Smoking marijuana may damage your lungs more than tobacco

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Marijuana smoking is on the rise and there’s a public perception that marijuana is safe, or that it’s safer than (tobacco) cigarettes.

But in a study from the University of Ottawa and elsewhere, scientists found smoking cannabis may do more harm to a smoker’s lungs and airways than tobacco.

In the study, researchers looked at chest X-ray scans of 56 cannabis smokers, 57 non-smokers and 33 people who smoked only tobacco between 2005 and 2020.

They found higher rates of airway inflammation and emphysema—a chronic lung disease—among regular cannabis smokers compared to regular tobacco-only smokers and non-smokers.

The higher rates of inflammation and disease among cannabis smokers versus tobacco could be related to the differences in how the drugs are typically consumed.

The team says marijuana is smoked unfiltered, versus tobacco which is usually filtered.

When people are smoking unfiltered marijuana, more particulates are reaching the airways, getting deposited there and irritating the airways.

In addition, people usually take bigger puffs and hold the smoke in their lungs longer for marijuana, which may lead to more trauma to those air spaces.

The team also suggests that some of the cannabis smokers also smoked tobacco, and that some of the lung scans produced inconclusive results, meaning more study is necessary.

There is very little research on the health effects of cannabis overall, as it is banned in most countries.

The study was conducted by Giselle Revah et al.

If you care about lung health, please read studies about why Viagra may be useful in treating lung diseases, and scientists find herbal supplement to treat lung cancer.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about gum disease linked to impaired lung function, and results showing  COVID-19 is not just a respiratory illness, it can cause strokes too.

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