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Cannabis IS Safer than Tobacco: Science Reveals (Again…)

January 11, 2012

On Tuesday, 10th of January 2011 a study – one of the most substantial of its kind, has been released by researchers at the University of Alabama, California and San Francisco in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Stefan Kertesz

The Federally funded study “Association Between Marijuana Exposure and Pulmonary Function Over 20 Years” which took place over a 20-year time period”

has concluded that smoking cannabis once a week or even more does not harm the lungs, The Associated Press wrote.

The study mimics smaller ones carried out previously similar to that of Dr. Donald Tashkin, a medical professional whose name may and should ring a bell with some cannabis truth enthusiasts. Although he did not take part in the study he said “It’s not clear why that is so, but it’s possible that the main active ingredient in marijuana, a

chemical known as THC, makes the difference. THC causes the “high” that users feel. It also helps fight inflammation and may counteract the effects of more irritating chemicals in the drug” as an answer to why cannabis does not carry the same problems seen in tobacco users.

Dr. Donald Tashkin, is a marijuana researcher, professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles has studied the effect of cannabis on lung cancer. Here is an interview conducted by Dr. Bob Malamede of Colorado Springs University. Tashkin reveals that there is even some indication of evidence in reduced cancer rates in those who use cannabis over those who smoke neither tobacco or cannabis.

Unlike cigarette smokers, marijuana users tend to breathe in deeply when they inhale a joint, which some researchers think might strengthen lung tissue. But the common lung function tests used in the study require the same kind of deep breathing that marijuana smokers are used to, so their good test results might partly reflect lots of practice, said Kertesz, a drug abuse researcher and preventative medicine specialist at the Alabama university.

One of the co-authors, Dr. Stefan Kertesz, suggested that there may be another reason for the better than expected results, the possibility that the nature of smoking cannabis and the method of inhaling deeply may have an accidentally beneficial side-effect.

The breathing test that was used in the experiment, a common one, uses similar lung function to that of cannabis smoking something that provides as a good practice. Bongs and water-pipes are much the desired and preferred item among many a toker/average patient.

While cannabis is Federally illegal the study was Federally funded, the analysis was paid for by the National Association of Drug Abuse. It will be interesting to see if it maintains its position on the harmfulness of smoking cannabis.

Smoking Cannabis Concentrates.

America has 16 states that have made exemptions in their state laws to allow patients with qualifying medial problems from being interfered with by the police. The main form of ingestion by over a million patients now is smoked and California was the first to sign into legislation Proposition 215 in 1996. One might imagine there would be reports by now of more significant lung damage being caused if this study is to be ignored.

In Britain and Europe cannabis is usually mixed with tobacco when smoked but in America the cannabis culture and medical community particularly alike have adopted combusting it pure, simply because tobacco is more harmful. It is the sad case in Europe that even those who do not smoke cigarettes fill half of their spliff with part of a cigarette or rolling tobacco, a harm problem inflicted by prohibition for many who do not have enough access to the cannabis they would like or require so it is cut with the more toxic and addictive legal substitute.

“Overall, about 37 percent reported at least occasional marijuana use,and most users also reported having smoked cigarettes; 17 percent of participants said they’d smoked cigarettes but not marijuana. Those results are similar to national estimates.”

With statistics like this it is surprising that The National Association on Drug Abuse aren’t calling for the two to be swapped if there is to be a smoked drug at all.

AP writes, “The study randomly enrolled 5,115 men and women aged 18 through 30 in four cities: Birmingham, Chicago, Oakland, Calif., and Minneapolis. Roughly equal numbers of blacks and whites took part, but no other minorities.”

However, the findings did suggest a slight decline in lung function in cannabis smokers but not enough evidence really to suggest anything significantly damaging. The analysis did note that this may be down to there not being enough heavier users in the test group.

The authors of the study did not recommend that smoking cannabis should be stopped but recommended “caution and moderation when marijuana use is considered.”

When comparing the typical American cannabis usage to that of a cigarette smoker’s daily habit Kertesz says tobacco users smoke an average of 9 cigarettes a day as apposed to the 3 or so joints a month of those using the still Federally illicit substance.

Analysts from NADA highlighted that tobacco use does lead to worse scores than even toking cannabis daily and that is why the choice of hippies, and rappers alike came out looking less demonic than the governments of around the world have made even them to be. Just as they have cannabis.

Arm yourself with the truth delivered by science and take it to the
debating ground whenever cannabis’ cancer causing or lung damaging
properties are claimed. This is the only way to challange the
non-believers and those adamant on spouting and repeating utter reefer

Association Between Marijuana Exposure and Pulmonary Function Over 20 Years

  1. Mark J. Pletcher, MD, MPH;
  2. Eric Vittinghoff, PhD;
  3. Ravi Kalhan, MD, MS;
  4. Joshua Richman, MD, PhD;
  5. Monika Safford, MD;
  6. Stephen Sidney, MD, MPH;
  7. Feng Lin, MS;
  8. Stefan Kertesz, MD
  1. Author Affiliations: Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Drs Pletcher and Vittinghoff and Mr Lin) and Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine (Dr Pletcher), University of California, San Francisco; Asthma-COPD Program, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Kalhan); Department of Surgery (Dr Richman) and Division of Preventive Medicine (Drs Safford and Kertesz), University of Alabama at Birmingham; Center for Surgical, Medical and Acute Care Research and Transitions, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Birmingham (Drs Richman and Kertesz); and Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, Oakland (Dr Sidney).


Context Marijuana smoke contains many of the same constituents as tobacco smoke, but whether it has similar adverse effects on pulmonary function is unclear.

Objective To analyze associations between marijuana (both current and lifetime exposure) and pulmonary function.

Design, Setting, and Participants The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, a longitudinal study collecting repeated measurements of pulmonary function and smoking over 20 years (March 26, 1985-August 19, 2006) in a cohort of 5115 men and women in 4 US cities. Mixed linear modeling was used to account for individual age-based trajectories of pulmonary function and other covariates including tobacco use, which was analyzed in parallel as a positive control. Lifetime exposure to marijuana joints was expressed in joint-years, with 1 joint-year of exposure equivalent to smoking 365 joints or filled pipe bowls.

Main Outcome Measures Forced expiratory volume in the first second of expiration (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC).

Results Marijuana exposure was nearly as common as tobacco exposure but was mostly light (median, 2-3 episodes per month). Tobacco exposure, both current and lifetime, was linearly associated with lower FEV1 and FVC. In contrast, the association between marijuana exposure and pulmonary function was nonlinear (P < .001): at low levels of exposure, FEV1 increased by 13 mL/joint-year (95% CI, 6.4 to 20; P < .001) and FVC by 20 mL/joint-year (95% CI, 12 to 27; P < .001), but at higher levels of exposure, these associations leveled or even reversed. The slope for FEV1 was −2.2 mL/joint-year (95% CI, −4.6 to 0.3; P = .08) at more than 10 joint-years and −3.2 mL per marijuana smoking episode/mo (95% CI, −5.8 to −0.6; P = .02) at more than 20 episodes/mo. With very heavy marijuana use, the net association with FEV1 was not significantly different from baseline, and the net association with FVC remained significantly greater than baseline (eg, at 20 joint-years, 76 mL [95% CI, 34 to 117]; P < .001).

Conclusion Occasional and low cumulative marijuana use was not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function.

Will This help the UK media think more carefully or look harder about their reporting on cannabis. In “Should I Smoke Dope” Nicki Taylor is told by a Dr that cannabis causes irreparable holes in the lungs. This Dr has been used in several TV cannabis exposés. This kind of misinformation must stop!


One Comment leave one →
  1. January 11, 2012 10:08 am

    Just as people find smoking to often be the best delivery method for medicinal cannabis, those who use nicotine as medicine also find smoking to be best (patches and gum not so good).

    I hope the drive to ban all tobacco smoking does not hurt medical users!

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