Cannabis or tobacco: which is more harmful to the lungs?

Researchers from the University and the Ottawa Hospital looked at the chest x-rays of 56 cannabis smokers, 57 non-smokers and 33 people who smoked tobacco only between 2005 and 2020.

“This study raises concerns”

Result: they found higher rates of airway inflammation and emphysema (a lung disease) in cannabis smokers compared to tobacco smokers and non-smokers.

“Marijuana use is on the rise and there’s this idea that it’s harmless, or safer than cigarettes,” Giselle Revah, a radiologist at the Ottawa Hospital, told AFP. , where the research was conducted.

The absence of a filter on the seals in question?

“But this study raises concerns that it might not be accurate,” she added.

According to this specialist, the higher rates of inflammation and disease in cannabis smokers compared to tobacco smokers could be linked to the different ways in which drugs are generally consumed.

“Marijuana is smoked without a filter whereas tobacco usually is,” she explained.

“When you smoke unfiltered marijuana, more particles reach your airways, settle there and irritate them. »

Further studies are needed

In addition, according to this expert, “people generally take larger puffs of marijuana and hold the smoke longer in their lungs, which can lead to greater trauma to these air spaces”.

However, the study authors point out that some of the cannabis smokers also smoked tobacco. Some chest X-rays have also been inconclusive, meaning further studies are needed.

And, according to Revah, there is very little research on the health effects of cannabis, as it is banned in most countries.

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