Canada legalized the recreational use of cannabis in 2018 Photo: AFP/File
health

Smoking cannabis may be more harmful to lungs than tobacco: study

54 Comments

Cannabis may do more harm to a smoker's lungs and airways than tobacco, according to a small Canadian study published this week.

Researchers from the University of Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital looked at chest X-ray scans of 56 cannabis smokers, 57 non-smokers and 33 people who smoked only tobacco between 2005 and 2020.

They found higher rates of airway inflammation and emphysema -- a chronic lung disease -- among regular cannabis smokers compared to regular tobacco-only smokers and non-smokers.

"Marijuana smoking is on the rise and there's a public perception that marijuana is safe, or that it's safer than (tobacco) cigarettes," Giselle Revah, a radiologist The Ottawa Hospital, where the research was conducted, told AFP. "But this study raises concerns that this may not be true."

She said the higher rates of inflammation and disease among cannabis smokers versus tobacco could be related to the differences in how the drugs are typically consumed.

"Marijuana is smoked unfiltered, versus tobacco which is usually filtered," she said. "When you're smoking unfiltered marijuana, more particulates are reaching your airways, getting deposited there and irritating your airways."

Also, she added, "people usually take bigger puffs and hold the smoke in their lungs longer for marijuana, which may lead to more trauma to those air spaces."

Despite these possible explanations, the authors of the study, which was published in the journal Radiology, pointed out that some of the cannabis smokers also smoked tobacco, and that some of the lung scans produced inconclusive results, meaning more study is necessary.

As Revah noted, there is very little research on the health effects of cannabis overall, as it is banned in most countries.

Canada, where the researchers are based, legalized recreational use of cannabis in 2018.

It is also legal for recreational use in Uruguay and Mexico, among other countries, and many US states, while several other countries and territories have also recently decriminalized possession of the drug or approved it for medicinal use.

© 2022 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

54 Comments
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Ah, yeah... more "Reefer Madness". All 'vegetable' smoke will have roughly the same effect on lung tissue because, as JAPANESE scientists pointed out in 1939 with rabbits, it is the TARS that do most damage to the lungs (see: Carcinoma). Particulates also, such as submicron coal dust, cotton dust, asbestos, et alia, because of the constant production of 'oxidative bursts' (free radicals) from the innate immune system who see them as bacteria and continually attempt to destroy them which damages surrounding tissues such as the alveoli (e.g. emphysema, repetitive injury neoplasia). Campfires, forest fires, and, especially, diesel exhaust which contains both high quantites of submicrom particulates AND known carcinogenic substances will also do this. Perhaps truck drivers and street workers should also be included in studies such as this or at least controlled for in these studies where elective 'smoke' may be just an add-on to nonelective environmental poisons. But, like most messages such as this, BE AFRAID! BE VERY AFRAID! Or study the details of Human life and understand that one less day on the end is one less day of suffering the horrific effects of advanced senescence...

0 ( +6 / -6 )

This would have been obvious to anyone who thought about it, yet the pro-drug brigade was always very forceful against anyone who says anything bad about marijuana. For the record, I think it should be legalized everywhere, or at least decriminalized. People have the natural right to decide how they treat their own bodies, and this is just one of the ways we can abuse ourselves. If weed improves your life all that much that you are willing to risk your health, have at it. But don't lie to yourself.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

This seems like a good preliminary study, but it is being reported in some places inadequately, as if the results were conclusive and clear when in reality they only indicate (if strongly) that cannabis could be at least similarly dangerous compared with tobacco. As mentioned further studies are necessary but these results help a lot deciding what kind of information is important to collect and analyze.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

... just eat cannabis cookies?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Although I am for the legalization of marijuana, it is important to realize that smoking pot is still just inhaling smoke from burning plant matter.

It does not take a genius to figure out that inhaling any smoke is bad for you.

Also given the fact that marijuana is usually smoked unfiltered, inhaled deeper and then held in the lungs for a while before exhaling.

I occasionally smoke cigars and cigarettes while drinking, and will smoke a joint where it is legal, but I view the pot-extremists who boast pot as the savior of modern society the same as hardline vegans. The two of which coincidentally have a significant overlap.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Any smoke or dust entering the lungs will have some degree of negative effect. People smoke less cannabis than tobacco. Moderation in cannabis, using no added tobacco.

We know tobacco causes lung cancer.

Then there is vaping.

"Whether smoking marijuana causes lung cancer, as cigarette smoking does, remains an open question.67,70 Marijuana smoke contains carcinogenic combustion products, including about 50% more benzoprene and 75% more benzanthracene (and more phenols, vinyl chlorides, nitrosamines, reactive oxygen species) than cigarette smoke.67 "

https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-are-marijuanas-effects-lung-health

5 ( +7 / -2 )

There is more than one way to ingest. Smoking anything is bad for you.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Smoking cannabis can lead not only to lung cancer, but also to schizophrenia. From Harvard Medical School:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/teens-who-smoke-pot-at-risk-for-later-schizophrenia-psychosis-201103071676

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I use marijuana (for medical reasons) daily, in the form of hashish tincture or candy, and very rarely smoke. This is more reefer madness. Legalization in the States is here to stay. I would never vape, but smoking the occasional joint has a much lower observable body load than smoking a cigarette.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Any smoke or dust entering the lungs will have some degree of negative effect. People smoke less cannabis than tobacco

The study noted that cannabis, unlike tobacco, is inhaled deeply and held in the lungs for as long as possible. Very few people smoke cigarettes that way, and many don't even inhale much past their throat. The way something is consumed is at least as important as what it is. We don't deeply inhale campfire smoke, for example. A piece of quartz, if pulverized and inhaled is highly carcinogenic. Yet, we can wear quartz jewelry safely.

I suppose you could stick to brownies, but those always made me vomit in the past. I stick to wine and beer these days. Also unhealthy, I know, but I am not trying to convince myself or anyone else that wine is a miracle cure. So much of the pro-weed lobby touts dubious benefits and ignores the risks.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Dont smoke so much.....pot or tobacco or opium { my fave }

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You don’t need a study for this. Anything combustible that’s inhaled is damaging to the lungs. And anything combustible that’s unfiltered is probably more damaging. So vaping probably is the safest way to get high.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Smoking anything harms your lungs.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hey @ Gaijinjland ( Ganjaland ) ....vaping also involves inhaling !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It makes you wonder, which people think inhaling Tobacco and Cannabis is a good ideas apart from the companies, the tax office, and the grim reaper. Vaping isn’t much better, but it could be away to get people of the filthy stinky stuff. I personally think calling should be classed as a treatment and not something to take up or start, and certainly as part of a harm reduction policy. But fruits, nice shiny colors, should be banned. Kids and teenagers will want to do try it. The vap vids should be taken down from YouTube too, that’s just free advertising for those companies.

it will come back to bite…. We just need to wait.( and for the companies to deny all the research again)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They'd need to do a larger study to come to any clear conclusions. There are a lot of other factors involved, too, including overall lung health, whether people have smoked before and for how long, how often people smoke, as well as how much they smoke at at a time. This short description doesn't say if these other factors were accounted for, and how.

These days pot is so strong that you apparently don't even need to smoke an entire joint to attain the desired effect. That contrasts greatly with a person who smokes several cigarettes a day.

I'd be curious at the outcome of a study that took that factor into consideration.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Smoking anything can harm the lungs, but to say that more than tobacco...

I don't believe you..

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

a small Canadian study published this week.

Well, first, healthy people, whatever they smoke, are not getting chest x-rays at the hospital. Second 150 people is a tiny sample, and third, how many small Canadians are there?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So now add this the the increase in child overdoses on cannabis edibles that look like candy ( like those someone handed out during Halloween in Canada).

And it is turning out to be a great experience for the country.

But don't blame the drugs don't blame the user it is society's fault like with the opioid overdose epidemic in Canada it is the fault of the government for not providing even more Narcan in more places.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The only thing that should be inhaled into the lungs is air. They're simply not designed for inhaling anything else, at least not on purpose or in more than trace amounts.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Where I live edible cannabis is available, although I have wondered about the risk that children might overdose by eating too many. Haven't heard of that happening, but seems like a risk to consider.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Pure tobacco is no way as harmful as the chemical ridden cigarettes that the corporations peddle. With the corporatization of weed, we can only guess that the quality will drop as well. I used to buy shredded tobacco leaves straight from the farmer until the government made it illegal.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This seems like a good preliminary study, but it is being reported in some places inadequately, as if the results were conclusive and clear when in reality they only indicate (if strongly) that cannabis could be at least similarly dangerous compared with tobacco. As mentioned further studies are necessary but these results help a lot deciding what kind of information is important to collect and analyze.

Studies such as these have been performed for decades. Not much new here.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

You can make tea with it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

1glenn

Today 06:46 pm JST

Where I live edible cannabis is available, although I have wondered about the risk that children might overdose by eating too many. Haven't heard of that happening, but seems like a risk to consider

Then here

https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.6561003

There are more going all the way back to 2018

A more recent one is out there but I can't find it right now this one is from August 25 2022

More kids hospitalized for cannabis poisonings after edibles legalized, study finds

Search this

cbc edible cannabis children overdose

You will have 6 instant results for articles on the problem dating from 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022

So take a guess when cannabis became legal in Canada.?

If you guessed 2018 you are right.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

 I view the pot-extremists who boast pot as the savior of modern society the same as hardline vegans. The two of which coincidentally have a significant overlap.

Smoking pot makes generally makes people more relaxed and eating less red meat is good for your health and good for the environment so not a bad overlap if you ask me. Too extreme in anything is a problem

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Smoking pot makes generally makes people more relaxed and eating less red meat is good for your health and good for the environment so not a bad overlap if you ask me. Too extreme in anything is a problem

I have known a lot of pot smokers, pot may relax but it sure triggers the appetite and meat especially pizza, fried chicken and hamburgers have always been top of the menu.

I mean come on "the munchies" is famous. It is one reason the number of Driving while stone is on the rise in Canada.

Smoke get hungry drive for KFC or a burger.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

and meat especially pizza, fried chicken and hamburgers have always been top of the menu.

Food feeds the engine, why fill it with junk?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Food feeds the engine, why fill it with junk?

Why do you think people that do drugs daily are called junkies!

They put junk in their bodies like Pot/THC, smoke, cocaine, opioids, etc..

You think some daily toker cares what he or she eats when they are high?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Why do cannabis consumers become vegetarians?

https://sensiseeds.com/en/blog/cannabis-consumers-become-vegetarians/

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Assumptions are for fools and bad diets are not exclusive to "potheads".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Just vape it up...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Where I live edible cannabis is available, although I have wondered about the risk that children might overdose by eating too many. Haven't heard of that happening, but seems like a risk to consider.

No one has ever overdosed on marijuarna.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

These days pot is so strong that you apparently don't even need to smoke an entire joint to attain the desired effect. That contrasts greatly with a person who smokes several cigarettes a day.

This is a myth, you're just older and can't handle as much.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is a myth, you're just older and can't handle as much.

lol joints are social and aren't meant to be bogarted, but passed around.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

lol joints are social and aren't meant to be bogarted, but passed around.

My dad smokes them alone, like cigarettes. It really just depends on your tolerance.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

NOT ( may be ) more harmful, it is also deadly.

Many cannabis smokers are at risk of developing breathing problems as those who smoke tobacco. These problems include daily cough and phlegm, more frequent lung illness, and a higher risk of lung infections or even cancer.

Nice Photo by the way.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Pot used to be weaker - old brick weed was about 6 percent THC. Even hashish was only in the 18 percent thc range. Now grass is typically about 20 percent THC minimum, and up to 35 percent. Dabs of concentrate are in the 50 to 80 percent thc range. Hash is around 55 percent plus thc. People do not need to smoke as much. That is why pipes and bongs are popular. You don't waste weed by rolling it, and can dose more accurately. I typically have around 30 mg a day of thc, sometimes more. My body is used to it. I have to eat around 100mgs to be actually properly stoned. Grass from shops is pure, not tainted. Adults should be allowed to smoke weed. Everyone knows that inhaling smoke is not healthy. Perhaps encouraging edibles is the way to go. I have a medical card. It is the least toxic medication for my health problem and also highly effective.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What was the point of the article?

Despite these possible explanations, the authors of the study, which was published in the journal Radiology, pointed out that some of the cannabis smokers also smoked tobacco, and that some of the lung scans produced inconclusive results, meaning more study is necessary.

Inconclusive study ... who ya trying to fool ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many cannabis smokers are at risk of developing breathing problems as those who smoke tobacco. These problems include daily cough and phlegm, more frequent lung illness, and a higher risk of lung infections or even cancer.

As I understand it, there's never been a case of lung cancer being caused from cannabis:

while a few small, uncontrolled studies have suggested that heavy, regular marijuana smoking could increase risk for respiratory cancers, well-designed population studies have failed to find an increased risk of lung cancer associated with marijuana use.67

https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-are-marijuanas-effects-lung-health

0 ( +2 / -2 )

For those who like to smoke it, have at it. My shares in Tilray and Aurora Cannabis have gone done (nearly breakeven point now), but increased sales will increase revenue and thus, the share price.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Studies such as these have been performed for decades. Not much new here.

Both the authors of the study and the Journal that published it considered it contained enough new information to merit publication, can you bring any study that have previously reported the conclusions they make with this one? if not that means it is actually quite new.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Duh, don’t we complain about air pollution all the time? Why would anybody need to inhale carcinogens on purpose?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Both the authors of the study and the Journal that published it considered it contained enough new information to merit publication, can you bring any study that have previously reported the conclusions they make with this one? if not that means it is actually quite new.

Just a little effort in research can discover a study comparing marijuana smoke with tobacco smoke, and here is a source for us laymen with a title, lo and behold:

A comparison of mainstream and sidestream marijuana and tobacco cigarette smoke produced under two machine smoking conditions

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18062674/

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Just a little effort in research can discover a study comparing marijuana smoke with tobacco smoke

The study you bring is not even remotely comparable with what is being reported here, because it only compares the composition of the smoke, without making any conclusions about the difference in harm produced by both sources in the lungs. This is expected because they did not examine even one person for the study, it was done completely by a machine. That means a direct extrapolation would not be valid.

In this case on the contrary they actually looked at the biological effects on smokers which means they can compare the level of harm, that is a much more important evidence because it reflects other factors apart from the composition of the smoke. Saying the composition of the smoke is different in no way means the finding that smoking cannabis is more harmful than tobacco.

here is a source for us laymen with a title, lo and behold:

As usual when you make a comment that you regret you begin to make baseless assumptions about what other people are or not knowing it is against the rules of the site.

Since you have no basis to decide if anybody else but you is a layman on the topic, this means you can only make an appeal to your own lack of expertise, which can explain why you are wrong by thinking a very different study proves the same as the one reported, but it does not make you less wrong for doing it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Yeah, right, a study comparing smoke from marijuana and tobacco is not related to study about smoking cannabis and tobacco.

This is called moving goalposts, your argument was not that there was no related research, your argument was that this study represented "Not much new here." which was easy to disprove. Your source is very different and do not report the same finding as this result, which means this study is actually offering a lot of new information, you contradicting the authors and publishers by an invalid source that obviously is not reporting the same thing means you are still wrong about it.

Let's look again:

So, which part of the reference you brought reports on inflammation and emphysema? you can look as many times as you like so you can bring here those results, else the only logical conclusions is that the reported study here actually has a lot of merit and bring "much new" that was not reported before.

Typical for you take take the "reject it all" approach whenver you are proven wrong.

Since your evidence do not prove your argument (that this report is superfluous and bring nothing new) you have proven nobody wrong here but yourself.

At least now you are no longer pretending to know that everybody else is a layman.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

That's what you call it when someone's evidence contrasts with your personal opinion and you can't attack it head on so you divert from the actual issue.

It is not my personal opinion, is the professional opinion of the authors of the scientific report and the editors and reviewers that found the information new and valuable enough to merit publication, you have been unable to disprove their professional judgment that contradicts your personal opinion that this study offers nothing new, so the excuse you use is to pretend the one disagreeing with you is only me.

They are the ones you have to disprove, which is not something you can do with a very different article that do not report the same things as this.

Didn't you read the report? It's right there. Are you trying to move the goalposts?

That is why I ask you what part, because it is very obvious it does not even mention the physiological effects, the one that apparently did not read the reference was yourself, which is why you can't even discuss it.

Again, when evidence contradicts your claim

What evidence? first bring the conclusions of the reference you brough about the differences in incidence of inflammation and emphysema, that is the evidence you need to validly conclude this report is nothing new.

It's just not true in the medical world.

When you tried to argue that you knew everybody here could not be an expert you recognized you are not one yourself, that means your appeal of authority about what is true or not in the medical world is not valid.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

No one has ever overdosed on marijuarna.

Full on BS!

Children are in every country were cannabis edibles are available.

I posted the articles read!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

They might have been too high - uncomfortably so, but NOT overdosed. It just isn't possible.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For it to be a meaningful study it has to be done under the same conditions, As the article states, weed smokers smoke differently so do the study again under the same conditions, otherwise it's of no real use.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't do drugs.

Stay away from MJ.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Lol, Tom. Cannabis is harmless. It is barely a drug. There is no other medicine which helps my health issue. Do you think I should stop taking THC, and instead go on a combination of harsh drugs and opiate painkillers?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Antique - I use cannabis via tincture and edibles. They are very expensive, even with a medical card. To buy them I need to give photo ID, otherwise I cant even get in the shop. When I get my medicine home it goes into a locked box. No one else can get into it. People need to be more aware of how they keep their edibles, but edibles are not a problem if treated with respect.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One of the things that says to me that cannabis is not the same as other drugs, is that there are many people who are raging alcoholics or hard drug addicts who quite, but are fine with smoking cannabis because it's different. This is contrary to the hysteric propaganda that called it a gateway drug.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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