Jul 30 - New Study - Weed damages lungs more than tobacco

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Still gonna smokin some marijuana despite this study?

 07-30-2007, 06:51 PM         #1
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Jul 30 - New Study - Weed damages lungs more than tobacco

Cannabis harm worse than tobacco

A single cannabis joint could damage the lungs as much as smoking up to five tobacco cigarettes one after another, scientists in New Zealand have said.

The research, published in the journal Thorax, found cannabis damaged the large airways in the lungs causing symptoms such as coughing and wheezing.

It also damaged the ability of the lungs to get oxygen to, and remove waste products from tissues.

Experts say the study confirms that the drug represents a serious health risk.

In the study researchers from the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, Wakefield Hospital and the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, studied 339 volunteers.

They took CT scans of their lungs and tested their lung function through breathing tests to a*sess their lung damage.

Participants were divided into four groups - cannabis smokers, combined cannabis and tobacco smokers, tobacco smokers, and non-smokers, and gave them a questionnaire on their smoking habits.

Cannabis smokers were included if they had smoked at least one joint per day for at least five years, while tobacco smokers had to have smoked 20 cigarettes per day for one year.

Cannabis smokers reported symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and excessive phlegm production.

The drug also reduced the numbers of small, fine airways that transport oxygen and waste products to and from blood vessels in the lungs.

And it damaged the function of the large airways of the lungs, obstructing air flow and forcing the lungs to work harder, so contributing to symptoms such as coughing, and the development of bronchitis.

The extent of this large airway damage was directly related to the number of joints smoked - the more joints smoked, the more damage was seen.

However, in this study, people who smoked only cannabis were not found to suffer from emphysema, a serious and crippling lung disease which was previously thought to be linked to the drug.


The authors said: "The most important finding was that one joint of cannabis was similar to 2.5 to five tobacco cigarettes in terms of causing airflow obstruction.

They said the impact of cannabis was likely to be due to the way in which cannabis joints are smoked - joints do not usually have filters, and they reach higher temperatures with users inhaling more deeply and holding their breath for longer than cigarette smokers.

The British Lung Foundation welcomed the research, and Dr Keith Prowse, chairman of the foundation said: "This research confirms that cannabis poses a serious health risk to the lungs, and smoking a joint can be more harmful to the lungs than smoking a cigarette.

"It's important to remember, though, that tobacco continues to be more harmful overall because it is typically smoked in much higher quantities than cannabis."

The warnings come after recent research suggested cannabis smokers were 40% more likely than non-users to suffer psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia.

other articles on this study.......

Cannabis joints damage lungs more than tobacco - study

Ian Sample, science correspondent
Tuesday July 31, 2007
The Guardian

A single cannabis joint may cause as much damage to the lungs as five chain-smoked cigarettes, research has found. Medical examinations of cannabis and cigarette smokers found the drug increased specific lung problems, including obstructed airways and hyperinflation, a condition where too much air remains in the lungs when a person exhales.

Smoking one cannabis joint caused damage equivalent to smoking 2.5 to five cigarettes in rapid succession, researchers at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand found. Doctors who carried out the study believe the damage is linked to the difference in the way cannabis is usually smoked, with users inhaling hard, holding their breath for longer and failing to use filters.

The report follows a flurry of confessions from ministers who admitted having used the illegal drug and comes days after a review of cannabis research, published in the Lancet medical journal, revealed that cannabis use may be to blame for 800 cases of serious psychosis in Britain.

The scientists set out to investigate whether smoking cannabis put users at greater risk of developing emphysema, a progressive and potentially fatal lung disease.

A group of 339 volunteers aged 18 to 70 were divided into four groups according to whether they smoked only cannabis, only tobacco, both, or were non-smokers. Each volunteer was then subjected to lung function tests and x-ray scans of their chests to a*sess the level of damage to their lungs and airways.

In the study, published in the journal Thorax, all smokers complained of coughs and wheezing, while only tobacco smokers showed signs of emphysema. Coughing was reduced among people who smoked cannabis and tobacco, possibly because these people smoked pure cannabis joints and so less tobacco leaf.

The extent of lung damage was directly related to the number of joints smoked. "The most important finding was that one joint of cannabis was similar to 2.5 to five tobacco cigarettes in terms of causing airflow obstruction," the authors write. "This pattern is likely to relate to the different characteristics of the cannabis joint and the way in which it is smoked. Cannabis is usually smoked without a filter and to a shorter butt length, and the smoke is a higher temperature," they add.


One cannabis joint has same effect on lungs as five cigarettes

PARIS (AFP) - Smoking a single joint of cannabis has the same impact on breathing capacity as up to five cigarettes, according to a New Zealand study published on Monday in a specialist British journal, Thorax.

Medical Research Institute of New Zealand doctors recruited 339 volunteers, who were divided into four categories -- those who smoked only cannabis, those who smoked only tobacco, those who smoked both, and those who smoked neither.

Cannabis-only smokers were defined as those who had smoked the equivalent of at least one joint a day for five years; tobacco-only smokers were those who had smoked the equivalent of a packet of cigarettes a day for at least a year.

All the participants were scanned by computed tomography (CT) to get a high-definition image of their lungs and were given tests to a*sess their airflow, the term for their respiratory efficiency.

The most serious damage was found in tobacco smokers -- both tobacco-only and combined users -- who were the only volunteers to have emphysema, a degenerative and crippling lung disease.

Cannabis smokers had lighter symptoms, such as wheeze, cough, chest tightness and phlegm, which tobacco smokers also had.

But the CT scan also revealed that, among cannabis smokers, fine damage had occurred to their lungs. This had happened in small fine airways that are important for bringing in oxygen and taking away waste gases. As a result, their lungs had to work harder.

The extent of the damage rose in proportion to the number of joints that had been smoked.

In statistical terms, each joint that was smoked was the equivalent of smoking between two and a half and five cigarettes in one go for impairing lung efficiency.

The researchers, led by Richard Beasley, said the discovery of this hazard is "of major public health significance" given that cannabis is the most widely-used illegal drug worldwide.

According to the 2006 report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, an estimated 160 million people use cannabis, also called marijuana.

Beasley suggests that the reason for cannabis' heavy toll on the lungs stems the fact that joints are usually smoked without a filter and are smoked down as far as possible, which means the smoke is hotter when it arrives in the lungs.

In addition, cannabis users tend to inhale smoke more deeply and then hold their breath in order to get a bigger "high".

On Saturday, a study published in the British journal The Lancet said there was now clear evidence of a link between cannabis smoking and mental ill-health.

also check this out from a couple days ago

'Cannabis doubles psychosis risk'

3.55, Fri Jul 27 2007

Regular use of cannabis can more than double the chances of suffering psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia, scientists have found.

The data, complied from 35 different studies and published in The Lancet, shows that taking the drug just once increases the risk of mental illness by 41 per cent. For frequent users, this rose to between 50 per cent and 200 per cent.

Scientists found heavy cannabis users were the most likely to suffer a psychotic breakdown marked by delusions, hallucinations or disordered thoughts.


Last edited by Stop Showin Off; 07-30-2007 at 07:20 PM..


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