Multiple studies show that smoking cannabis is less harmful than tobacco, with cannabis smokers facing fewer respiratory risks such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Research also consistently shows that the risks of cannabis smoke are not on par with the well-documented dangers of tobacco smoke, illustrating a clear distinction in their respective health impacts.
A significant majority of Americans believe that smoking cigarettes is more harmful to health than smoking cannabis. And they are right according to science.
For more news like this, download our free cannabis news app.
Research Findings on Smoking
Numerous studies on the long-term health effects resulting from exposure to cannabis smoke debunk the myth that smoking cannabis is associated with the same well-documented dangers to the respiratory system as smoking tobacco.
For instance, research funded by the government at the University of California, Los Angeles evaluated the risk of lung cancer among over 2000 long-term smokers of cannabis, tobacco, and non-smokers.
Researchers found that people who regularly smoked cigarettes had a 20-times higher risk of developing lung cancer compared to non-smokers. For people who smoked only cannabis, no increased risk of lung cancer was observed.
“We assumed there would be a positive association between using cannabis and lung cancer,” explained the main author of the study. “Instead, we found no association, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.”
Comparisons to Smoking Tobacco
Recently, a team of health experts wrote in the journal Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases that neither past nor present smoking of cannabis “in any amount over a lifetime” was associated with the progression or development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Other studies show that smoke from cannabis and tobacco is not equally carcinogenic, and individuals smoking only cannabis are less exposed to harmful toxins and carcinogenic substances than tobacco smokers. Some scientists also argue that the anti-cancer effects of cannabinoids may offset some of the risks associated with inhaling smoke.
Diverging Effects on the Lungs
According to the results of an article recently published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, “it is increasingly apparent that cannabis has a different effect on lung function than tobacco, and the effects of widespread cannabis use will not necessarily reflect the damage caused by tobacco smoking.”
A separate study, recently published by researchers from the University of Arkansas, is even more direct. “Data on cannabis contrast with evidence on the harm of tobacco, the world’s largest legal killer,” they stated. “The potential toxicity of cannabis is nothing compared to tobacco.”
This doesn’t mean that exposure to cannabis smoke is entirely harmless. Cannabis smoke contains some of the same toxins and particulate matter found in tobacco smoke. Some studies also indicate a temporary increase in phlegm production and the occurrence of “wheezing breath,” as well as an increased risk of bronchitis inflammation.
However, exposure to combustion toxins can be significantly reduced by using a vaporizer. Laboratory studies have shown vaporizers for cannabis to be “an effective and safe means of delivering THC […] that does not lead to exposure to the harmful effects of smoking.”
Consumption Methods Besides Smoking
Compounds from cannabis can also be incorporated into many products that do not require smoking, including food and beverages. The results of these studies are clear and consistent: the risk associated with smoke from cannabis and tobacco is far from equal.
DISCLAIMER: This article was written by a third-party contributor and does not reflect the opinion of Hemp.im, its management, staff, or its associates. Please review our disclaimer for more information.
This article may include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “become,” “plan,” “will,” and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks as well as uncertainties, including those discussed in the following cautionary statements and elsewhere in this article and on this site. Although the company may believe that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, the actual results that the company may achieve may differ materially from any forward-looking statements, which reflect the opinions of the management of the company only as of the date hereof. Additionally, please make sure to read these important disclosures.
First published in Fakty Konopne, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
Although we made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translations, some parts may be incorrect. Hemp.im assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions or ambiguities in the translations provided on this website. Any person or entity relying on translated content does so at their own risk. Hemp.im is not responsible for losses caused by such reliance on the accuracy or reliability of translated information. If you wish to report an error or inaccuracy in the translation, we encourage you to contact us.