There appears to be the consensus that frequent or even occasional marijuana use will lead to deterioration of your lung function, in some cases even to lung cancer. But is this claim really supported by evidence? Let’s find out!
Smoking a Joint
Marijuana use is known to cause burning and stinging of the mouth and throat, as well as heavy coughing. Researchers have discovered that marijuana smokers can suffer under similar respiratory problems as tobacco users do. These include
- Daily cough and phlegm production
- More frequent acute chest illnesses
- Increased risk of lung infections
Studies have shown that weed smoke contains certain carcinogens (particles that can cause cancer) but not enough to where it is a danger such as cigarettes or pipe tobacco. There are no studies that show a correlation between marijuana smoke and lung, upper respiratory or even upper digestive tract cancer. It remains a mystery to sciences and is truly an interesting property of cannabis.
Recently, a study that had been going on for over 20 years was concluded. From March 1985 to 2006, over 5100 (otherwise healthy) men and women had been regularly smoking 2-3 joints a month. The results? Their lung function had improved slightly! However, other factors such as air pollution were not taken into account.
Additionally, heavy users (1-2 joints/day) had seen 1.6% increase in lung capacity. This could be explained with the fact that these users made a habit out of deep inhaling and exhaling, thus increasing their lung’s capacity.
New studies even suggest that marijuana smoke might act as a protective shield against certain types of cancer! What? Simply put, THC, the main substance in weed, acts as an immunosuppressant. This means that it blocks or even acts as a shield against various respiratory issues.
On the other hand, this study is contradicted by an older study, which claimed that marijuana smokers in many cases were sick more often than non-smokers, the main cause usually being respiratory illness.
As you can see, by no means has a consensus been reached! Some studies insist marijuana has positive effects on the lungs, while others claim they are neutral or even negative. I believe we’ll have to wait a couple more years for conclusive results. In the meantime, I’m going to use this a guilt-free card to keep on toking.
If you’re worried about the effects of weed on your lungs, but still want to continue using marijuana, perhaps you should consider alternatives, such as space brownies or cookies!