The Journal of the American Medical Association
By Ardee Napolitano, The Daily Collegian
Unlike tobacco, smoking marijuana – even when done regularly – does not damage the performance of people’s lungs, according to a recent study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association.
The two-decade research, which followed 5,000 people who smoked an equivalent of one joint per day over the course of seven years, found out that despite their regular marijuana use, subjects were still able to push out a normal amount of air in one second after taking a deep breath. This means that only minimal if any pulmonary obstruction has developed, contrary to findings involving tobacco.
“Recent evidence indicates that smoking marijuana, for lung cancer, is not as bad as smoking tobacco is,” said Lyle Craker, a plant sciences professor at the University of Massachusetts who has studied medical marijuana for several years now. “Marijuana is relatively less dangerous than some other drugs.”
One possible explanation from the authors of the study states that because marijuana users “train” themselves to hold in the smoke, they were able to maintain proper breathing cycles.
Still, smoking marijuana can result in heavy coughing and is linked to mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The NIDA also states that cannabis impairs users’ senses by reducing attention span and motivation, which makes them prone to accidents.