The health risk of smoking weed and cigarettes… what every toker should know

Blog Post created by Thomas3.20.2010 on Apr 28, 2013

On April 25, 2013 CNN ran an article entitled, “Survey: Young Christians want marijuana legalized”. The article illustrated that in a recent poll conducted by a Public Religion Research Institute survey, thirty-two percent of Christian’s aged 18-29 said they “strongly favor” legalization, while 18% said they “favor” the move.

Its official, even the most ardent conservative viewer of Rupert Murdock’s “Fox News” realizes that within a decade marijuana will be legal or decriminalized in most of America’s 50 states. It’s inevitable.

If you stop and think, it’s not a far stretch of the imagination to believe that throughout the country, more than one federal lawmaker and state governor in the privacy of their home / office, has (in “smoke-full rooms” sweetly scented by the aroma of Febreze’s “Alaskan Springtime”) calculated the potential hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue that marijuana is guaranteed to rake in state wide.

In Colorado and Washington State entrepreneurs are already making a lot of money off a plant named cannabis. Legal Weed Draws Tourists To Colorado, Washington

However, in the jubilation of celebrating a positive change of national attitudes towards smoking pot, marijuana smokers who also smoke tobacco products should be warned: “Smoking both marijuana and cigarettes greatly increases the risk of acquiring COPD,

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive condition with no cure that’s characterized by diseased lungs and narrowed airways. Most cases are caused by prolonged cigarette smoking, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Based upon findings that were published in the April 14, 2009 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, irrefutably, people who smoke cigarettes and marijuana are nearly three times more likely to acquire chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a debilitating condition more commonly known as COPD. However, smoking pot alone doesn’t seem to increase the risk of the deadly lung condition, researchers report.

Lead researcher Dr. Wan Tan, of the University of British Columbia and St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada, supervised a team of fellow medical researchers that collected data on 878 people who participated in the Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) Initiative, which was designed to identify the prevalence of COPD in people over 40.

At the conclusion of the study, Dr. Tan’s team and other researchers discovered that smokers who use both marijuana and tobacco are 2.5 times more likely than nonsmokers to have respiratory disease and almost three times likelier to have COPD.

Dr. Tan: "This combined effect suggests that smoking marijuana - at least in relatively low doses -may act as a primer, or sensitizer, in the airways to amplify the adverse effects of tobacco smoke on respiratory health. Smoking marijuana and cigarettes - even small amounts - is very harmful for your lungs, increasing the risk of COPD by several fold.”

Dr. Norman H. Edelman, a medical consultant to the American Lung Association, said he is inclined to believe that smoking marijuana and cigarettes does increase the risk of contracting COPD, but he also stated that Dr. Tan's research may be somewhat flawed due to insufficient data on the long-term effects of marijuana smoking. Dr. Edelman's opinion is that without a large pool of marijuana smokers to have gathered data from, current medical conclusions could be skewed.

“Canada was a good place to do it as they are more relaxed about pot smoking, and it was likely to be easier to get cooperative subjects,” Edelman said. “The most impressive finding is the synergism between tobacco and marijuana smoking.”

“A modest amount of pot smoking added to cigarette smoking really knocks your lungs for a loop,” Edelman added. “One wonders if this is a chemical synergism or behavioral — those who smoke both pot and tobacco inhale each more deeply than those who smoke only tobacco.”

To learn more about COPD, visit the U.S. Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

As always the New Orleans Examiner is always interested in what you think. Food-for-thought, as marijuana laws become more lax throughout the U.S., will there initially be a significant increase in health problems attributed to smoking both cannabis and cigarettes? Inquiring minds want to know. Sound off.

Until the next time good day, God Bless and good fishing.