2016-09-23 14:02:14

Medicinal and recreational marijuana laws now make it possible for people to legally smoke cannabis. The question is--should they?
The risks associated with smoking tobacco are widely known. But is smoking marijuana just as dangerous?

One study says no.


About the Study

A team of researchers recently took a look at the overall level of health of 1037 study participants, all of whom were regular marijuana smokers. The group consisted of individuals who began smoking cannabis at age 18 and continued to smoke regularly until they were 38 years old. As a part of the study, the team looked at the overall level of health of the participants when they were 18, 21, 26, 32 and 38 years of age.


What the Study Found

Based on the data analyzed, the JAMA Psychiatry article concludes that smoking marijuana for 20 years did not increase the risk of lung disease or lung cancer. This verifies the belief that smoking cannabis is less toxic to the body than cigarette smoking; whereas previous studies in the past have shown that 20 years of tobacco use does increase one's likelihood of developing one of these serious, potentially fatal conditions.

That's not to say that the individuals did not have any ill effects from smoking weed for 20 years. The researchers found that gum disease was incredibly common among the group. Smoking tobacco also increases the risk of gum disease.

It should be noted that gum disease is a rather common health problem. About one-third of all Americans do not floss regularly, putting them at an increased risk for the condition. While gum disease is serious in that it can lead to tooth loss, and potentially make a person more likely to develop heart disease, it is very treatable, especially if it is caught early.

Diagram showing smoking side effects and damage it does to the body

Protecting Your Gums

So what if you want to reap the benefits of cannabis without risking your gum health? Using a marijuana vaporizer like a cannabis vape pen or a portable dry herb vaporizer could be better for your gums. While there has yet to be a study on how an herb or wax vaporizer pen affects gum health, there is proof that marijuana vapor contains fewer toxins than there are in marijuana smoke.

The most important thing that you can do for your gums, though, is to floss and see your dentist regularly; regardless of whether or not you make the decision to use marijuana medicinally, under the supervision of a doctor, or recreationally in a place where it’s legal to do so.


Is Marijuana Smoke Healthier Than Tobacco Smoke?


References: archpsyc.jamanetwork.com | cdc.gov

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