- One study found a higher rate of emphysema among marijuana smokers compared to age-matched tobacco smokers.
- The study’s author told Insider that she worries that smoking marijuana is no safer than cigarettes.
- The results indicate that smoking marijuana and cigarettes is more harmful than smoking tobacco itself.
A small study found higher rates EmphysemaLung disease that causes shortness of breath, among them Marijuana smokers compared to tobacco smokers of the same age. The study suggests that using marijuana and tobacco together may be more harmful than tobacco alone.
Dr. Giselle RevahA cardiothoracic radiologist at The Ottawa Hospital and the lead author of the study looked at chest CT scans at The Ottawa Hospital from 2005 to 2020 and identified 56 patients who reported using marijuana.
Most of it Marijuana Users – 50 out of 56 patients – smoked cigarettes. She compared them with 33 tobacco-only smokers and 57 non-smokers.
The age of tobacco-only smokers was higher because Reva collected these patient chest CTs through her hospital. Lung cancer Screening event, for patients over 50 self-reported as heavy smokers. Marijuana smokers in her sample tended to have a chest CT for reasons unrelated to emphysema.
When the radiologist matched tobacco-only smokers with age-matched marijuana smokers, marijuana smokers had a higher rate of emphysema: 93% (28 of 30) compared with 67% of age-matched tobacco smokers.
The radiologists found that marijuana users in general – including young people who were not exposed to even a little smoke – had a significantly higher rate of paraseptal emphysema, which affects the tiny tubes that connect the air sacs of the lungs.
The way marijuana smokers use the drug can damage the air sacs. Marijuana users take long inhales and hold in smoke for longer periods of time, which can cause pressure changes to irritate the lung’s air sacs, Reva told Insider.
“The overall message of the study is that there’s this public perception that marijuana is safe; people believe it’s safer than cigarettes,” Reva said. “And this study raises concerns that maybe marijuana isn’t as safe as everyone thinks, and ultimately suggests that we need more robust research before we can draw any general conclusions.”
The paper sheds light on the under-researched health effects of marijuana. The literature on chest CTs for marijuana smokers is sparse, Reva said, because Canada only legalized the drug in 2018. The US has not legalized cannabis nationwide. Funding for marijuana research It involves difficult legal measures.
Lung doctors told Insider that more research is needed on the health effects Marijuana use.
Dr. Philip DiazA pulmonary disease physician at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, who was not involved in the study, said the majority of marijuana smokers in the study were smokers, adding that both marijuana and cigarette smoking increase the risk of lung damage. But Diaz stressed that the results of the small study should not be overestimated.
“You really don’t want to obscure the fact that smoking is the problem,” Diaz told Insider.
Reva said she is working on a prospective study that will ask how much marijuana patients use, and hopes a larger study will confirm her results.
Dr. Albert RizzoThe American Lung Association’s chief medical officer told Insider scientists and doctors need a thorough study of the long-term health effects of marijuana, especially when the drug is consumed quickly. It will be legal in all US states..
“I think this study is good to try to show or support that the use of marijuana in aviation leads to problems, emphysema is among them,” Rizzo told Insider. “Smoking marijuana is not safe, and we don’t really know what the long-term effects of smoking marijuana are.”