New Study Shows Moderate Marijuana Use is Not Associated with Breathing Problems

A study released by the American Medical Association is getting a whole lot of attention this week, as it rightly should. This study, which shows that people who smoke marijuana exhibit little to no harmful pulmonary effects from their use, pokes a gigantic, gaping hole in one of the most often-employed attacks against marijuana reform.

According to the 20-year study, those who used marijuana occasionally (2-3 times a month) did not show any decrease in lung functioning and, in some cases, actually showed improvements. This is in glaring contrast to cigarette smokers, who displayed significantly less breathing ability at the end of the study. Even some heavy marijuana users showed no decrease in function.

Of course, this is antithetical to what prohibitionists and scaremongers have been claiming about marijuana for decades. One of the most commonly used arguments against marijuana reform is that it is too dangerous to be used as a medicine because of the lung damage caused by smoking (even though many patients prefer vaporizing or eating their medicine). By this logic, making marijuana legal for recreational use is out of the question because of the threat to public health and the associated costs that would be incurred.

The American Medical Association just invalidated that argument. This is the latest in what appears to be a trend of science exposing the lies in the major prohibitionist talking points.

Take teen use, for example. The drug czar has repeatedly tried to blame medical marijuana and reformers on the increase in teen marijuana use, saying that it “sends the wrong message” to young people. By looking at the available data for medical marijuana states, however, MPP was able to show that in most of those states, teen use actually decreased after the implementation of medical marijuana laws. It appears that the message reformers are sending teens is that marijuana is not as glamorous when being used by a cancer patient. That is quite a bit better than the message being sent by the government, which is that teens cannot handle hearing legitimate policy debates and that it is worth lying to them and arresting them to stop others from using marijuana in the future (a tactic we can see has failed by comparing our continuously high arrest rates with the increasing rate of teen and adult use).

Another point, brought up most often by law enforcement, is that if more people are using marijuana, the roads will become more dangerous. They conjure images of stoned drivers and bloodstained pavement and complain about lack of effective tools by which to judge marijuana impairment. This argument was similarly refuted by a recent study that showed traffic fatalities also decreased in states that allowed the medical use of marijuana. Apparently, access to marijuana leads to a drop in alcohol sales, particularly among people who may self-medicate with alcohol for painful conditions. This, combined with the fact that driving while under the influence of marijuana is far safer (yet still potentially dangerous; no one should drive impaired on any substance), leads to a marked decrease in fatal car accidents.

(As a side note, there is a time-tested and proven way of determining impairment caused by any substance or condition. It is called Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and has been in use since there have been cars on the roads. In recent years, this tool has become much more accurate through research and increased training protocols.)

The vast majority of arguments against reform tend to be based on emotion. They have little to do with facts. As more and more research becomes available that disproves the propaganda, hopefully more people will see through the smokescreen of lies and fear. When they do, our nation will make great strides toward enacting rational marijuana policies.

14 thoughts on “New Study Shows Moderate Marijuana Use is Not Associated with Breathing Problems”

  1. It does look like the strides toward enacting rational marijuana policies have states racing to enact the first legislation, but Wisconsin is stuck a bad, bad place at the moment, perhaps this will help.

  2. I never stop to read n e thing that has words in it but I decided to stop and smoke the roses….. So to speak…… Love the article keep it up

  3. “One of the most commonly used arguments against marijuana reform is that it is too dangerous to be used as a medicine because of the lung damage caused by smoking (even though many patients prefer vaporizing or eating their medicine).”

    Now that the current study knocks out this “smoking” demon, the next step is for masses of “smokers” worldwide to realize that they can switch to vaporization without having $600 ready to invest in the gold standard Volcano.

    The answer is a screened 25-mg serving-size one-hitter with a flexible long drawtube (or hookah-hose) attached so that you can perform a somewhat more sophisticated lighting operation at a suitable distance from your eyes.

    Hold the lighter flame at least an inch below the crater-intake opening of your utensil while drawing steadily for up to 15 seconds without igniting, in order to bathe herb contents in 200C/385F heat. Even if you subsequently ignite (to harvest “smoke” taste etc.) you have already captured the major part of the cannabinoids. A visible darkening of the herb is one common indication of drying due to oils having been successfully harvested.

    By contrast, a joint does vaporize some cannabinoid from the narrow zone of nonburning herb particles directly contingent upon the burning part, but burns much incompletely exvaporized herb (at temperatures up to 700C), destroying a high percentage of cannabinoids and delivering heat shock and carbon monoxide to fuel anecdotes about dopiness and amotivation.

    So guess what– in the rush of publicity over this recent lung study, periodicals went to their files and dug out old “pot pictures” usually of someone smoking a 500-mg joint. The study itself surveyed use of joints but barely mentioned “pipes”– not specifying ones with a narrow enough diameter (5.5 mm) to permit the above-described vaporization-furthering technique.

    So the next step is for researchers to validate the above hypothesis regarding health advantages of a low-dosage “vaporizing one-hitter”– permitting such a utensil to be unambiguously legalized, popularized and marketed worldwide fort all herb species in place of “joint” and $igarette formats, eliminating 6 million deaths a year caused by $igarette addiction disease ($AD) and causing an even bigger DROP in teen cannabis use (It’s the Dosage, Stupid!) and highway accident statistics.

  4. I have heard the argument that if you legalize marijuana that will make three dangerous things for us as a society to use. Well if that is the case why did you legalize the first two things to begin with? The other thing is between cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana which of the three is the least dangerous (marijuana). So why not make one of the other two killers (cigarettes and alcohol) illegal and legalize marijuana?

  5. I believe that the bigger issue is why should any government agency have the authority to make any drug illegal, it should be up to the individual to decide what goes into his/her body not the government. The individual can and should be taking responsibility for what goes into their body and their actions or consequences of it.

  6. Is there a study of marijuana smokers on a daily or 3-5 times a week basis? This seems more realistic as far as pot goes, at least for anyone I have ever known to smoke pot, 1-3 times a month isn’t a realistic figure of study. I am not trying to downplay this study at all I am PRO-CANNABIS, but for a 20yr study I would have at least used a common amount of pot relatable to those that smoke, not some 2-3/month BS. This study is nice, but it still fails to show any REAL information as it relates to smokers in this day.

    I know people that smoke everyday and often multiple times a day. Do a 20-yr study on those numbers and get back to me.

  7. It is great that we the users are getting a better education on medical cannabis. How do we get our ignorant lawmakers to have an open mind to learn the true facts? Western Michigan is full of fear mongers who are incredibly thick-headed.

  8. According to the 20-year study, those who used marijuana occasionally (2-3 times a month) did not show any decrease in lung functioning and, in some cases, actually showed improvements.
    ———————————————————————–
    The frequency, OR LACK THEREOF, presents a MAJOR issue for the results of this so-called study.

    I know of no physician who is likely to prescribe MEDICAL marijuana on such an infrequent basis.

    brucerealtor
    Chairman Emeritus
    Budget & Policy Subcommittee
    Drug Advisory Commission
    Washington, DC USA

  9. Make vaporizers more affordable and we will have even less lung damage people will do the right thing if the opportunity presents itself.

  10. Everyone should call and write letters to thier U.S. Congressmen and Senators and tell them to repeal the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

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