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cannabis and your lungs

What Does Cannabis Do To Your Lungs?

Cannabis is much better than tobacco

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Monday Feb 26, 2018

What Does Cannabis Do To Your Lungs?



Contrary to popular belief, cannabis doesn’t lead to lung damage. In fact, cigarettes are much worse for your lungs than cannabis.


A recent study showed that long-term exposure to cannabis smoke has not caused adverse effects on pulmonary function. Despite the growing body of evidence that cannabis doesn’t harm the lungs, the very act of smoking anything still faces a serious stigma even with cannabis consumption. However, we need to keep in mind that smoking cannabis is not the same as smoking tobacco because cannabis has medicinal and therapeutic benefits – even for your lungs.


This is because cannabis doesn’t have the same carcinogens or chemicals that tobacco does. Although when smoked, cannabis is still being burned but you inhale cannabinoids which contain powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These benefits protect the DNA and cells from harmful chemicals.


A large-scale study conducted in 2012 revealed the results of a long-term study where scientists analyzed the lungs of 5115 young adults. They found that while tobacco use was linked to lung decline, moderate cannabis users enjoyed healthy lung function. In fact, the cannabis users in the group even had an increased lung capacity. The study’s authors concluded, “Marijuana may have beneficial effects on pain control, appetite, mood, and management of other chronic symptoms. Our findings suggest that occasional use of marijuana for these or other purposes may not be associated with adverse consequences on pulmonary function. It is more difficult to estimate the potential effects of regular heavy use, because this pattern of use is relatively rare in our study sample; however, our findings do suggest an accelerated decline in pulmonary function with heavy use and a resulting need for caution and moderation when marijuana use is considered.” The study’s conclusions reveal that data on the impacts of heavy is are limited, although there is also a need to define what “heavy use” actually means.


However, a 2015 study conducted by Emory University researchers looked at the impact of cannabis on lifetime users, particularly their lung health. To conduct the study, the researchers tested lung capacities of smokers who are considered to be light, moderate, and heavy. What they found was that it took cannabis smokers one joint daily for 20 years before lung decline started to show.


Another study showed that the lungs of cannabis users are just as healthy as those of non-smokers when used during transplantation. To come up with their conclusion, the researchers used samples of 302 people, all of whom were going to undergo a lung transplant. Nineteen of the transplanted lungs belonged to cannabis users, but they found no significant differences between the lungs of cannabis smokers and non-smokers.



What This Means For Heavy Smokers


If you consider yourself a heavy smoker, what the current science tells us so far that your best bet is to switch to vaporizers or other methods of consumption. On the other hand, if you’re a moderate or a light smoker, smoking flower won’t have any serious impact on your health.


However, the studies that we have are still inconclusive at best. We do know one thing for sure: cannabis use won’t actually cause lung cancer. A large-scale study conducted by Dr. Donald Tashkin looked at the link between cannabis and cancer by examining the medical history of cancer patients. They discovered that there was no association between cannabis use and lung cancer, as well as other cancers. They concluded that as long as you don’t smoke cigarettes, your risk for developing cancer remains low.


Additionally, studies show that THC can protect the lungs from the harm of cannabis smoke. In an interview with Time, Dr. Tashkin said: “The THC in marijuana has well-defined anti-tumoral effects that have been shown to inhibit the growth of a variety of cancers in animal models and tissue culture systems, thus counteracting the potentially tumorigenic effects of the procarcinogens in marijuana smoke.”


THC may protect the lungs in other ways, too; this may explain why cannabis users don’t have an increased risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a long-term condition affecting the lungs that commonly affects cigarette smokers. Studies show that cannabis is also therapeutic for asthmatic patients, due to its ability to act as a bronchodilator, which expands the airways. This results in increased airflow to the lungs, and overall improved functioning.









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