Are Marijuana Joints More Cancer-Causing than Cigarettes?

 by lucy

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) recently released a report stating that the risk of developing lung cancer is as much as twenty times greater from a marijuana joint than a tobacco cigarette.

The primary reason for this, according to the study, is that marijuana users hold smoke in their lungs for prolonged periods of time in order to absorb THC into their system.  Cigarette users, on the other hand, inhale and exhale smoke relatively quickly.  Holding smoke in the lungs for long periods of time greatly enhances the carcinogenic (cancer causing) effects of the smoke.

The  BLF said that its report is the most comprehensive review of research data yet compiled on the subject of cannabis use.  The survey was conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres (a leading research panel) among a sample of 1,045 people throughout England.

The study’s findings differ from those from a recent study conducted by the UAB Division of Preventative Medicine.  The latter study found that marijuana does not cause lung damage.  In fact, the UAB study said that occasional marijuana use led to increases in lung capacity and air flow rates.  That study, however, did not examine marijuana as a potential carcinogen, but instead only addressed its impact on lung capacity and air flow rates.

ARTICLE: Study Shows Marijuana Doesn’t Impair Lung Function

The study only addressed smoking joints, and did not discuss whether the carcinogens were lessened when smoking through a different method, such as a water bong or a vaporizer.  The study also did not address infused edibles as an alternative to smoking marijuana.

According to BLF, 17.4 million Americans (6.9% of the population) have admitted to using marijuana.  The drug is equally widespread in the UK, with 6.8% of 16-59 year olds in England and Wales having used cannabis in the past year.

The BLF is a charity that works to eliminate the “alarming disconnect” between the public perception of marijuana as a safe drug and growing evidence which demonstrates that smoking marijuana could have carcinogenic effects.

As a result of their findings, the BLF wants to launch an awareness campaign, similar to other campaigns that have been released about the harms associated with tobacco use, alcohol use, and obesity.  The organization wants to “dispel the myth that smoking cannabis is somehow a safe pastime.”

88% of people in the UK  believe that smoking cigarettes is worse for your health than smoking cannabis.

The rest of the medical community has yet to comment on the BLF study, which just adds to the ever growing pool of contradictory reports on the safety or danger of utilizing marijuana.  Unfortunately, most countries are unwilling to commit major resources to the study of marijuana and its negative or positive effects.

In the United States, this is due to the fact that marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug, the most severe categorization for drugs, putting marijuana on the same level as heroin and LSD.  Schedule I drugs are considered to have no safe, accepted medical use in the United States.


20 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. 1

    BA said on Jun 7, 2012

    One day it's "cannabis cures cancer"

    The next day it's "cannabis causes lung cancer"

    It's just a political battle…cigarettes are much worse.

  2. 14

    dallas said on Jun 7, 2012

    "Marijuana contains 50 to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke, and thus has the potential to cause cancer. However, Donald Tashkin, M.D., professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles, has found that marijuana use is not linked to an increase in lung, head or neck cancers. Tashkin surmises that this is due to a chemical within marijuana that kills off cells before they become cancerous." The reality isn't if this is an either/or thing in terms of health. Look at the FDA lets americans put into their bodies in terms of addictive and harmful products (food, alcohol, tobacco, pharm.) which ARE legal. It's one thing to say 'it's bad for you'… it's another to say it's illegal cause it's bad for you even though it's better than these OTHER things that are LEGAL and bad for you. :/

    • 1

      sMile said on Jun 13, 2012

      dallasNUGGETRY for president!

    • 0

      SBStoner said on Jun 27, 2012

      I remember reading this article a while back, back in highschool i used to tell people that marijuana didint cause lung cancer in health class and no one ever believed me when because the teacher said it did. So, i printed out Tashkin's studies on medical marijuana and posted them on the whiteboard before class. the whole day became a discussion on the truth behind marijuana! i felt like such a great advocate :)

  3. 3

    app25 said on Jun 8, 2012

    Because everyone that smokes the jane holds it in their lungs. Ya nice try, you cant include such an impacting variable such as exposure duration. Why not try using the same variables and not favor one side. Not everyone holds smoke in and on a test on comparing health effects you probably should make the separate components identical with the only difference in the actual substance. Joint smokers that hold it in vs vaporizers that exhale immediately. No they went straight to one of the worst possible ways to use marijuana. Low concentration high abundance, I will remember to record the BLF as insufficient and elementary in their articles and research.

  4. 1

    KushBowlzz said on Jun 8, 2012

    If u hold in joint smoke to get higher ur just dumb, first off as your holding in the hit getting that last 1-5% thc ur joint is burning away, thus quick exhale and toking again gets u higher……… this study is quite bias and just silly

  5. 2

    Shining_Soul said on Jun 8, 2012

    Hadn't that been established? I'm with Dallas; no accepted medical use, proven to cause cancer, high potential for abuse… Why isn't aspartame Schedule 1?

    • 1

      SBStoner said on Jun 27, 2012

      Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.

      You couldnt be more right shining soul!

  6. 1

    JakRusslo said on Jun 8, 2012

    Who are they to say how long i hold in my smoke!

  7. 1

    mookie said on Jun 8, 2012

    99.9 % of the THc is absorbed in the first second that it is inhaled into the lungs so for the people who hold it in for too long it is unnecessary

  8. 5

    MothMan said on Jun 9, 2012

    There's no dispute, it's just wrong, this is lies. Seriously, show us one case, just one case where someone has developed cancer as a direct cause of marijuana use alone. ONE!

  9. 0

    IowaHawkeyes said on Jun 10, 2012

    the premise of this article is TRUE (and this info has been out there for a long time), as much as most of you don't want to believe…. THING IS people that smoke cigs are smoking a pack or two packs a day, plus or minus some. People that smoke cigs smoke cigs with FAR greater frequency than weed smokers do… So yes, marijuana causes lung cancer moreso than cigs – BUT that is assuming the same amount of cigs and weed are smoked – which is NOT the case.

  10. 0

    Kaz said on Jun 10, 2012

    this is probably the stupidest shit ive ever heard! if you smoke joints and hold the hit in like a bong hit your a fucking retard first off, second off you shouldnt hold the hit in from a Jay because if you were to blow out the smoke instantly you got 95% of that thc from that hit. im not saying joints get you 95% thc because thats wrong, and if you get lung cancer from smokin joints then you can get a card and smoke vapes or just eat edibles its kinda a win win lol! they need to do some more studies and make sure they are correct becuz you don't know this could've been complete bs! Also tell that to wiz khalifa hes smoked prolly over a million joints hahaha!

  11. 0

    Josh said on Jun 19, 2012

    So marijuana is 20 times more likely to cause cancer huh?
    That makes sense, now BLF why don't you show me that long list of people who only smoke marijuana who have got lung cancer. Oh it doesn't exist? Didn't think so.

  12. 0

    HeadHunter said on Jun 23, 2012

    The brits are crazy, its the same hypocrisy being encountered here. I'm trying to figure out how you kids are coming up with all these crazy percentages of how much thc is absorbed instantly in your lungs. Sorry so so sorry but unless you stop your heart and entire respiratory system your lungs are still working even if not in the act of breathing, hold your breath and you'll notice your lungs getting fuller and fuller. Man you get so so much higher if you dont waste it by instantly blowing it out, I'm not saying hurt your self just that some people can only afford one joint or one bowl, so when the asshole you just passed your last shit to fucking wastes it, "because I get higher" (in a little whiny voice) well thanks a lot asshole I wont be sharing my shit with you anymore, you can try getting high on an empty bowl because there is no next hit. And, smoking ANYTHING is horrible for your body, besides when you smoke weed your destroying probably 90% of any thc that's in it. Vaporize, and you will get much much higher, I promise.

  13. 0

    Jay-Kush said on Jun 26, 2012

    Dont belive any of this shit its just a scare tactic the UK government will try anything to keep it illegal they dont even believe there own scientists when they tell them cannabis is safer than any legal or illegal drug , they talk so much shit ! There is some truth in the findings but they missed out the fact that most cannabis smokers in the UK mix there joints with tobacco and they smoke soap bar which is full of nasty chemicals and carcinigens and has no weed in it , I on the other hand only smoke organic and pure no tobacco and my lungs feel better now than when I did not smoke at all ! Total bollocks! I want to imigrate to Cali

  14. 0

    Nastyness said on Mar 18, 2013

    If it has been studied that even smoking marijuana can INCREASE lung capacity, improve respiration and airflow, how can it be more cancerous than cigarettes? Onset of lung cancer would begin with DECREASED lung capacity, REDUCED airflow, and COPD. If marijuana was previously proven not to produce these negative affects, how could it cause cancer any faster than cigarettes? This also conflicts with Spain, and US research that concludes cannabis is an effective treatment of cancer! You tell me who's lying…

  15. 0

    Nastyness said on Mar 18, 2013

    @Shining_Soul well said friend. Aspartame and fluoride, are proven to cause cancer and other illnesses, no one has mentioned this huge issue, how weird

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