One cannabis joint is as bad as five cigarettes
RESEARCH CONFIRMS CANNABIS POSES SERIOUS HEALTH RISK TO LUNGS
The British Lung Foundation welcomes research published in the journal Thorax highlighting the dangers cannabis poses to the lungs.
â€œThis research confirms that cannabis poses a serious health risk to the lungs and smoking a joint can be more harmful to the lungs than smoking a cigaretteâ€, says Dr Keith Prowse, Chairman of the British Lung Foundation. â€œIt’s important to remember, though, that tobacco continues to be more harmful overall because it is typically smoked in much higher quantities than cannabis.â€
One of the reasons a cannabis joint can be more dangerous than a cigarette is that people tend to inhale the smoke more deeply as well as then holding it in for longer.
Reuters reported that smoking one cannabis joint is as harmful to a person’s lungs as having up to five cigarettes, according to research published on Tuesday.
Those who smoked cannabis damaged both the lungs’ small fine airways, used for transporting oxygen, and the large airways, which blocked air flow, the researchers said.
It meant cannabis smokers complained of wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness, the study by experts at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand found.
The study found only those who smoked tobacco suffered from the crippling lung disease emphysema, but cannabis use stopped the lungs working properly.
"The extent of this damage was directly related to the number of joints smoked, with higher consumption linked to greater incapacity," said the authors of the report published in the medical journal Thorax.
"The effect on the lungs of each joint was equivalent to smoking between 2.5 and five cigarettes in one go."
â€œThe danger cannabis poses to respiratory health is consistently being overlooked,â€ says Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation. â€œSmoking a joint is more harmful to the lungs than smoking a cigarette and we have just banned people from doing that in public places because of the health risks.â€
In a 2002 report, the British Lung Foundation estimated that three to four cannabis cigarettes a day were associated with the same amount of damage to the lungs as 20 or more tobacco cigarettes a day. The British Lung Foundation also called for more awareness of the issue.
The BLF are calling for:
- A public health campaign to make young people fully aware about the increased risk of lung infections and respiratory cancers
- Further research into potential links between cannabis smoking and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – an umbrella term for conditions including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Research; Sarah Aldington, Mathew Williams, Mike Nowitz, Mark Weatherall, Alison Pritchard, Amanda McNaughton, Geoffrey Robinson and Richard Beasley. THE EFFECTS OF CANNABIS ON PULMONARY STRUCTURE, FUNCTION AND SYMPTOMS. Thorax, July 2007.