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Marijuana smoke not as damaging to lungs as cigarette smoke
Date:1/10/2012

ly seen in Americans, occasional marijuana use was associated with increases in lung air flow rates and increases in lung capacity," Kertesz says. "Those increases were not large, but they were statistically significant. And the data showed that even up to moderately high-use levels one joint a day for seven years there is no evidence of decreased air-flow rates or lung volumes."

Kertesz cautions that smoking marijuana is not an avenue to better lung health.

"It's not enough of an increase that would make you feel better," he says "Healthy adults can blow out 3 to 4 liters of air in one second. The amount of gain, on average, from marijuana is small, 50 ccs or roughly a fifth of a can of coke. So it's not something that would be noticeable."

Also, Kertesz says, the increase does not hold steadfast over time.

"The relationship changes for people who get to high levels of lifetime exposure," he says. "At that point, the data suggests there is a decline in lung air-flow rate. There also may be other damaging effects that don't manifest until extremely high levels of exposure; we did not have enough very heavy marijuana smokers in this study to determine this."

To perform their analysis, Kertesz and a research team from other universities looked at data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study. CARDIA, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, is a long-term research project involving more than 5,000 black and white men and women from Birmingham, Chicago, Minneapolis and Oakland, designed to examine the development and determinants of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors. Participants were recruited when they were ages 18-30 and followed from 1985 to 2006.

The researchers looked closely at the reported use of both marijuana and tobacco and asked participants repeatedly during years of follow-up about their use of these substances. Marijuana and tobacco use were both com
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Contact: Jennifer Lollar
jpark@uab.edu
205-934-3888
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Source:Eurekalert

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