Yet more vague anti-cannabis reporting, this time from Australia. The report claims that smoking cannabis increases the risk of emphysema (and at a much earlier age and of a more serious nature). Once again, this report uses phrasiology like "Experts say the findings suggest". This is of course suitably vague, but good enough for them to get their sensationalist headline. It fails to mention how many people were involved in the research, it fails to mention what the rates were amongst tobacco smokers, it fails to take account of the fact that the cannabis smokers were also almost certainly smoking tobacco. It also fails to mention how many cannabis smokers did not have the symptoms. Don't you just love this lazy sort of reporting? Apologies for this being the second such negative report I've posted in the last two days, but I am merely the messenger. Anyway the report appeared on Science and nature online The Australian today and here it is in full:
<SPAN class=bodytext>Cannabis lifts emphysema risk
Adam Cresswell, Health editor
March 28, 2006
CANNABIS smokers risk developing emphysema 20 years before it tends to strike tobacco smokers, Australian researchers have found.
<SPAN class=bodytext>Experts say the findings suggest the potentially serious lung condition could be more widespread in cannabis smokers than first thought. The higher temperature of cannabis smoke and different inhalation behaviour may explain the greater risk.
Emphysema reduces the normal elasticity of the lungs' airways and air sacs. Air inside the lungs has to be forced out, putting pressure on the sacs and in some cases making them collapse. It tends to strike tobacco smokers at an average age of about 65.
Matthew Naughton, head of general respiratory and sleep medicine at Melbourne's The Alfred hospital, said the research began after a 40-year-old patient came in with a severe chest infection and was found to have large cysts, or holes, throughout the lungs.
The patient was a heavy cannabis user who smoked through a waterpipe.
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