Cannabis by itself is not bad for your lungs, but smoking it is. Smoking weed leads to the deposit of four times the amount of tar than smoking tobacco, and may increase the risk of lung cancer.
Smoking anything is bad for your lungs. That’s because when you smoke, you’re inhaling burned plant matter and chemicals. These chemicals include toxins and carcinogens which can damage your lung tissue.
According to the American Lung Association, smoking weed can result in:
- Acute bronchitis
- Air pockets in between both lungs
- Air pocket in between the lungs and the chest wall
- Chronic bronchitis
- Chronic cough
- Increased risk for respiratory conditions
- Injury to the cell linings of the large airways
- Killing lung cells that defend against dust and germs resulting in the development of mucus
- Large air bubbles in the lungs of young to middle-aged adults who are heavy weed smokers
- Lower respiratory tract infections
- Phlegm production
- Risk of infection if the smoker has an immunosuppressive disease such as HIV infection
- Risk of infection if the smoker on immunosuppressive drugs
- Weakened immune system
Is there tar in marijuana?
Tar is a sticky substance that’s left behind when plants are burned. It’s made up of chemicals and toxins that can damage your lung tissue. When you smoke weed, you’re inhaling tar.
Cannabis smokers tend to have more tar build-up in their lungs than tobacco smokers. This is because they usually hold the smoke in their lungs for longer than tobacco smokers. This increases the amount of time that harmful chemicals are in contact with the lung tissue resulting in more tar exposure.
The answer to the question you’ve been wondering, “Is weed bad for your lungs” is that weed itself is not bad for your lungs, but smoking weed is bad for your lungs.
Can smoking weed damage your lungs?
Yes, smoking cannabis damages human lungs. Researchers at the University of Otago have found that “prolonged cannabis use led to over-inflated lungs and increased the resistance to airflow to a greater extent than tobacco.”
This finding was particularly eye-opening as it suggested that impaired oxygen extraction, which is the result of over-inflated lungs and lungs resistant to airflow, may be precursor symptoms to the condition respiratory doctors refer to as Bong Lung.
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Bong Lung is a very severe form of emphysema, a disorder in which the lungs’ air sacs are harmed and swelled, producing breathlessness. Very little is known about Bong Lung except for that it is a condition that appears in chronic weed smoker lungs.
The lungs of a weed smoker, especially a chronic weed smoker, become impaired over time. Weed smoke harms lung tissue which leads to scarring, injury to the small blood vessels, and respiratory issues.
Can you get lung cancer from smoking weed?
A research report published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that cannabis smoke can result in heavy coughing due to irritation in the throat and lungs. Coughing after smoking weed is due to the toxic chemicals and tar in the smoke, many of which are similar to the harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke.
While long-term studies on smoking weed and the prevalence of lung cancer do not exist yet, researchers believe there could be a correlation between lung cancer and smoking weed.
Can smoking weed cause lung cancer?
Cannabis contains the following carcinogenic compounds:
- Vinyl chlorides
Each of the carcinogens listed above is found in cannabis smoke at higher rates than in tobacco smoke. Benzoprene and Benzanthracene are particularly alarming. The rate of benzoprene found in cannabis smoke is 50% more than that found in tobacco smoke. The rate of benzanthracene is 75% more than that found in tobacco smoke.
In addition, cannabis smokers tend to smoke weed by taking long slow steady deep inhalations that are held longer than tobacco smoke leading consumers to deposit an average of four times the amount of tar than they would expose themselves to from tobacco smoke.
This leads many researchers to believe that the answer to the question “Can you get lung cancer from smoking weed” is “Yes.”
Key takeaways: how does smoking weed affect lungs?
- The lungs of a weed smoker become impaired over time, leading to respiratory issues.
- Smoking weed leads to the deposit of four times the amount of tar than smoking tobacco.
- Smoking weed may increase the risk of lung cancer.
- Cannabis is not bad for your lungs but smoking weed is bad for your lungs.
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Sam Anderson is the content Director at Jointly, a cannabis wellness company powered by a proprietary data platform to help people reach their full potential. The company was created on the premise that purposeful cannabis consumption is the key to unlocking a better you. This article originally appeared on Jointly and has been reposted with permission.