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January 10th, 2012
05:11 PM ET

Study: Occasional pot smoking not as damaging as cigarettes

Science has shown the dangers of cigarette smoking on lungs– smoking undermines lung function, causes lung cancer and long-term breathing problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  But what about smoking marijuana?

Researchers sought to determine whether exposure to marijuana smoke, which contains many of the same components in cigarette smoke, would also show negative effects on lung function.

They were surprised to find that subjects who occasionally smoked pot – meaning two to three times per month – did not show the same reduced lung function that was seen in cigarette smoking. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Using data from a 20 year study designed to measure heart disease called the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, researchers analyzed data from more than 5,000 men and women, aged 18 to 30, from four U.S. cities.

Participants from Oakland, Chicago, Minneapolis and Birmingham were repeatedly measured for pulmonary function, height, smoking behavior, and waist circumference and asked about cigarette and marijuana smoking during each assessment.

“There are well known effects of tobacco on pulmonary function and we thought, going into this, that we would find similar types of effects for marijuana,” said lead study author Dr. Mark J. Pletcher of the University of California, San Francisco.

As expected, his team found among cigarette smokers, the more smoke a subject was exposed to, the more adverse effects they had in lung function. Lung function was measured with spirometry testing, which shows the amount of air a person can forcibly exhale, giving  doctors a measure of how well the lungs are functioning.

But Pletcher notes that his team was surprised to find that subjects who smoked limited amounts of marijuana actually were able to blow large volumes of air into the spirometer. 

“People who smoke marijuana inhale very deeply, which may strengthen the muscles used for inhalation – basically making them good at the test. So even though it’s a very statistically significant result, it probably doesn’t have any physiologic meaning in terms of function,” he explained. 

Subjects who smoked larger amounts of marijuana, which Pletcher described as smoking one joint per day, did show evidence of reduced pulmonary function, and he stressed that his study results are not intended to encourage people to use marijuana. 

However, for patients for whom medical marijuana may be a treatment option, the authors write that "marijuana may have beneficial effects on pain control, appetite, mood, and management of other chronic symptoms.  Our findings suggest that occasional use of marijuana for these or other purposes may not be associated with adverse consequences on pulmonary function.  It is much more difficult to estimate the potential effects of regular heavy use... our findings do suggest an accelerated decline in pulmonary function with heavy use."

It’s important to note that the findings of this study are not meant to encourage marijuana smoking, nor did the study examine other known negative effects of marijuana use, which include problems with memory, concentration and perception.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Long term use of marijuana can lead to addiction, and chronic marijuana use is associated with mental health problems including anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that when marijuana use begins at a younger age, it may increase mental health problems, including psychosis, according to NIDA.


soundoff (584 Responses)
  1. dan eden

    I've been smoking for a year now ,every day, perhaps a dozen times a day, for pain. I tried everything but pot is the only thing that takes away my pain. I suffer from fibromyalgia and am 62. I am also a writer and learned to write under the medication effect... have successfully written a couple of best seller books and write for several websites (viewzone) with no complaints. i cough a little but it sure is better than having pain all day. you want to do a test on a real smoker? here i am!

    January 11, 2012 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • me

      I smoke 6-8 a day for recreation and my dr. informed me last week that my lungs are near perfect. 🙂 🙂

      January 11, 2012 at 12:10 | Report abuse |
    • Stinker

      The only way to kill a lab rat with marijuana is with 10lbs of pot dropped at 20 feet. If you don't believe me try yourself. It is impossible. You can kill a rat with IBUPROFEN in just 5-20 pills. Where's the logic for prohibition here?

      January 11, 2012 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
    • EdR

      Dan:

      Has anyone not stoned on MJ read the stuff you wrote? I've talked to people who thought their creative efforts were greatly enhanced, but in the cold light of day, their stuff was C R A P. Think about other ways to handle the pain.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
    • HomieHogleg

      EdR, you obviously didn't read Dans' post.
      "have successfully written a couple of best seller books and write for several websites (viewzone) with no complaints." Sounds like he writes pretty well, under the influence of Marijuana. Bet he wouldn't under prescription pain killers.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
    • puffpuff

      Edr, you're a sad sad little man.. or woman.. whichever. Still sad though.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Okay, whao there, dan!! Best sellers?! Not quite at $199.99 a pop.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Okay, whoa there, dan!! Best sellers?! Not quite at $199.99 a pop.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
    • C. Cassinetto

      I'd be more concerned with the incidence of lymphoma and pesticides (there is a proven link), as there are no pesticide regulations for marijuana growers.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
    • David

      I have smoked one a day for 22 years. When I smoked the first one I noticed that my whole anxiety level went down and I was able to interact with others better. My severe self consciousness went away and my creative juices really did kick in. I made it through art school with honors by smoking just a little before class. I could never smoke more than about 3 or 4 hits or else I would be paranoid. The right dose keeps my whole being at a place where I think it should be at all times for me to function normally in social settings. Without it I revert back to mild anxieties that I had growing up. I know friends who take mood pills for anxiety and some complain about their ineffectiveness. It is like a magic substance for me. It keeps me calm, intensely focused and highly productive.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
    • ebullient

      Get a vaporizer. Much healthier.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
    • VR13

      Wow!!!! They basically found that 2 cigarettes a months are less damaging than 10 cigarettes a day? Where they high when they even decided to do such an uneven comparison? Are they surprised? Why wouldn't they compare pot and tobacco smokers who smoke the same amount a day? Looks like the entire study was setup by those activist "scientist" that would bend any science, along with common scence, to justfiy pot use.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
    • BecauseIcan420

      Make it legal already. I've been smoking for my own recreation for probably about 15 years. My mom used it to help ease her pain of cancer and take away her nausea. I couldn't tell you how many trial and error perscriptions she went through before she decided to go for the ganga. It was good enough for our founding fathers...why not now? Oh yeah, thats right the 1937 tax act. Anslinger, DuPont, Hearst and big gov. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours and together we'll screw the American people. Anslinger was a nutbag! “By the tons it is coming into this country — the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him….”

      Spare me the crap!

      January 11, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
    • Nodack

      For those wishing to partake in MJ and wish to avoid breathing smoke should try vaporizers. They heat up the MJ to a point where it releases the THC, but not not enought to where it burns the MJ. You get the effects you are looking for without breathing in smoke., just THC vapor. Win, win.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • jorge washinsen

      People find a way to keep doing bad things when they like what they are doing. Maybe filling up your lungs with hot and dangerous chemicals helps but, It is suspect as a remedy for anything but boredom in my opinion.If smoking pot was natural it would come out of the ground smoking and so would tobacco.

      January 11, 2012 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
  2. Mark

    The drug of choice in America is alcohol. The consequences of that
    choice are evident and undeniable on a daily basis. The biggest objection
    to weed is it's an "anti-social" drug. When you get a buzz on alcohol,
    you still go to work the next day. When you get high on weed, you
    think about not going to work. Alcohol doesn't get in the way of the
    Christian work ethic. But it continues to corrupt and kill more people
    than weed will ever come close to.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeFace

      Got that backwards...... after drinking all night... you cannot go to work. After getting high, you wake up, have your coffee and off to work you go without any hangover effects.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
    • md11

      Mark, have you ever had any alcohol or weed? I ask because you seem to have no idea what you're talking about. Drink booze and you will go to work the next day, yet if you smoke you won't? What?! I have been a daily smoker for 20+ years and have never – not once – missed a single day of work or even been late for work because I was smoking the day before. In fact, the only times I have ever missed work due to partying, and the same for anyone else I know, was after nights of drinking. Your post was so absurd, actually, I'm not convinced it wasn't written sarcastically.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:16 | Report abuse |
    • puffpuff

      That's funny because when I drink too much, I usually wake up with a bad hang over and have called into work a few times as being "sick". But when I smoke too much marijuana, I just fall asleep and wake up fine for work.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:21 | Report abuse |
    • The all potent one

      I've had plenty of hangovers from drinking but not one from smoking. Me thinks you don't have a clue

      January 11, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • dude

      Not everyone who smokes marijuana quits going to work or always feels like they don't want to. I think that is a poor generalization/sterotype that applies to the demographic that normally uses or is portrayed in mainstream media like 'half baked' or 'grandmas boy'. Can marijuana exasperate the problem, yes, but lets not sterotypre all users as lazy please.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Reply based on dude's post. I believe the stereotype is what keeps
      weed illegal.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
    • VR13

      I don't feel like going to work regardless of whether I smoke, drink or do nothing of those at all.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      You really got that backwards. Marijuana wears off easily without headaches or dizzyness. Alcohol and hangovers are extremely debilitating. While I would easily drive a little high, I would never drive a little drunk. The poor work ethic is a myth from Hollywood stoner movies.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
    • James

      The United States' puritans residents actions are humorous...if Jesus had turned his blood to canabis, we would all be taking a bong hit for communion rather than a metaphorical sip of wine

      January 11, 2012 at 12:54 | Report abuse |
    • kellym

      What??? I don't think about NOT going to work when I smoke pot. I DO feel like I'm no longer at work, which is true, and a good thing to change gears and relax. End of the workday tensions are eased by marijuana, and, unlike with alcohol, I have no problem with sleep, no hangover, and I'm rested and ready for the day when the sun comes up, with no ill effects.

      January 12, 2012 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
  3. MINX

    Air and water are drugs

    January 11, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stinker

      I'm addicted.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
  4. GA1966

    Cannabis is an expectorant/bronchodilator and cannabis indica cigaretts were sold by doctors early 1900s to treat asthma. Cannabis is also show to shrink/cure cancers. Google the Rick Simpson 'Run From the Cure' or 'Cannabis cures cancer'. The prohibition of cannabis is one of our government's biggest lies that has killed millions and cost tax payers billions in health care costs. The Government has know cannabis cures cancer since the 1970s. Inform yourself and spread the word.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Les

      Along with 32 other medical conditions that benefited from its use. I am fully supportive of its decriminalization but am opposed to its legalization as another medicine that the 1 per cent can use to line there pockets with. It should no more be "controlled" than celery, carrots, cabbages or tomatoes all of which also have medicinal properties.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
    • VR13

      There are enough products on the market that contain canabis in a non-cigarette form. If you want the medical effect without getting high, just go to your local pharmacy, they already have enough pills, drops, etc.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Didn't help marley

      January 11, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
  5. RobCM

    Don't bowlgard that joint my friend pass it on.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeFace

      I thought it was Bogart

      January 11, 2012 at 12:11 | Report abuse |
    • el tee

      its bogart

      January 11, 2012 at 12:13 | Report abuse |
    • DeFace

      Thanks el tee... I was afraid I had indeed been damaged as a youth... lol

      January 11, 2012 at 12:21 | Report abuse |
    • puffpuff

      Bowlguard works too hahaha.. btw, vaporizers are the way to go for an even cleaner experience.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
    • smokeeeeey

      BowlGuard. lol. thats a new one

      January 11, 2012 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      It is a reference to Humphrey Bogart who smoked in many of his films.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
  6. JG

    Cannibutter! bake that into cookies. you get the same effects without the smoke in the lungs.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeFace

      It just take SO much to enjoy... I prefer a vaporizer for economic reasons.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
    • Nicole Chardenet

      And deal with the munchies all at the same time! Get two birds stoned!

      January 11, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • Nodack

      Vaporizers. Heats up the pot to a temperature that releases the THC, but not enough to burn the weed. No smoke, just a white vapor of THC. The Lungs say thank you.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
  7. DeFace

    Eat marijuana, or use a vaporizer..... then no lung damage at all. Enjoy God's bounty

    January 11, 2012 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. thizz

    "Long term use of marijuana can lead to addiction, and chronic marijuana use is associated with mental health problems including anxiety and depression." Anxiety and depression? Yeah that's not true at all.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dude

      I think the anxiety comes from feeling labeled as a criminal when all you did was enjoy a little puff for yourself. No one likes to be thought of as a divient and try to live a lie, especially when you feel you are not doing anything particularly wrong, and what if you get drug tested, you can lose your job for it. Im sure that contibutes to some users anxiety!

      January 11, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
    • Exactly

      Exactly. You know they had to put that there, you know... like a disclaimer. CNN wouldn't want to be seen as advocating cannabis use, so they need to throw the negative spin into it. The ridiculousness of it never ends.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • Non-Pothead

      Actually, I had really adverse effects every time I smoked pot. Anxiety, spacial incoherency, and mild psychosis. I may have been allergic, and as a result, I have not smoked in a LONG time. But, for me, smoking pot was a really unpleasant experience. I continued to use other drugs, and developed significant addiction problems around them. Had I enjoyed pot, I would have been just as addicted to it. That's why, when I hear all the pro-pot people shouting about how it's not addictive, or harmful in any way, I always try to make the point that addiction isn't about the substance. It's about the addict consuming it. There are people who find marijuana just as addictive as heroin, and have numerous problems with their lives because of it. But you won't hear about them, because it doesn't fit the face of the prevailing agenda. The truth is, marijuana is a drug. There are ALWAYS negative consequences to drug use. To not see that is to be in denial. But I expect a lot of disagreement with my opinion. Just remember- no matter what you post, I am still right. lol

      January 11, 2012 at 12:52 | Report abuse |
    • DeFace

      Non-Pothead wigs out because he cannot understand his heart rate has increased... and he knows all about pot. What a dweeb.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:55 | Report abuse |
    • Non-Pothead

      @ Deface... Thanks for that scientific dismissal of my opinion. I'm sure the US gov't, next time the subject of legalization comes up, will take your meanderings very seriously into account. Also, you completely missed the point I made. Maybe put the bong down and read it again? lol

      January 11, 2012 at 13:20 | Report abuse |
  9. Dr Phil...err...Drew.....err....Oz

    I find these results difficult to believe. Because Pot is inhaled as deeply as possible by the user and held in as long as possible, it can reach the most distant recesses of the lungs. Because it has just as many carcinogens AND a certain number of "unknown byproducts and chemicals" that would not be allowed in the growth of regulated tobacco, it stands to reason that the impact of equal amounts would be far more detrimental in the case of Marijuana. It would be interesting to know how this "research" was funded, since with a political angle (Ron Paul) and the diminishing use of everyday tobacco by a wary public, the cigarette industry needs a new "go to" product to maintain revenues.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JimboBillyBob Justice

      Hey Doc...
      Got some evidence of those claims.
      If so post some links to the info.
      If not I think your talking out your sphincter

      January 11, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • HomieHogleg

      This was a government funded study.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
    • Deathstalker

      The think is maryjane is not nearly as addictive as smoking is.. Someone not feeling well or that has a cold etc may not smoke any until they get better. On the other hand a person smoking cigs cant put them down when they get sick they still smoke almost as much when sick as not sick some times even more. Anyone that only smokes weed and has for 20 years and does not smike cigs will be way more healthy then the ones who has smoked cigs for the last 20 years and never smoked maryjane. This is a proven fact.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse |
    • Dr Phil...err...Drew.....err....Oz

      Homie: Thanks for you rational response (as opposed to the Billychronic post). Please note, however, that the Tuskeegee syphillis injection study was also government sponsored.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
    • Dr Phil...err...Drew.....err....Oz

      Daeth: The only "proven fact" is that someone who has smoked dope for 20 years has no sense of reality or objectivity.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • memyselfandi

      I don't think you have seen good weed. I have seen weed that smells exactly like Skittles. It is organically grown, with no pesticides used, in a controlled environment. There is nothing added to it. The bud is taken off the plant, trimmed, dried, and smoked in a bong. The water filters just about all of the potential carcinogens. The marijuana smokers I know do not cough, do not hack, do not get colds or bronchitis. The cigarette smokers I know are constantly hacking, coughing up junk, and always sick even long after they successfully quit smoking.

      In conclusion, since you obviously do not know what you are talking about, you should probably not comment at all because you just look like an idiot.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
    • Dr Phil...err...Drew.....err....Oz

      memyselfish: I realize that I should have deferred to an authority like you. What other drugs from you daily regimen would you like to lecture us about?

      January 11, 2012 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
  10. Texas

    Smoking Marijuana is just like doing yoga, and it also makes you psychotic? Lets just stick to the script, you'll seem more intelligent that way.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Misguided

    I cannot say whether to be for or against marijuana. Medical use, sure I'm for if for that reason alone. Revenue gains for legalization. Reduction of criminals in prison and may drop crime rates. Hemp benefits with clothing and oils. blah blah blah

    HOWEVER: as a society we barely have a handle with the consumption of alcohol. I dislike the what if message but marijuana impairs and can increase vehicle accidents. Plus another questionmark on medical costs for adverse affects.

    My problem is that I do not feel that the AMERICAN society will use marijuana responibly. More than likey abuse than for benefit. Maybe I'm being to negative but is it possible that our society can handle marijuana legalization. Legalize it and see what will come.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeFace

      You are your namesake.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
    • Stinker

      So people aren't allowed to make decisions for themselves? Bah Bah Bah goes the sheep

      January 11, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • timmy

      "HOWEVER: as a society we barely have a handle with the consumption of alcohol. I dislike the what if message but marijuana impairs and can increase vehicle accidents. Plus another questionmark on medical costs for adverse affects. "

      you act as if people are not using the substance while it is prohibited. another uneducated dolt. go to foxnews

      January 11, 2012 at 13:18 | Report abuse |
  12. tacc2

    So, basically, occasional use of cannabis is safer than cigarette smoking. Remind me again why we imprison and kill people over this plant?

    January 11, 2012 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeFace

      To keep lubricating the conservative pharmaceutical corps.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:16 | Report abuse |
    • CRAIG

      Safer, that is like comparing a knife and a gun, both will kill. really misleading. anything you inhale is not good for your lungs.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • Exactly

      Yeah, Craig...anything you inhale is bad for your lungs....-anything-....including oxygen...

      January 11, 2012 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
  13. Mo

    Of course it's not as damaging... you are comparing occasional pot smoking to daily cigarette smoking. A more accurate measure of whether marijuana smoke causes more/less/same damage as cigarette smoke would require same usage. I am confused as to why this seems to be an intelligent study?

    January 11, 2012 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeFace

      Study indicates... puff for puff... marijuana has less damaging effects to your lungs than tobacco. That seems to be pretty clear. Also, people do not need to smoke marijuana... they can get a vaporizer and have no ill effects to their lungs.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
  14. closetiguana

    Subjects who smoked one joint per day, did show evidence of reduced pulmonary function.
    Thanks for comparing apples to apples. Daily pot smoker to daily cigarette smokers.

    What to know what your lungs look like? Take a look inside a pot pipe.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Miz

    Buy a vaporizer. Problem solved.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. DeFace

    I wonder if the study's conclusions would have been even more promising if they did not have the subjects smoke the paper around the pot. What if they only took bong hits etc.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. pat

    I think the real reason the federal government doesn't like people to have pot is that pot smokers will think twice about joining the military if they are drafted, whereas alcohol is fine if you want to get someone mad at the enemy.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • closetiguana

      That's got to be it. After all, nobody in the military smokes pot. (eyes rolling)

      January 11, 2012 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
    • pat

      I said that is why the government doesn't want people to have it.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
  18. pattyo27

    This article is obviously bias and I am discontinuing my relationship with CNN. Now, here are the FACTS: There is no conclusive evidence that pot is the cause of depression and anxiety. Common sense: how many truly happy kids start using drugs? Few. Physiological evidence: pot is the only substance that does not mimic ANY neurotransmitter. Therefore, it does not impact dopamine and serotonin levels, which are the roots of depression and anxiety (mood disorders). Etiology needs to be examined on a patient-by-patient basis. Every psychologist will agree with that. Also, the FACTS are fuzzy, at best in this article: CNN reports "marijuana use" in participants. It was specifically smoking joints. That means zero filtration. This leads me to my next point. There are several methods of injesting pot: eating, smoking, vaporizing. Marijuana does NOT have "many" of the same chemicals as tobacco. In fact, there are only 32 carcinogens in pot, while there are over 200 in tobacco. When smoked through water, many of those carcinogens are filtered out. So, a study of long-term, daily use, using water filtration needs to be conducted for more reliable results on daily usage. CNN, thankfully, I had already read the results of this study on another website, without bias. I don't look up news reports to understand YOUR opinions; I look at the news to hear FACTS. Clearly, you can't differentiate. I may as well have read this on FOX or MSNBC. Readers, refer to other sources for facts.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeFace

      You are in the know.... but I wouldn't blame CNN for simply quoting the NIDA... which they referred to twice so you didn't think it was their opinion...

      January 11, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
    • pattyo27

      NIDA is a government organization. I prefer to refer to studies conducted by universities that have no governmental affiliation or motivation. And I don't care what NIDA says, it's PHYSICALLY impossible for THC to impact serotonin and dopamine levels. Therefore, the brain does not deplete production and pot cannot be responsible for mood disorders.

      January 11, 2012 at 13:42 | Report abuse |
  19. memyselfandi

    Marijuana is not addictive. No one has ever overdosed on marijuana. And if you really want to study the effects on marijuana on the lungs, you shouldn't have someone smoke it out of paper (a joint or blunt). You should use a bong with good filtration or a vaporizer. I am not a smoke – I just don't like it. But, I have seen the positive effects on many, many people. Alcohol KILLS people every single day, yet it is legal. Marijuana doesn't kill. It makes absolutely ZERO sense.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeFace

      I had a friend die from alcohol poisoning when I was young... die from alcohol poisoning.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
    • closetiguana

      What percentage of the population of cigarette smokers or pot smokers use a vaporizers? Give me a rough guess?

      January 11, 2012 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
    • memyselfandi

      I know a lot of people who use vaporizers for marijuana. Bongs are good too because the smoke is filtered through water and that removes most of the carcinogens. I actually do not know anyone who regularly smokes out of paper (joint/blunt) and I know well over 100+ marijuana users.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse |
    • closetiguana

      So you would assume most people use a vaporizer. They take it to concerts too I assume, right?

      January 11, 2012 at 12:35 | Report abuse |
    • memyselfandi

      No, I am saying people who smoke out of paper all of the time are idiots. And yes, I do know people who take vaporizers/bongs wherever they go. They aren't the type to go to a concert. The concert-goers are the young idiots who smoke marijuana and anything else they can get their hands on.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
    • closetiguana

      memyselfandi – As a concert goer I take offense to that.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
    • smokeeeeey

      You know 100+ pot smokers, & NONE of them smoke joints or blunts? I find that hard to believe....

      January 11, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • memyselfandi

      Yes, I do. The majority use it for medical purposes. Good marijuana is generally smoked in a bong or vaporized. I also know people who use "cannibutter," but that is a bit different. The kind of marijuana you find on the street is disgusting.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • David

      I have smoked MJ daily for the last 5 years. Two to three J's a day! ALL of my life, I have been depressed, fearful, and wrought with anxiety! I have taken every damned anti-depressant made by man and none of them did much more than give me even more side effects to deal with. The first time I smoked, I noticed I felt much much better. The anxiety subsided and eventually the depression went away! I am not addicted. There have been several days in a row when I haven't smoked or even thought of it so forget that issue. I used to drink alcohol but gave that up completely because it DID cause anxiety and depression. Now I get along well with friends and family and they don't even know I smoke. I don't smoke during the day as I work, but if I was required to give up MJ I would rather kill myself than go back to what I used to feel like! By the way, I smoke using papers and I don't notice any lung issues like I did when I drank Alcohol. MJ should be legal; alcohol should be outlawed. By the way, MJ doesn't affect how I drive. If I smoked a lot of it, then maybe, but a hit every now and then keeps the boogie man out of my brain!

      January 11, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • smokeeeeey

      one more comment. I have smoked blunts & joints for about 10 years now. I go to my Dr regularly, & I am honest with him about my pot smoking, although he doesn't approve of it, & I haven't been told my lungs are any worse than when I first started seeing him about 15 years ago... People who smoke pot don't smoke nearly as much as people who smoke cigs. 2 blunts a day, maybe three on a bad day, & no health probs here!! 🙂

      January 11, 2012 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
  20. Stinker

    Dust is horrible for your lungs. illegalize it!

    January 11, 2012 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. gfy63

    Been a smot poker for 35yrs. Served in the military (82-85) during Reagans (war-on-drugs),tested positive numerous times,still honorably dicharged,got an article 15 over alcohol though.Currently a standing member in a Union,still being tested,still smoking,it's irrelevant to the job.Did quit smoking cigarettes 20yrs ago,(remember nicotine is a deadly drug).If it has no medical value (nicotine) why is it not classified as a narcotic. P.S. remember it's 4:20 somewhere,smoke-on.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • closetiguana

      Do you think you could possibly be addicted to pot?

      January 11, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      @closetiguana does it matter? Are people who drink 8 cups a of coffee a day, which would have very serious health risks, addicted to coffee?

      January 11, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
    • closetiguana

      Paul- It would matter to the people that are led to believe it's not addictive.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
    • rkt210

      You were part of the garbage that the military had to weed out (pardon the pun) of the ser,vice in the early 80's. My first shipboard experience was in 1981. Lots of the crew was stoned and it was unpleasant to see these dirtbags attempting to serve. By the time I hit active duty in 1984, the rules has started to tighten up, and in the next few years they had tightened all the way to zero tolerance. Crews were more professional and performed like it. You lucked out in serving from 82-85, because you would now be discharged after the first offense. If you can't follow rules, you don't belong in the military. My guess is that you were a poor performer, but maybe you had people fooled. Enjoy your union work, swinging a hammer, driving a truck, or whatever you do, but I don't want to have to wonder if the equipment my life depends on was installed by a stoner.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
    • closetiguana

      rkt210 – That's a little over the top. You wouldn't want an airplane repaired by a drunk guy either.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:55 | Report abuse |
    • Iconoclast

      @RKT- Your description of military service now is kind of interesting. How do you explain the very high suicide rates and PTSD cases occurring in our troops coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan? I was in during Viet Nam and I just don't recall those kind of stats with my pot smoking buddies. I would trust my life with them before I would ever trust someone on alcohol or the pills they pass out now in the service. Frankly they should bring the draft back just so there is some level of sanity in the ranks.

      January 11, 2012 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
  22. Paul

    The New York Times has an article on this study as well and their are several discrepancies between how CNN and the NYT describe the study. The NYT actually says the study says that people who smoke EVERY DAY had no reduction in lung function , not just occasional users.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paul

      to quote the NYT article:
      "The researchers found that for marijuana smokers, an exposure of up to seven “joint years” — with one joint-year equivalent to smoking 365 joints or filled pipes, or an average of one joint a day for seven years — did not worsen pulmonary function. Dr. Kertesz noted that with heavier marijuana use, described as 10 joint-years of exposure or more, lung function did begin to decline. And for a person who smokes both marijuana and cigarettes, “the net effect is going to be continued loss of lung function.”

      Dr. Donald Tashkin, a pulmonologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has studied marijuana for over 30 years and was not involved in the study, said it confirmed findings from several other studies showing “that essentially there is no significant relationship between marijuana exposure and impairment in lung function.” He said one reason marijuana smoke may not be as harmful as tobacco smoke, despite containing similar noxious ingredients, may be the fact that its active ingredient, THC, has anti-inflammatory effects."

      January 11, 2012 at 12:28 | Report abuse |
  23. Jim

    Oh my, what will all these "smart doctors" at the rehab clinics do when judges stop forcing people into programs? And what about the poor pharmaceutical companies who make billions selling anti-depressants to teens whose parents believe something derived in a test tube and prescribed by a "smart doctor" is a better option to relieve whatever ailments cause little junior to smoke? And cops will have to sit outside violent crack house neighborhoods stopping real crime instead of harrassing junior and sending him to the previously mentioned judge who sends him to the smart rehab doc who recommends test tube derived drugs prescribed by the smart doctor............

    January 11, 2012 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. freespeechma

    The doctor comes to me and says you can't smoke WEED cause its against the LAW to fight your cancer, but I'm gonna prescribe you a pill a THC pill. I ask whats the difference between the two. well nothing other then the fact that my pill isn't as good, plus my pill has been patented therefore the people on my side make the money. and not some "drug dealer". Well doc how do they come up with this THC pill. Well you see we take a POT plant and we try to make a synthetic version of it, why you ask? Cause you can't "patent" anything from MOTHER NATURE. so how am I suppose to make money. It has nothing to do with the drugs, but EVERYTHING to do with MONEY and who gets it.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Dr Phil...err...Drew.....err....Oz

    Jimbobchronic; Smoe 'em if you got 'em, since it would be no loss to society if you developed lung cancer tomorrow. My information was for those who are not addicted to their "crutch."

    January 11, 2012 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeFace

      I thought we were talking about pot.. not religion.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
  26. GnatB

    So, maybe I'm just missing something... but basically seems results indicate it's probably just as damaging *per use*? Just that smoking 2-3 joints a month (or even a joint a day) is far less "uses" than smoking a pack a day?

    January 11, 2012 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • closetiguana

      Good point. How many smokers smoke only 1 cigarette a day?

      January 11, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse |
    • pat

      This study says casual pot use probably causes no lung damage. Prior studies indicate chronic pot use causes only temporary damage to lungs and not cancer like tobacco. This study is noteworthy because it is done by a government that is not in favor of pot use.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:36 | Report abuse |
    • closetiguana

      Pat – This study also found that "Subjects who smoked one joint per day, did show evidence of reduced pulmonary function".

      January 11, 2012 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
    • Exactly

      I have about 4-5 hits per day of my medical cannabis. That amount has not increased in the 2 years I've been using medical cannabis for pain.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
  27. mrw

    marijuana is a plant, and will be legalized in the soon future. if you are able to smoke pot and function in every day life then its ok. it is the people who sit around playing video games and getting stoned and doing nothing with their lives that makes marijuana look bad. then, there are some of us who can smoke pot daily and have full time jobs and pay their bills and be active. cigarettes have much more harmful chemicals/toxins in them than marijuana A PLANT.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. DeFace

    Do you think your little Johnny doesn't know where to get pot right now? Easy to get for lunch break... but nobody is drinking on campus... to hard to get alcohol. Maybe if we regulated it like alcohol, little Johnny won't find it so easy to get.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Jeremy P.

    No crap? Cigs have additives and things in them, where as straight pot has nothing. Why people thought they had to research this blows my mind. It's common sense. People who smoke pot are morons anyways. Disagree? Smoke pot yourself? Don't care, sorry.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PuffPuffPass

      My Grandmother retired from Phillip Morris. She said if people knew about half of what was in tobacco, they'd never touch the crap.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
    • memyselfandi

      I do not smoke anything and I disagree. Marijuana smokers are not all morons. In fact, the majority of people who do it for medical reasons are more intelligent than the rest of society. The ones who do it because they think it is cool – well, they are idiots just like others who only do things because they think it's cool.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
  30. PuffPuffPass

    My Mother, God rest her soul, was "hooked" on those damn Oxy's the Dr's give her for pain due to cancer. Because of her old fashion beliefs, she would not even consider smoking pot for pain.

    After getting on those damn "LEGAL" pills, she wrecked every car they owned, was constantly constipated and was in a zombie state most of the time. And when they tried to lower her dosage, her withdraw was unbearable. Soon after, she passed. After seeing what these pills did to my Mother, I really can't help but think how screwed up our society is when it comes to drugs and their availability.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeFace

      Sad story, thank you for sharing.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
  31. Bud

    Marijuana is not addictive. Saying that it's addictive is insulting to anyone who is in recovery for real addictions, and trying to fix their lives. You are very misinformed about marijuana and have no knowledge of what an addictive substance is, if you think that Marijuana is physically addictive. You will suffer as much discomfort when you run out of pot, as you would if you were to run out of your favorite potato chip or soda. Will you wish you had more chips? Sure. Will you become violently ill and break laws to get more chips? No.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PuffPuffPass

      I was a slave to alcohol. I started to smoke and drink at about the same age. Pot was a come and go fancy. Alcohol, on the other hand, kicked my a$$. You are correct, my friend. When it comes to addiction, pot doesn't even knock on the door.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
  32. HeatherIsOnFire

    Why ios there a question mark in the headline of the story when research shows it doesnt effect lunk function. No question about it CNN

    January 11, 2012 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. DeFace

    If only one of my high school girlfriends (I was not there) had smoked pot that night instead of drank.... she died from alcohol poisoning.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Glenn

    I mean really, smoking pot 2-3 times per month does less damage than smoking cigarettes? Wow, how many cig smokers smoke 2-3 cigs PER MONTH...none that I know of. They smoke, on average, a pack a day. Get someone to smoke that many joints and besides being high as a kite all the time, they will suffer the same effects as cig smokers.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • memyselfandi

      Wrong. Marijuana use has actually been shown to repair the damage to lungs caused by smoking cigarettes.

      January 11, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
    • smokeeeeey

      BUT, when people do smoke MJ regularly, it is not as regularly smoked as a cig. People who regularly smoke cigs, usually smoke at least a pack a day. Where as regular MJ users usually smokes about 3-5 joints in a day(rough estimate). So, you're still not getting as much harmful stuff as you would with a cig...

      January 11, 2012 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
  35. Smoke till my eyes bleed

    Get high everyday!!!! Whats the problem with that? I say nothing, I have a great job, family, in the process of buying a home. I get it when the feds dont want to legalize mj, they realize that they cant have absolute power over this and that scares them sh$tless....I live in Cali and the mj despensaries are great. Long live MOTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 11, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. David Whittington

    ..so let's see here...U.C. San Francisco spends a pile of grant money doing a '20 year study' and then they conclude tobacco is more harmful to one's health than pot...well DUH... The real tragedy in all this is not the pot or the tobacco, it is the University grant gravy train. Millions are wasted every year on silly studies such as this one. My friends and I could have come to these same conclusions for NO money...just buy us some pot...

    January 11, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Tom

    The government cannot tell me what I can put into my body.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • closetiguana

      I agree but wouldn't you want to know what you are putting in it is harmful or not?
      It's the reason why the study was done (I'm assuming).

      January 11, 2012 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
  38. J, Edgar Hoover

    "They were surprised to find that subjects who occasionally smoked pot – meaning two to three times per month – did not show the same reduced lung function that was seen in cigarette smoking."

    What does "seen in cigarette smoking" mean. Does it mean they found 5,000 people who smoke only two or three cigarettes per month? How did they find people like that? I didn't know they exist. Even if they did find people like that, it's hard to believe that smoking two or three cigaretts per month would cause any lung damage. People who get lung damage are smoking a hundred times more. Why would anyone expect a study that examines two or three times per month usage? I wouldn't expect that to hurt anyone.

    Maybe "seen in cigarette smoking" means normal smoking, like a pack a day. In that case, it also doesn't make sense because the levels are so different. The only thing that makes sense is that the researchers put a great proposal into the government to get scientific research grant money. Also making sense is that subjects who smoked a joint every day had lung impairment. What the need to do is compare people who smoke 20 joints a day with a normal pack-a-day smoker. Then they will most likely find that pot causes the same lung damage.

    January 11, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jorge washinsen

      Who were they,the ones who said it did not hurt.?f you ask your family doctor and he says it is safe to smoke pot over tobacco, change doctors.

      January 11, 2012 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
  39. MIke

    All through my childhood In the 70’s I was in and out of hospitals for what they called “allergic Bronchitis” and they would just load me up with antibiotics. Never finding the true reason, they also said I had asthma. Then in collage until 2009 I smoked pot every day, a lot… In late 2009 I decided to take a break, within 9 month I was back in the hospital with major organ failures. Turns out I have a chronic disease call Sarcoidosis. It’s an inflammation of my heart, lungs and other organs. Turns out Pot is an anti-inflammatory. Since collage until 2009 I was healthy (no asthma also), pot was keeping my Sarcoidosis at bay my whole adult life. Now living in a non-medical marijuana state my only option to stay alive is a nasty steroids that wreak havoc of so many ways on my life. Cannot think the same, eating sucks, gained weight, and will get organ failures from the steroids that I need to take the rest of my life for the only purpose of an anti-inflammatory. So as soon as I can I’m moving to a medical marijuana state and getting back to my single medications that will save my life, give me a bet quality of life, and does not kill my lungs. And by the way after MRI’s, CT scan, and lung samples taken the doctors had no SIGN that I smoked an half ounce of good weed a week for 25 years… they said my lungs looked like a person 10 years younger than myself

    January 11, 2012 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pattyo27

      Most people are unaware that it is an anti-inflammatory. The government really needs to reschedule it for medicinal use, already. All of this because the logging industry didn't want to lose business to the hemp industry. Just goes to show that government mentality is still living in the 1920's.

      January 11, 2012 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
  40. OldMayfield

    Agree with VR13. Why are they not comparing the same number of smokes (or volumes of smoke) for cigarettes vs marijuana? Why is this lame reporter not pointing out the discrpeancy more clearly?

    January 11, 2012 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Jo

    To dude – the word is EXACERBATE the problem – NOT EXASPERATE. Just sayin'...

    January 11, 2012 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. jorge washinsen

    We find now that nicotine might help memory loss.Stands to reason since many people have quit smoking and memory disease is on the rise.Maybe the pot is causing memory loss but prevents cancer. We are smarting ourselves out of existance.

    January 11, 2012 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Leaf on the Wind

    "Long term use of marijuana can lead to addiction." Addiction to what? Cannabis, or its active component THC, has no physically addictive properties. If we're talking about emotional addiction, wouldn't you rather be dependent upon cannabis that heroin, cocaine, tobacco, or alcohol? All of which are physically addictive, by the way. Even caffeine is addictive.

    If you use cannabis for social or medical reasons, and you want to avoid the remote possibility of lung damage, get a vaporizer.

    January 11, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. jorge washinsen

    If you don't believe pot kills more people than tobacco even,you should take a local, on the border news paper.

    January 11, 2012 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • timmy

      lol try again jorgie...most of the weed smoked in the US is grown here...no one wants your schwaggy, dirty, seedy A$$ brick weed.

      January 11, 2012 at 13:19 | Report abuse |
    • closetiguana

      Remove the illegality of pot and deduce the criminal element. I say reduce because the criminal element exists in Dutch coffee shops the government learned over time.

      January 11, 2012 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
  45. closetiguana

    Is there a study on vaporizers? Not from the the headshops selling them but an actual scientific study?

    January 11, 2012 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Predicta

      Vaporizers are harmless. Burning the marijuana, which releases an assortment of toxic, cancer causing chemicals, ca potentially cause the same problems as smoking tobacco. Vaporizing produces one of these chemicals. As for the long term affects of marijuana (THC) in the body, there are o conclusive studies. But I can tell you this: since switching from smoking to vaporizing, my breathing has improved and I find I'm not nearly as tired at the end of the day as I used to be.

      January 11, 2012 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
  46. Bud

    We are supposed to progress as a society. This is 2012, and we are still a Society full of racist morons, who think there is a man in the sky who hates gays, and pot is addictive. Why? There is no excuse for our lack of knowledge and staying stagnant and conservative. We must progress or fail.

    January 11, 2012 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Michael

    Is this really a surprise? The last time I checked formaldehyde and a dozen other poisons don't naturally occur in things that grow in the ground. It's about as enlightening as saying caffeine is better for you then meth.

    January 11, 2012 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Predicta

    Go with a vaporizer. No smoke. No benzine. No CO2. Nothing. Just vapor laced with THC. Not only is it safe from all the risks associated with smoking, it's a more efficient delivery method, wasting nothing and requiring less marijuana for a prolonged, more intense high. I was smoking for years up until 2010 when I bought a vaporizer. I haven't smoked anything since then.

    January 11, 2012 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. John S

    As to the effects of cannabis smoke on lung function, observe that some of today's best professional athletes smoke weed. I find it funny that pot smokers are always putting forth evidence as to why weed should be legal, when the side they are fighting has never put forth any evidence to support their claims. They pass laws by fear-mongering and spreading lies to prey on the emotional susceptibilities of the public, not rationally evaluating the scientific evidence.

    January 11, 2012 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Captain

    These studies can be skewed to fit any agenda or just for publicity, of which this one is getting plenty. Electronic cigarettes can help avoid tobacco and reduce nicotine, but won't get you high, so see http://www.ecigwerks.blogspot.com for more.

    January 11, 2012 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.