We’ve all heard the same old rhetoric about smoking and how bad it is for your lungs. There is no question as to the damage smoking tobacco cigarettes wrecks on lungs and overall health, but there has remained debate about whether or not smoking cannabis is just as bad. Well, according to researchers from Emory University, smoking weed has no negative health effect on lungs.
The recent study found that even after 20 years, smoking cannabis does not cause lung damage or affect breathing capacity. Researchers used measurements of individual’s capacity to exhale, or spirometry, scientists most common method of diagnosing diseases that impair respiratory health, to assess the effects of smoking cannabis over time on lungs.
Analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys revealed that smokers in the age range of 18 to 59 who smoked one joint of weed a day could still force the same amount of air out of their lungs in one second (forced expiratory volume) as those in a control group who did not smoke weed.
The study did find cannabis smokers more likely to have reported minor bronchitis like coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath. Furthermore, the study found that individuals who vaporized their weed were less likely to report any respiratory related issues than those who consumed cannabis with combustion. Researchers also speculated that smoking cannabis may have a correlation with protective lung effects among long-term tobacco smokers.
You hear that smokers? You better smoke up to help protect your lungs from your smoking problem (I jest). These study findings are still speculative and require further research before we can make any causal statements.
Researchers concluded, “In a large representative sample of U.S. adults, ongoing use of marijuana is associated with increased respiratory symptoms of bronchitis without a significant functional abnormality in spirometry, and cumulative marijuana use under 20 joint-years is not associated with significant effects on lung function. The pattern of marijuana’s effects seems to be distinctly different when compared to that of tobacco use.”
The results of this study line up with other research that finds cannabis adverse health effects to be minimal. A 2012 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that the equivalent of smoking one joint a day over a 7-year period had no associated negative effects on pulmonary function.
Likewise, another 2013 review published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society reported that exposure to cannabis smoke was not associated with the development of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, or bullous lung disease. Science continues to be 420 friendly as researchers investigate further into the health effects of smoking weed.