Study finds moderate marijuana use doesn’t harm lungs

Marijuana and Lungs

Occasional pot smokers show no signs of lung damage, in contrast to cigarette smokers, according to a 20-year study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

The study, which was released Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association, included more than 5,000 young adults in the United States, who were assessed between 1986 and 2006. The researchers, however, said the study did not evaluate the effects of heavy marijuana smoking on the lungs.

While marijuana smoke contains many of the same components in tobacco smoke, it does not carry the same risks for lung disease. In fact, those light to moderate pot smokers actually had improvements in some measurements of lung function. It’s not clear why that is so, but it’s possible that the major psychoactive compound in cannabis, known as THC, makes the difference.

It is important to note that the findings of this study are not meant to encourage using this substance. While marijuana may have beneficial effects on pain control, appetite, and glaucoma, it likely increases the risk of testicular cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, and the risk of leukemia in the offspring of women who use it during pregnancy.