According a new study in the journal Addiction, exposure to marijuana doesn’t negatively impact the lungs in a manner consistent with tobacco. Furthermore, it isn’t linked to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or lung cancer.
The New Zealand researchers reported that “the effects of smoking cannabis on the lungs are distinct from tobacco,” NORML reported.
“[I]t has been pragmatic to assume that cannabis and tobacco would have similar respiratory effects… the research that has been done, however, offers a different story,” they wrote. “The most common serious respiratory consequences from smoking tobacco are Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and lung cancer. Epidemiological evidence that smoking cannabis causes either of these is scant.”
The researchers did report that marijuana smoke exposure is associated with higher rates of chronic bronchitis, cough, pneumonia and sputum production.
“An association between cannabis and lung cancer remains unproven, with studies providing conflicting findings,” the researchers concluded.