At this point, the medicinal benefits of cannabis are widely accepted, with even CNN’s top doctor touting its positives and NIDA opening up to discussing its therapeutic value. However, one sticking point remains: is it safe to smoke? As noted by Medical Daily, “if smoking cigarettes, or basically anything else, can damage the lungs, then the smoke from marijuana should as well.”
Although that may seem like a very common sense position and is the main reason cited by Governor Cuomo for why New York State won’t have a cool medical weed program like in other states, a new Emory University study indicates that moderate amounts of smoked herbals DO NOT fuck up the lungs as much as preciously thought, according to science:
In a cross-sectional analysis using data from two rounds of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), researchers found that adults aged 18 to 59 who smoked one marijuana cigarette — aka joint — a day were still able to forcibly exhale the same volume of air in one second (known as forced expiratory volume, or FEV1) as someone who didn’t smoke marijuana. Measuring a person’s ability to exhale is called spirometry, and it’s the go-to method for diagnosing respiratory diseases, which impair lung function.
Marijuana users who smoked joints were also more likely to report minor bronchitis-like symptoms such as cough and sore throat, Mic reported. These effects appeared less often in smokers who used vaporizers, which heat the marijuana up just enough to release the active chemicals without combusting them. That meant it probably wasn’t the marijuana that caused the symptoms, but the papers the participants used to roll their joints.
And apparently it’s not the only study of this type. There has been previous research with similar results:
The current studies findings echo results from previous research. In one study from 2012, researchers found that people who smoked weed each day for seven years experienced no adverse effects to pulmonary function. In another study from 2013, researcher Donald P. Tashkin, from the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, found “habitual use of marijuana alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function when assessed either cross-sectionally or longitudinally, except for possible increases in lung volumes and modest increases in airway resistance of unclear clinical significance.
Thanks for the study, smart people, but is there any way one of the authors involved in the research can take a moment and let the governor know about these latest findings before he fucks up New York’s medical pot?
(Photo: Pablo Mirano)