It has been postulated for a long time that marijuana smoke is far less harmful than cigarette smoke. With so many obscure and different toxinogens entering the lungs with each puff of a cigarette, it’s easy to see why.
Don’t get it twisted, marijuana smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals, too. Many conservatives use this information to bash national marijuana legalization, ignoring the fact that the much more harmful cigarette smoke is legal while marijuana, nationally, still is not.
UCLA professor emeritus of medicine Dr. Donald Tashkin may have just flipped the script on the association between harmful chemicals in marijuana smoke and lung cancer.
Marijuana Safer Than Tobacco
Dr. Tashkin’s published study of the effects of marijuana smoke did, indeed, find toxic chemicals in the inhaled smoke. After an extensive study period involving nearly 2500 test subjects, however, Tashkin found no positive association between smoking marijuana and lung cancer.
Conversely, cigarette smoke has been associated up to a 90% association with future lung cancer in a variety of age, sex, and locational demographics.
Marijuana has also long been known as an anti-inflammatory drug, since the THC in marijuana binds with receptors that trigger a response from the brain to reduce swelling to a specific area of the body.
Because of this, Dr. Tashkin hypothesizes, marijuana has no correlation to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) later in life. Cigarettes – you guessed it – are by contrast largely correlated to COPD later in life.
This means while marijuana smoke may have cancer-causing chemicals contained within it, the anti-inflammatory and suppressive effects far outweigh them.
Furthermore, these cancer-causing chemicals do not prove to cause cancer later in life when smoking marijuana, so one could say they have no effect on the human body.
The anti-inflammatory and suppressive responses from the brain while smoking marijuana, in contrast, are shown to have a large effect not only on cancer patients, but healthy tokers, as well.