A study due to be released in the International Journal of Cancer (IJC) has concluded that whether you like to spark up a joint once in a while, once a week, or once the last one goes out, the cannabis smoke alone that you inhale does not increase your risk of lung cancer or COPD.
While this may seem like old news to those in the know, the tired old myth that smoking pot leads to certain respiration issues is still a favorite, and effective, strategy of those opposed to cannabis legalization of any form.
Paul Armentano of NORML has gathered the definitive list of studies showing the documented lack of harm caused by blazing weed the old fashioned way, culminating with the IJC article.
To be fair, the IJC study does not glorify weed smoking in any way, nor does it completely exonerate it from any potential association with future health risks. In other words, they cover their ass.
The study was based on cases pooled from the US, the UK, New Zealand, and Canada, and spanned over 5,000 individual test subjects. When the smoke had cleared, the study’s authors concluded, “Results from our pooled analyses provide little evidence for an increased risk of lung cancer among habitual or long-term cannabis smokers.”
This latest set of findings should be the nail in the coffin for the issue, with a peer-reviewed scientific consensus having been reached.But science and legislation often drift apart, and just last week we saw the very real effects of this fact-free sort of rhetoric.
The inherent problem with the term “medical marijuana” is that when it gets passed into law, every asshole opposed to it is suddenly a PhD.
So we get what we saw in New York last week where they passed a law to finally legalize medical marijuana, but included a ridiculous caveat that users cannot smoke their weed, they have to vaporize it.
Why? Likely because it was given up as middle ground in a debate with a marijuana prohibitionist. Probably passed off as some faux concern for the health of cannabis users. But as Armentano points out, the bud’s been out of the bag on this issue for quite some time.
Another widely respected medical journal, the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, reported in 2013 that, “[H]abitual use of marijuana alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function. … Overall, the risks of pulmonary complications of regular use of marijuana appear to be relatively small and far lower than those of tobacco smoking.”
Taking it a step further, official commentary attached to the article stated, “[C]annabis smoking does not seem to increase risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or airway cancers. In fact, there is even a suggestion that at low doses cannabis may be protective for both conditions.”
So, quite literally, put that in your pipe and smoke it.