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

monly reported 37 percent said they used marijuana at some point during the study. This is similar, the researchers say, to what many Americans have said in other national surveys.

As part of the CARDIA protocol, participants' lung function was measured for air flow and lung volume at years 0, 2, 5, 10 and 20 using standard pulmonary function tests. The air flow measure is the amount of air you can blow out of your lungs in one second after taking the deepest breath possible. The volume measure is the total amount of air you can blow out after taking the deepest breath possible.

Lead author, Mark J. Pletcher, M.D., of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who led the statistical analysis, says what sets this study apart from any others is both the number of participants and duration of the study.

"This is not the first study to show that marijuana has a complicated relationship with lung function. However, the size of the study and the long duration of follow-up help us to paint a clearer picture of the ways in which the relationship changes over time," he says.

As a final note, Kertesz clarified that the study did not examine other ways in which smoking marijuana could affect a person's health and insisted this study does not advocate the use of marijuana.

"Marijuana is still an illegal drug, and it has many complicated effects on the human body and its function," he says. "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, according to the American Heart Association, and impairs the immune system's ability to fight disease, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse."


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Contact: Jennifer Lollar
jpark@uab.edu
205-934-3888
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Source:Eurekalert

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