A 20-year study done in the US suggests that marijuana does not cause any long-term damage to the lungs of those who smoke the drug. Unlike cigarettes that have long been proven hazardous to one’s respiratory system specifically in the lungs, light marijuana use is surprisingly safe as far as the lungs are concerned.
The study is one of the first to dispel the information that marijuana smoking carries risks such as lung diseases for those who use it.
Yet senior author of the study Stefan Kerzer says that the warning is still up for heavy weed smoking as health risks associated with the activity is still difficult to determine.
“Marijuana is still an illegal drug, and it has many complicated effects on the human body and its function. In our findings we see hints of harm in pulmonary function with heavy use, and other studies have shown that marijuana use increases a user’s likelihood of a heart attack… and impairs the immune system’s ability to fight disease.”
The study spanned the years 1985 to 2006 with 5,000 participants aged 18 to 30 from four cities in the United States. Researchers were not able to record any lung damage to participants who smoked pot once in a daily basis for the last seven years.
“With up to seven joint-years of life-time exposure, we found no evidence that increasing exposure to marijuana adversely affects pulmonary function,” the proponents of the study claimed.
Comparing the data gathered from marijuana smokers to that of tobacco users, tobacco users’ lungs deteriorated over the years while that of pot smokers even showed slight functional improvement.
Marijuana is considered the most common type of illicit drug abused by more than 16.7 million Americans aged 12 and older. At present, medical marijuana laws are in effect in 16 states which make marijuana a legal substance in these areas.