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News (Media Awareness Project) - US OH: Edu: Marijuana Less Harmful To Lung Tissue
Title:US OH: Edu: Marijuana Less Harmful To Lung Tissue
Published On:2012-01-25
Source:News Record, The (U of Cincinnati, OH Edu)
Fetched On:2012-01-28 06:01:53

Studies Show That While Smoking Marijuana Can Help to Open Up The
Lungs, It Can Have More Toxins Than Smoking Cigarettes.

Two recent studies have found that while smoking marijuana can help to
open up the lungs, it can have more toxins than smoking cigarettes.

For more than 20 years, the University of California, San Francisco
and the University of Alabama have been collecting research and
medical data on marijuana smoke in relation to tobacco smoke and its
comparative effects on the human respiratory system.

The study collected medical data from 5,115 men and women from

Final results show that with smoking cannabis over time, airflow rate
actually increased rather than decreased, and lung volume was not
affected, Kertesz said.

The study measured two functions of the lungs, including airflow rate,
the speed in which a person can blow out air, lung volume, oxygen
intake and healthy breathing.

"Essentially with tobacco, the more you use, the more loss you have
with both air flow rate and lung volume," said Dr. Stefan Kertesz,
associate professor at the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

The findings surprised professors and researchers, but one factor that
helped give credibility was the typical amount smoked of each

Cigarette smokers on average smoke approximately 10 to 20 per day,
whereas the average cannabis smoker smokes a joint per day, Kertesz said.

Though Kertesz's research suggests cannabis smoke to be less harmful,
reports published in Canada's Chemical Research in Toxicology in 2007
found it having higher toxin levels than cigarettes.

The study found that smoke from 30 joints contained 20 times the
amount of ammonia than smoke from 30 cigarettes.

Levels of hydrogen cyanide and nitrogen-related chemicals were three
to five times higher in cannabis than tobacco.

UCSF and UA results provide support behind medical marijuana, with
positive effects such as increased airflow rate, suppressing nausea
and controlling pain, but marijuana holds its own risks.

"Our findings suggest that occasional use of marijuana for these or
other purposes may not be associated with adverse consequences on
pulmonary function," said Dr. Mark Pletcher, professor at the UCSF.

The study's lead authors note that heavy marijuana use is still
believed to decrease lung capacity, but they admit that very few
participants were heavy smokers and could not draw a direct
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