Cannabis Smoke Vs Tobacco Smoke: Which Is Worse?

Cannabis smoke is a lot less harmful to your health than tobacco smoke, new research has confirmed.

It was found that cannabis smoke could be associated with an increased risk of bronchitis, but isn’t a likely cause of small airway injury, lung disease, lung cancer, or COPD.  

The research, published in the journal Medical Clinics of North America, found cannabis smoke to be “distinctly different from tobacco” and that there doesn’t appear to be a link between cannabis smoke exposure and an elevated risk of pulmonary diseases. 

Long-term health 

Smoking cigarettes can cause significant damage to a person’s long-term health, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and lung disease. 

In fact, in the UK around 78,000 people die every year from smoking tobacco cigarettes and 7 out of every 10 lung cancer cases are caused by tobacco.  

Many still think of smoking cannabis in the same bracket as tobacco smoke exposure. However, recent investigations have found that it is still yet to be linked with the same health-related issues as tobacco. 

The study

Researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences examined data on the potential impact of cannabis exposure on a person’s pulmonary health. 

Authors from this recent study concluded:  

“The data on cannabis contrast starkly with the consistent demonstration of injury from tobacco, the greatest legalized killer in the world today.  

“Any possible toxicity of cannabis pales in comparison.” 

Previous research

This conclusion also coincides with many other statements made in prior reviews of the potential health risks of tobacco and cannabis smoke exposure. 

For example, this 2018 review by Breathe concluded: “The long-term respiratory effects of cannabis differ from traditional smoking. … [C]annabis smoking does not appear to be carcinogenic.” 

And other research published in the Harm Reduction Journal also read: 

“In conclusion, while both tobacco and cannabis smoke have similar properties chemically, their pharmacological activities differ greatly. Components of cannabis smoke minimize some carcinogenic pathways whereas tobacco smoke enhances some.” 

“Current knowledge does not suggest that cannabis smoke will have a carcinogenic potential comparable to that resulting from exposure to tobacco smoke.” 

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