What are the effects of smoking Marijuana as compared to Tobacco?
There are different categories of smokers
Being exposed to the smoke of tobacco for a prolonged period of time can be harmful to one’s health. The United States Center for Disease control has made it abundantly clear that smoking tobacco is one of the major causes of premature death in US. Also, being exposed constantly to tobacco smoke causes cancer and other heart related diseases. Excessive smoking of tobacco can lead to other types of pulmonary effects such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
A thought that regularly boggles the mind is whether smoking cannabis can be harmful to your lungs. In a research carried out recently, it was confirmed that the effect that arises from smoking tobacco and marijuana usually differ. This research be a major factor why the legislators in states such as New York and Minnesota imposed fresh restrictions on the intake of herbal preparation of cannabis.
Comparing Marijuana to Tobacco Smoke
Robert Melamade in his HarmReduction Journal of 2015 was of the opinion that despite the fact that tobacco and marijuana contain almost the same chemical composition, they both had different level of pharmacological activities and as such didn’t have the same tendency to cause cancer. Robert tried to explain that marijuana / cannabis smoke was composed of cannabinoids – which helps to fight cancer activities in the body – and as such acted as protective agents against pro-carcinogens. In concluding his paper, he affirmed that cannabis smoke contained some vital components that help to reduce or fight carcinogenic pathways while tobacco smoke does the opposite by increasing them
Smoking Marijuana and Cancer
We can argue that a fairly large number of research hasn’t been able to confirm the links between smoking cannabis and the increased chance of contacting cancer or any other lung related disease.
To be more specific a study containing a sample size with respondent claiming to have smoked over 22,000 wraps of marijuana in their entire life had no occurrence of lung cancer that were related to their intake of marijuana.
Dr. Donald Tashkin of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA mentioned while concluding the study’s findings in the Washington Post suggests a positive connection between marijuana intake and lung cancer, and that the level of positivity increases with an increased consumption of marijuana. He went on to state that the study found out there were some protective effect rather than no connection between the two.
Another case-control research exercise using a meta-analysis that happened to get published by the International Journal of Cancer in 2014, also corroborated the earlier findings and also came to the conclusion that there exists very little chance of increased occurrence of lung cancer among recreational or long-term regular cannabis smokers. Similarly, in 2009, the Brown University conducted a study on the theme and concluded that people who’ve had longer exposure to marijuana smoke have a substantially little chance of occurrence of neck and head cancers in contrast to individuals who have not.
Pulmonary Function and Smoking Marijuana
Emory University, Atlanta carried out a research in 2015, the findings revealed that a lifelong intake of marijuana isn’t connected with the detrimental effects on pulmonary functions like forced expiratory volume (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FCV). However, the effect of excessive smoking of marijuana on the health of the lungs for a large sample of males between the ages of 18 to 59, seemed to be considerably different in comparison to those who smoked tobacco. It went further to confirm that respondents who inhaled an amount compared to one wrap of marijuana every day for 20 years do not experience a decline in FEV1 or deadly change in Spiro-metric values of small airways disease.
Smoking Marijuana and COPD
It has been confirmed that smoking tobacco poses a serious risk to your health and can lead to causing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease commonly referred to as COPD. This is a group of disease known for its pathological limitation of airflow in the airway which is irreversible and is mainly caused by smoking cigarette and may be lead to premature death. On the other hand, inhaling marijuana smoke usual gas a minimal chance of COPD occurrence compared to that of tobacco. Mark Ware, who doubles as a professor and a physician at the McGill University concluded in his 2013 paper which was published in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society, that smoking marijuana doesn’t lead to an increase in the probability of an occurrence of COPD or any other airway cancer.
Limiting Marijuana Smoke Exposure
Filtering your marijuana smoke using water-pipes can create a smoother smoke and reduce the irritation of the throat and the cough occurrence. On the other hand, the pipe does not stop other heart burning toxic carcinogens, or potential lung irritations. However, vaporization heats up dried cannabis to a level where cannabinoid vapors form just below the point of combustion. Thus reducing the intake of combustive smoke or other pollutants like tar or carbon monoxide.
Several other studies have also confirmed that the process of converting the gas allows the in-halers to experience potential effect and avoid other smoking hazards like wheezing , coughing, or chronic bronchitis.
Other clinical examinations also confirm the process of gas conversion leads to higher plasma concentration of THC similar to smoking cannabis. As a result of this, scholars from the University Of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research and so many other research centers have collectively agreed that vaporizers provide a safe and effective means for consumers to inhale herbal cannabis.
Drawing from our findings, it makes sense for legislators to proscribe herbal cannabis products as patients in New York and Minnesota currently enjoy the benefits.
While the intake of cannabis in table or capsules can cause late symptoms in patients when compared to the direct inhalation, thus making these option undesirable for patients looking for quick relief. In addition oral intake of cannabis releases products that can cause higher bioavailability than direct smoking.
Finally, imposing limit would not hinder the patient’s options or deny them the ability to gain relief from whole-plant cannabis using methods that have been confirmed to be with less risk and are most effective.
What are your views on this? Let us know in the comments.