Asthma/AllergyCoughMarijuana (Cannabinoids)

Comparing cannabis vs cigarettes on the lungs

Professor Richard Beasley from the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand has studied the effects of marijuana on the lungs.

For chronic users, smoking just 1 joint is as bad for the lungs as 2.5 to 5 cigarettes.

First, the details.

  • Adults were recruited into 4 smoking groups.
  • Cannabis only
  • Tobacco only
  • Combined cannabis and tobacco
  • Non-smokers of either substance
  • Their respiratory status was assessed using high-resolution CT scanning, pulmonary function tests, and a respiratory and smoking questionnaire.

And, the results taken from the Medscape review

  • Cannabis smoking was associated with an increased risk of wheeze, chest tightness, and cough.
  • Cannabis smokers had twice the risk of chronic bronchitis.
  • They had a 70% increased risk of asthma diagnosed after age 16 years.

The bottom line?
“Long-term cannabis smoking increases the risk of lung damage, causing both asthma and chronic bronchitis,” Dr. Beasley said.

Smoking 1 cannabis joint causes as much damage to the lung as 2.5 to 5 tobacco cigarettes.

12/15/07 09:18 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.