There have been growing concerns among the cannabis community about the risks of developing Candida when smoking the plant.
If you’re immunocompromised, there’s a chance you might be at a higher risk of developing Candida if you’re consuming contaminated cannabis. Risk factors are present but remain low at 0.08% chances. Some compounds in cannabis may have potent antifungal properties effective against candida.
Let’s dive in and see if we can understand how cannabis may have an impact on candida.
Can Cannabis Increase The Risks Of Candida?
Candidiasis is the term used to describe any form of Candida fungal infection -- commonly known as Thrush in some countries.
Cannabis may increase the risks of developing Candida from using cannabis contaminated with various fungal pathogens.
A report published by the US Centers for Disease Control And Prevention stated those who are immunocompromised are at serious risk of developing a fatal infection from consuming contaminated cannabis.
The CDC report found cannabis consumers had 3.5 times the risk of contracting a fungal infection than those who abstain from cannabis use.
This 2016 CDC survey analysis of 27 million people from an IBM database found 53,217 people who consumed cannabis.
Out of 53,217 people who consumed cannabis, 40 were diagnosed with a fungal infection.
Approximately 0.08% of those who consumed cannabis contracted a fungal infection.
In contrast, only 0.03% of non-cannabis users contracted a fungal infection.
Nevertheless, their statement only revealed part of the truth.
The fungal infection rate does increase by 3.5 times, from 0.02% to 0.07%.
The statistics also show that the risks are microscopic and can be considered insignificant.
According to the Journal Of Oral Pathology & Medicine, cannabis use increased one of the most common types of fungal species known as Candida Albicans.
This very brief journal found not only an increase in candida density in cannabis users but also an increase in prevalence.
Even though there was an increase in density and prevalence of Candida Albicans in cannabis users, there was no increase in candidiasis prevalence.
A study published in the journal of General Dentistry found two cases of oral candidiasis that may have been associated with smoking cannabis.
Cannabis And Vaginal Candida
An Obstetrics and Gynecology research paper in 2004 may have found a connection between vaginal yeast infections and cannabis.
The article tells us that cannabis use within the last four months may contribute to yeast infections.
The research paper also suggests contributing factors to vaginal yeast colonization were injectable birth control, intercourse in the previous five days, or simultaneously having colonization of certain bacterias.
These contributing factors may influence women having vaginal yeast infections even further instead of cannabis usage itself.
However, other sources suggest that certain cannabinoids, the natural chemical compounds found in cannabis, have shown antibacterial and antifungal properties.
According to the Journal Of Natural Products, of the nine cannabinoids researched, the cannabinoid metabolite with specific antifungal properties against Candida Albican is 8-hydroxycannabinol.
This particular compound found in cannabis 8-hydroxycannabinol is formed through metabolizing the commonly known cannabinoid called Cannabinol (CBN).
Once CBN was metabolized in vitro by using portions of human livers, the minor metabolite was found to have good activities against the specific form of candida.
The other compounds found in cannabis are shown to have antifungal properties in the Journal Of Natural Products was (−)-7-hydroxycannabichromane and 4-acetoxy-2-geranyl-5-hydroxy-3-n-pentylphenol.
The properties could prove to be an effective medicine for overall candida overgrowth.
Moreover, the British Journal Of Pharmacology explains how the terpenoid caryophyllene oxide, found in cannabis, can be a highly effective antifungal.
Does Cannabis Weaken The Immune System?
The two most prominent phytocannabinoids, THC and CBD, have various effects on the body’s immunity.
According to the Cannabis And Cannabinoid Research in 2020, found a significant flaw in how experiments were designed in terms of how cannabis may affect the immune system.
Published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature, found CBD to have a higher ability to suppress the immune system versus THC.
Researchers discovered the combination of CBD and lipids produced extremely high levels of cannabinoids in the lymphatic system in rats.
Their findings showed that CBD could inhibit immune cell proliferation, which is a normal part of the cell cycle and serves to dampen inflammatory responses.
This process can be incredibly beneficial if the immune system is overactive and uncontrolled.
While cannabis’ immunosuppressive properties may be what the doctor had prescribed for autoimmune patients but can have detrimental effects on healthy cannabis users.
Observational studies done in 2003 found that frequent cannabis use might impact the immune system of consumers.
They were found to have lower levels of pro-inflammatory cells and higher levels of anti-inflammatory cells.
Lowering inflammation may not necessarily sound like a positive thing, but decreased white blood cells make it harder to fight off infections.
For healthy cannabis users, the impacted immune system could lead to higher risks of Candida.
Precautions To Take Against Candida
According to Amy Myers, MD, there are several methods to stop candida overgrowth.
Recommended methods for dealing with candida include the use of starving the candida, attacking it, and repopulating your gut with good bacterias.
A more or less “simple” 30+ day strict diet can help you starve and attack your candida overgrowth while you also focus on repopulating your good bacterial colonies in your gut.
Starving your candida overgrowth starts by eliminating any type of food or drink that candida feeds on.
Foods candida eats and thrives on include sugar, alcohol, carbohydrates, starchy vegetables, legumes, grains, and fermented foods.
Any fruits high in sugar are not recommended due to candida feeding on any type of sugar you give to it.
Some fruits are acceptable such as lemon, lime, and most berries are acceptable due to their low sugar contents.
Once you’ve established your diet to starve the candida, you can proceed with attacking it with certain products that are targeted at destroying it.
Some compounds in cannabis may help in eliminating candida overgrowth, but it’s best to discuss this with your doctor before adding anything to your diet.
Finally, after starving and attacking, it’s recommended you repopulate your gut with probiotics to help restore the good bacteria while drowning out the bad candida.
Who Is At Risk When It Comes To Candida?
According to the National Library of Medicine, over 150 distinct types of candida can infect newborns, healthy adults, and the elderly.
Fungi have always existed in our environment. Despite their constant proximity, people are exposed to their spores every day without developing an infectious overgrowth that can cause problems.
Thus, these fungi are more likely to infect those with inadequate immune systems as well as a large list of other diseases that can increase the chance of candidiasis.
Infections that are developed in immunodeficient patients are called opportunistic infections.
According to the CDC, the most vulnerable people at risk for candidiasis include:
- ICU patients
- People with suppressed immune systems
- Has recently undergone multiple medical procedures
- Have been taking many antibiotics.
- Recent surgery
- Kidney failure
- And several potential others
While it’s not common to infect someone else directly with candidiasis, there are some types living on the skin that can be transmitted to another.
Those at risk of getting infected with candidiasis from another person are those who are already at high risk.
About the author: Joe Powers
After an incident in the military, in 2011, Joe Powers began investigating cannabis by talking with industry leaders. In 2016, Joe launched Hemp Writer with its first publication in clarifying disinformation on specific updates to certain federal CBD laws.
Upon calling out a leading cannabis law firm spreading dis-info, Hemp Writer established itself as an authority in clarifying updated information emerging from the cannabis industry. Joe continues charging forwards with increasing momentum to continue fulfilling his vision of SHARING ACCURATE CANNABIS INFORMATION.