Marijuana smokers are breathing easier than cigarette smokers, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal of the American Medical Association. While most studies on marijuana’s effects on lung capacity have been positive, there are contradictory results. However, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Alabama at Birmingham most recently found that lung capacity didn’t deteriorate in pot smokers.
The study examined over 5,100 men and women over 20 years – from March 1985 to August 2006 – and measured lung function in marijuana smokers, cigarette smokers, and those who smoked both. The effects of tobacco and cannabis were calculated separately and the results showed that, unlike cigarette smokers’ test scores, lung capacity in marijuana smokers did not deteriorate. In fact, it slightly improved.
Scientists have theorized that this is due to THC containing immunosuppressant properties that could prevent respiratory issues like COPD from developing.
Of course, along with the study comes the obligatory warning not to take the results from 20 years of research to heart. “Marijuana is a complicated substance, and for people … thinking about using marijuana or believing it can help medically, their decision should not be based on lung consideration … it’s not a decision about lung health, it’s all the other issues: the risk of addiction, an increase in the chance of having accidents and social function.”
As scientific research continues to affirm that cannabis is one of the most benign substances known to man, the scientific community continues to warn about its possible dangers. Nonetheless, this is a very detailed study with very positive results for pot smokers.