1. Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.
    PLEASE HELP

Study: A Joint May Be Easier On Lungs Than A Cigarette

By Shanty, Jan 11, 2012 | | |
  1. Shanty
    Study: A Joint May Be Easier On Lungs Than A Cigarette

    Smoking marijuana has just got to be bad for the lungs, since it's been made abundantly clear that cigarettes wreak havoc. Or so it would seem.

    But the record on marijuana and lung health has been confusing at best. The latest study is typical: It shows that pot smokers' lung function actually improves, at least if they're not smoking a lot.

    Smoking a joint a week for up to seven years doesn't hurt lung function, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. They came up with that number after following more than 5,000 people for 20 years. The results were just published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    In fact, those occasional pot smokers actually had improvements in some measurements of lung function. That may be due in part to the stretching involved in the deep tokes typical of marijuana use. By contrast, both past and present cigarette smokers had impaired lung function.

    But the pot smokers didn't get a completely clean bill of health. Heavy marijuana users, which the study defined as smoking more than 20 times a month, did see a decline in lung capacity. But that's after exposure to more than 10 "joint-years," which the scientists calculated as a joint a day for a decade. That's a fair amount of weed.

    Cigarette use and marijuana use was self-reported, leading some Shots contributors to wonder just how how reliable those pothead reminiscences could be. Indeed, the scientists said that previous studies have shown that people's recollection of cigarettes smoked generally squares with nicotine levels in the blood. But they didn't test pot smokers' blood to see if that was true for them, too.

    The lack of ill effect for occasional pot smokers may be good news for people considering marijuana for pain control or other medical purposes, the researchers conclude. But "our findings do suggest an accelerated decline in pulmonary function with heavy use," the scientists wrote, "and a resulting need for caution and moderation."

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/201...-easier-on-lungs-than-a-cigarette?ft=1&f=1001

Comments

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Marijuana users can breathe easier: Smoking joints didn’t hurt lung function in 20-year study

    CHICAGO — Smoking a joint once a week or a bit more apparently doesn’t harm the lungs, suggests a 20-year study that bolsters evidence that marijuana doesn’t do the kind of damage tobacco does.

    The results, from one of the largest and longest studies on the health effects of marijuana, are hazier for heavy users — those who smoke two or more joints daily for several years. The data suggest that using marijuana that often might cause a decline in lung function, but there weren’t enough heavy users among the 5,000 young adults in the study to draw firm conclusions.

    Still, the authors recommended “caution and moderation when marijuana use is considered.”

    Marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law although some states allow its use for medical purposes.

    The study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham was released Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    The findings echo results in some smaller studies that showed while marijuana contains some of the same toxic chemicals as tobacco, it does not carry the same risks for lung disease.

    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, said Dr. Donald Tashkin, a marijuana researcher and an emeritus professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Tashkin was not involved in the new study.

    Study co-author Dr. Stefan Kertesz said there are other aspects of marijuana that may help explain the results.

    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 preventive medicine specialist at the Alabama university.

    The study authors analyzed data from participants in a 20-year federally funded health study in young adults that began in 1985. Their analysis was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

    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. Participants were periodically asked about recent marijuana or cigarette use and had several lung function tests during the study.

    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.

    On average, cigarette users smoked about 9 cigarettes daily, while average marijuana use was only a joint or two a few times a month — typical for U.S. marijuana users, Kertesz said.

    The authors calculated the effects of tobacco and marijuana separately, both in people who used only one or the other, and in people who used both. They also considered other factors that could influence lung function, including air pollution in cities studied.

    The analyses showed pot didn’t appear to harm lung function, but cigarettes did. Cigarette smokers’ test scores worsened steadily during the study. Smoking marijuana as often as one joint daily for seven years, or one joint weekly for 20 years was not linked with worse scores. Very few study participants smoked more often than that.

    Like cigarette smokers, marijuana users can develop throat irritation and coughs, but the study didn’t focus on those. It also didn’t examine lung cancer, but other studies haven’t found any definitive link between marijuana use and cancer.

    By Associated Press,
    Updated: Tuesday, January 10

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...0-year-study/2012/01/10/gIQAZ4CjoP_story.html

    I have requested the paper: Association Between Marijuana Exposure and Pulmonary Function Over 20 Years Hopefully it will be added to the Document Archives soon.
  2. soula
    I found out about the study from the NYTimes blog:

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/11/marijuana-smoking-does-not-harm-lungs-study-finds/

    In something of a twist, the researchers found that compared to nonsmokers, marijuana users performed slightly better on the lung function test, though the improvement was minuscule. “Even with this tiny increase in airflow, I have to admit that I really doubt that there’s any real increase in lung health,” said Dr. Stefan Kertesz, an associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham school of medicine and an author of the study. The finding may merely reflect marijuana smokers’ years of “training” in taking deep inhalations and holding the smoke, the researchers said.

    That part made me smile.
  3. sassyspy
    Science Says: Lungs Love Weed

    Crap crap crap! I really miss the old automatic 'thread finder' that used to come up when title was entered.. I did a search but guess it was wrong query.. gosh is my face red.......:-:eek::s


    Twenty-year study suggests smoking marijuana is healthier than tobacco.

    Breathe easy, tokers. Smoking marijuana in moderate amounts may not be so bad for your lungs, after all.

    A new study, published in last month's Journal of the American Medical Association, tested the lung function of over 5,000 young adults between 18 and 30. After 20 years of testing, researchers found some buzzworthy results: regular marijuana smokers (defined by up to a joint a day for seven years) had no discernable impairment in lung activity from non-smokers.


    In fact, researchers were surprised to find marijuana smokers performed slightly better than both smokers and non-smokers on the lung performance test. Why? The most likely explanation seems to be that the act of inhaling marijuana—holding each puff in for as long as possible—is a lot like a pulmonary function test, giving marijuana smokers an edge over their cigarette smoking counterparts.

    For most of human existence, cannabis has been considered a medicine. Queen Victoria used it to alleviate her menstrual cramps. Extracts were prescribed by doctors and available at every pharmacy in the U.S. According to Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser, attitudes toward cannabis only shifted when Americans began to notice and object to its use by immigrants around the turn of the 20th century. Said Schlosser in a PBS interview:

    "What's interesting is if you look at origins of the marijuana prohibition in this country, it coincides with a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment. . . really since the early years of this century, the war on marijuana has been much more a war on the sort of people who smoke it, be they Mexicans or blacks or jazz musicians or beatniks or hippies or hip-hop artists. It's really been a war on nonconformists and the laws against marijuana have been used as a way of reasserting what are seen as traditional American values."


    Attitudes are changing, however. Sixteen states now offer medicinal weed legally for patients, and the number is growing. More students are now smoking marijuana than binge drinking or smoking cigarettes. Weed-friendly communities like Oaksterdam, unthinkable a decade or two ago, are sprouting up and campaigning to have marijuana revenue regulated and taxed like alcohol.
    As marijuana enters the mainstream, studies like the one published inJAMA might dispel false assertions about the plant's deleterious health hazards and promote its medicinal benefits. According to Dr. Donald P. Tashkin, a marijuana researcher at UCLA medical school, THC is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may prevent lung irritation from developing into the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that frequently devastates the lungs of tobacco smokers. Since inhaling the unfiltered smoke of a combusted marijuana plant isn't exactly the best delivery system for this panacea, he suggests that those who want to unlock its chemical potential find lower impact ways to get high.

    "The smoke in marijuana contains thousands of ingredients, many of which are toxic and noxious and have the potential, at least, to cause airway injury," said Tashkin in TIME. "In an ideal world, it would be preferable to take it in another form." Volcano, anyone?

    http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/01/11/marijuana-not-bad-your-lungs
    [FONT=&quot]Oliver Lee
    [/FONT]
  4. Terrapinzflyer
    Unfortunately the JAMA paper is too large to attach/add to the archives. For the time being at least, a copy of the paper is available HERE
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!