Legalize It of the Day: A 20-year, federally funded study conducted jointly by researchers at UCSF and UAB found that smoking marijuana once a week, or even once a day in some instances, did no long-term damage to the lungs.
The study, published today in the the Journal of the American Medical Association, tracked 5,000 individuals across 20 years, and compared their usage of marijuana and tobacco to their health stats.
Cigarette smokers saw a considerable loss in lung function over time, but participants who smokes marijuana as often as once a day for seven years saw no change.
Additionally, no harmful effects were recorded in individuals who smoked marijuana occasionally for longer.
According to the study’s authors, one possible explanation for the results may be THC — the active ingredient in marijuana. The compound is known to combat inflammation, and may be responsible for offsetting irritants that cause lung problems.
Dr. Stefan Kertesz, the study’s co-author, also posits that an unintended side-effect of marijuana usage is the strengthening lung tissue as a result of breathing deeply during inhalation.
And as if all that wasn’t enough, researchers found that pot smoking might actually improve lung function. “At levels of marijuana exposure commonly seen in Americans, occasional marijuana use was associated with increases in lung air flow rates and increases in lung capacity,” Kertesz said.
He did note that the increase was not enough to “make you feel better,” but, then again, if you’re smoking marijuana, chances are you’re already feeling pretty great.
|—||Stephen Fry (via cleverquotation)|