot worse am sure also as to aspiration Pneumonitis COOKs tend to suffer that who are in kitchens quite a lot with inadequate vetalation extraction.

Am sure if you had boop or aspiration Pneumonitis think you would have more than a caugh or a tickle in throat.

Myself I would worry if you could hear crackling poping from your lung from fluied buld up ... If this none of that ad try not to worry

Hope you feel better soon and throat settles


Thank you for the reply and advice I appreciate it. My only worry is that it has been a month since I did that puff from the cannabis oil vape pen and had the aspiriation pneumonitis and I was good for over two and half weeks. Then get this tickle in my throat last night from whatever and it caused me to cough some and today I feel awful again like I did three weeks ago. I would think that irritation from a month ago would have healed up completely by now, at least I think it should have. I guess it makes it worse that I saw what my friend went through with the Bronchiolitis Obleritans and undergoing a lung transplant and it scares the hell out of me and gets me thinking the worst and that is not helping. That and because I directly inhaled that cannabis oil into my lungs with that pen so I am just praying I did not do some kind of permanent damage. I guess I will give it a few days and hope it calms down.


Morning Ihurt

I was instantly alerted by your post as I have OB, (BO) not 100% confirmed but very likely. I think it is too early to diagnose it in your case. But unfortunately it can happen with one toxic inhalation. However, I think that what is happening with you is that you are --- unsurprisingly --- very concerned about it because of your friend. OB is difficult to diagnose. If you are at a the acute stage of OB then steroids could well help. The diagnostic tests for OB are an obstructive disease in the small airways showing on spirometry and total lung function tests. Chest X-Ray's and conventional CT will not show much. High Resolutioon CT could show airtrapping. Chronic OB is resistant to steroids and bronchodilators. My feeling is that it is too early to know which way it is going. I do hope you have good doctors.

All the best and let us know how things develop.

K xxxx

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Thanks Katinka46 for the reply. I am just terrified that I am going to develop OB or something worse from this. You are right, it does not help that my friend had OB and I seen what she went through. I had a spirometry test like 5 days after it happened and it was normal at the time, but again it was only 5 days after the incident. Does your doctor know what is causing your issue? If they think you have BO, did they say what they think has caused it? Yeah, from all I have been reading the only way to diagnose BO is through an open lung biopsy. They had to do that to my friend. I think it is because a lot of lung issues have the same symptoms. I mean they diagnosed her with asthma, then COPD etc. She ended up having to go to the Mayo Clinic to get a diagnosis. They dont even know what caused hers, but they said maybe a medication. I know she had to take antibiotics a lot due to UTI's she was dealing with due to the Interstitial Cystitis. One of the meds she was on was Macrobid which I read can cause serious lung disease. Her doctors though do not know what caused her BO really though.

My main symptoms right now is this itchy and burny feeling in my upper chest, like my throat and my windpipe and I get the feeling like I have to cough. It felt better when I slept last night but as soon as I get up and start moving around it starts getting worse again. What is odd is I felt actually perfectly normal the last almost three weeks then had that tickle in my throat the other night and boom, I am irritated again. Of course my mind is thinking the worst. I have anxiety as it is due to my other health issues and that is not helping matter :(


Hello again. I am not ignoring you and will reply more fully very soon. Just done the tiniest bit of gardening and now need to sit, recover and have a cup of tea. I am very happy to tell you my story.

I'll be in touch very soon. Promise!!!

K xxx


Thank you Katinka46!


Right here goes. I warn you it is a long tale. Where in the States do you live? It is now five to twelve in Seattle, but I don't know whether that is midnight or noon! First I want to stress to you that BO or OB is very uncommon if not rare. Statiscally for two friends to get it is not very likely. However, I am someone who always wants to know everything. The good, the bad and nightmarish. My case is odd. It all started six and half years ago; I had a hip replacement op and got PEs, (blood clots in the lungs). Shouldn't have happened. I was not given adequate preventative medicine and I had told the surgeon there was a history of thrombosis in the family. A long story. But the clots themselves were unusual: extensive, multiple and bilateral. i.e. throughout both the lungs and lots of tiny ones. It took four and half years to get a diagnosis of chronic thromboembolic disease. At which point it became obvious that there was also a worsening obstructive disease in my airways. But because I had had asthma since I was seven every doctor assumed it was asthma and tried every bronchodilator and steroid to remedy it. I kept telling them that it wasn't asthma. (After 57 years I think I should know!) 18 months ago I was passed onto to my current respiratory consultant (Pulmonologist to you) who is brilliant. AKA as the LLC (Lovely Lung Consultant). He cannot say for certain that it is OB because he and one of his colleagues who is involved in my case are not at all keen to do the open lung biopsy, (10% risk of death!). But I am convinced I have OB. In my case I believe that what happened was that the blood clot damage in the tiny blood vessels caused damage to the small airways. This is very similar to what can happen with lung transplants: in those cases the disruption to the blood supply to the small airways during the transplant damages the bronchioles, (small airways) and the subsequent repair process ends up with fibrosis (scarring) round the bronchioles. For some weird reason the lungs do not know when to stop doing their mending thing. It may not be a good idea to tell your friend about what can happen after lung transplant. But anyway she does seem to be over any chance of that. I sounded out one of the consultants on my theory of how it happened and he agreed with me!!!

So, as I explained originally, I have not got a 100% dx.

It is very early days for you. And you had no previous lung problems. Bodies are very good at sorting things out and getting better on their own. I think it is very likely that this will happen to you.

Do let us know how it works out.

Kate xxx


Wow, I am so sorry you have went through all of this! What a nightmare. I can totally understand about doctors being frustrating. I have other health issues that are chronic and have seen loads of doctors( some where I knew more about my disease than the doctor did which is sad). I guess having a friend who had BO, it is scary as the mind goes right there. She did mention that transplant could cause BO. She knew that before even getting the transplant. She said the transplant teams tell you everything that can happen afterwards. Thankfully she is doing good right now and it has been a year, well actually a little over a year since her transplant. She has to have bronchoscpies every 3 to 6 months to check for organ rejection.

This is crazy though. I mean I felt back to normal for almost three weeks and then I get a tickle in my throat that makes me cough and I am miserable again. I ended up going to the ER this past Friday as I felt horrible. The doctor there listened to my lungs and said everything sounded clear. He also said he wanted to do another chest-x ray just to see if there was any changes from when I was at the ER last month a few days after the whole incident happened. The chest x-ray was clear again. He said he wanted to make sure no infection set in as sometimes that can happen after aspirating chemicals into the lungs. So he really could not tell me why I am feeling this constant itchy feeling in my throat now that makes me feel like I Have to cough all the time. He said it might be superficial irritation but he was not sure. My throat actually itches like a hive would itch and it is causing this constant sensation that I need to cough. I do cough, but they are like mostly dry small coughs. I cannot tell it the itchy feeling is coming from my windpipe or my throat. It is very annoying and also is making it irritated in there as well. My thought is if there could be a infection in just the windpipe? Like a fungal and bacteria infection caused by aspirating that cannabis oil. I dont think they would see an infection in the windpipe on chest x-ray. I asked the ER doc about it and he said he felt with an infection of any kind there would likely be fever and he would hear something like wheezing or cackles when he listened with the stethoscope. I do not know what to think. I mean It is weird that I felt normal for almost three weeks after the whole incident and a tickle in my throat that caused me to cough this past Wednesday night would set all this off again.

Sorry my post is so long, I am just worried. The ER doc mentioned seeing an ENT doctor if it does not let up. I am not sure what my ENT doctor would be able to offer, especially if this is in my windpipe. I think they only deal with the ears, nose and throat.

I am sorry you had to go through all that with the PE"s! That is scary. PE's are very serious. I am surprised your doctor when you had the surgery did not give you preventative therapy to reduce risk of blood clots right after your surgery, I mean you told him you have a family history of clots. I know my MIL had her knees replaced and they had to put her on blood thinners for a bit right after the surgery.

I am like you, I have researched all there is to know about my other illnesses. I like to be informed and learn as much as possible. We have to be our own advocates it seems when it comes to our health.

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Hello Ihurt, I'm sorry that I can't help you with this, but welcome here and I hope your problems settle soon. Sue x


Hi Essiet. Thanks for the reply. I have had IC of the bladder since 2005. Yes, I definitely follow the diet for it. The only reason I tried the cannabis oil is because I exhausted all other treatments for IC that did not work for me. I have been using some throat drops for the itchy coughing I am having. I notice when I move around I feel worse. Like last night when I slept I did not cough at all. I am just worried by aspirating that cannabis oil that it could have somehow damaged my airway permanently or triggered something bad.


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