New research has concluded that casual pot smoking does not affect the functioning of the lungs. Casual is defined as smoking up to one joint per day.
These statistics were gathered from a two decade-long study of 5115 men and women. The study was conducted by the University of California, San Fransisco and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The results were published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association.
If you can believe it, the results showed that not only was lung function not affected, in some cases it actually improved. Evidence pointed to slight increases in lung airflow and lung volume. The lung tests were conducted by measuring the patient’s breath as they took the deepest inhale possible. Since marijuana users tend to breathe deeply while inhaling from a joint, research points to this action actually strengthening lung tissue. It’s also arguable that the users have had a lot of practice inhaling deeply and that’s why they do so well on the lung tests.
This news is a little hard to digest as so many have been warned of the dangers of marijuana for so long. While the study found that marijuana doesn’t damage the lungs, researcher Donald Tashkin, MD at UCLA has said that there “are as many or more carcinogens and co-carcinogens in marijuana smoke as in cigarettes.” The active ingredient in marijuana, Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is responsible for physical impairment and sense alteration. However, if used in moderation, it appears to be no more harmful than moderate alcohol consumption, the legal activity.
Actually, with the research in our face, marijuana may actually be safer than alcohol as we know that alcohol has lasting affects on the liver. Earlier this year, we even argued which was worse: soda or marijuana? It’s worth the debate when you consider links between diet soda and kidney problems, diet soda and stroke, and diet soda and heart attack.
It’s hard to argue facts, and twenty years of research is hard to combat. While marijuana may be getting a better reputation this year, it’s still important to focus on the other facts. It is still illegal in most places and it causes an increase in appetite. While casual users may not be hurting their lungs they could face consequences like gaining weight or being arrested.
January 11th, 2012