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Study: Long Term Cannabis Exposure “Not Associated With Significant Effects On Lung Function”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director January 14, 2015

    Study: Long Term Cannabis Exposure Not Associated With Significant Effects On Lung FunctionThe inhalation of one marijuana cigarette per day over a 20-year period is not associated with adverse changes in lung health, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

    Investigators at Emory University in Atlanta assessed marijuana smoke exposure and lung health in a large representative sample of US adults age 18 to 59. Researchers reported that cannabis exposure was not associated with FEV1 (forced expiratory volume) decline or deleterious change in spirometric values of small airways disease.

    Authors further reported that marijuana smoke exposure may even be associated with some protective lung effects among long-term smokers of tobacco. Investigators acknowledged, “[T]he pattern of marijuana’s effects seems to be distinctly different when compared to that of tobacco use.”

    Researchers also acknowledged that habitual cannabis consumers were more likely to self-report increased symptoms of bronchitis, a finding that is consistent with previous literature. Separate studies indicate that subjects who vaporize cannabis report fewer adverse respiratory symptoms than do those who inhale combustive marijuana smoke.

    Authors concluded, “[I]n a large representative sample of US adults, ongoing use of marijuana is associated with increased respiratory symptoms of bronchitis without a significant functional abnormality in spirometry, and cumulative marijuana use under 20 joint-years is not associated with significant effects on lung function.”

    This study is the largest cross-sectional analysis to date examining the relationship between marijuana use and spirometric parameters of lung health.

    A separate study published in 2012 in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) similarly reported that cumulative marijuana smoke exposure over a period of up to 7 joint-years (the equivalent of up to one marijuana cigarette per day for seven years) was not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function.

    A 2013 review also published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society acknowledged that marijuana smoke exposure was not positively associated with the development of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, or bullous lung disease. It concluded: “[H]abitual use of marijuana alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function. Findings from a limited number of well-designed epidemiological studies do not suggest an increased risk of either lung or upper airway cancer from light or moderate use. … Overall, the risks of pulmonary complications of regular use of marijuana appear to be relatively small and far lower than those of tobacco smoking.”

    You may view an abstract of the study, “Effects of marijuana exposure on expiratory airflow: A study of adults who participated in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Study,” here.

    33 Responses to “Study: Long Term Cannabis Exposure “Not Associated With Significant Effects On Lung Function””

    1. Julian says:

      This study is a brand of murder placed on the authors and defenders of the C.S.Act, the drug czar, the ONDCP, and the DEA.
      And begs the question: What about vaporized marijuana? Can we measure the benefits of lung health in a professional study?

    2. Dan says:

      I have smoked more than a joint of ganja a day for 30+ years, and am consistently healthy, and regionally ranked road runner for many of those years. My lungs feel great and doctors detect no abnormalities at all.
      Legalize it!

    3. Galileo Galilei says:

      “Authors further reported that marijuana smoke exposure may even be associated with some protective lung effects among long-term smokers of tobacco. Investigators acknowledged, “[T]he pattern of marijuana’s effects seems to be distinctly different when compared to that of tobacco use.””

      The last I heard smoking both weeds increased the risk of cancer. The carcinogenic effects of tobacco overwhelmed the anti-tumor effects of marijuana, I assumed. I wonder if vaporizing just the marijuana would help against the carcinogenic effects of tobacco. I would think anyone who vaporized one would also vaporize the other, though.

      I’m 65 and still run win sprints on occasion. I’m not going to make the US Olympic team, but it’s wonderful to still be able to run like a kid at my age.

    4. Quality produce is essential as well, don’t want to be consuming marijuana with pesticides, fungus, mould or pumped full of chemicals.

    5. Eric K. Johnson says:

      Cannabis is an adaptogen.

      Many herbs are adaptogens that help maintain or re-establish homeostasis in Humans.

      Ginseng is another well known adaptogen.

      Cannabis is an herbal health supplement.

      I demand my right to grow cannabis be legally recognized.

    6. Eric K. Johnson says:

      Many years ago ,I trained alongside an Olympic Weight lifter who won a Bronze Medal at the Olympics…and who also consumed cannabis on a regular basis in order to help recuperate after training sessions.

      Believe you me when I tell you it takes quite a bit of lung power to throw 500+ pounds overhead!

    7. Odhinn says:

      Has anyone seen this, most recent, study on the effects of marijuana on the brain? I think stoners could see this all along: republicans don’t have the capacity for lateral thought.

      http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/blog_page/study-shows-marijuanas-long-term-effects-on-the-brain

    8. Odhinn says:

      One of the arguments I loved from the haters was, “marijuana is dangerous because of the WAY you smoke it: you TOKE and HOLD it in. Yeah, because your laws make it black-market expensive….

    9. mexweed says:

      We need some regionally ranked road runner or untimid writer with a good grasp of medical jargon to persuade the American Thoracic Society to lay aside obsolete “one Joint a day” surveys and research the advantages of

      (A) vaporizers, which generally start at $40, and

      (B) a CHEAPLY MADE $1.29 DIY Flexdrawtube One-hitter which divides any typical 500-mg joint into twenty (20) rational 25-mg Single Vapetokes, which could be spread out over a week and still provide brilliant Creative Paranoia results (More Marley, Less Monoxide).

      Of course the $igarette Empire Oligarchy has sneaky ways to deny funding to any marijuana researchers who don’t copy the old roll-up-papers script– “To children whose parents followed advice to keep them ignorant about cannabis, every Joint, every picture of a Joint and every mention of Joint in a scholarly publication is a $igarette adverti$ement.”

    10. Mark I. says:

      I smoke far less medical grade cannabis than I do when I have to settle for what is available on the black market. Eating cannabis does wonders for my circulation and blood pressure.

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