Research shows different lung damage from tobacco and cannabis

Credit: Unsplash+

A new study from the University of Otago has brought to light important differences in the way tobacco and cannabis affect the lungs.

This groundbreaking research provides a deeper understanding at a time when cannabis use is becoming more common worldwide.

Professor Bob Hancox, a co-author of the study, pointed out that prolonged cannabis use significantly impacts lung function. It tends to over-inflate the lungs and creates more resistance to airflow than tobacco.

Surprisingly, cannabis also impairs the lungs’ ability to extract oxygen, a problem previously thought to be exclusive to tobacco smokers.

The data for this study comes from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, which has tracked over 1,000 individuals born in Dunedin during 1972/73 up to their 45th year. This study stands out for its extensive data on lifetime cannabis use and its impact on lung function.

An intriguing finding is the prevalence of a condition informally known as “bong lung,” seen in heavy cannabis users. This severe form of emphysema was highlighted in the research as a possible early sign of the damage cannabis can do to the lungs.

The study supports previous research showing that the respiratory effects of cannabis and tobacco are different. The combination of smoking both can lead to compounded lung damage, according to Professor Hancox.

He emphasizes the need to understand why cannabis affects the lungs differently, especially as more countries move towards decriminalizing the drug.

These findings are crucial for informing public health policies and medical treatments, especially as the legal landscape around cannabis changes.

This could help healthcare providers and policymakers better address the impacts of cannabis on lung health.

The complete study is available in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, offering detailed insights into these distinct respiratory effects and their implications for health policy and patient care.

For those interested in broader health topics, other recent studies have explored how lifestyle choices like diet and smoking influence conditions such as lung cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

These include findings on the effectiveness of long-term immunotherapy for lung cancer and the impact of dietary choices, like the Keto diet, on cancer patients’ blood sugar levels.

If you care about lung health, please read studies about marijuana’s effects on lung health, and why some non-smokers get lung disease and some heavy smokers do not.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that olive oil may help you live longer, and vitamin D could help lower the risk of autoimmune diseases.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.