Despite what we have been led to believe about smoke being inherently bad for our lungs, a new study shows that while this may be true for cigarettes, it’s not necessarily the case for marijuana. In fact, getting high could actually improve our lungs.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco followed more than 5,000 people for 20 years, tracking their smoking habits and lung health. What they found was a bit of a surprise: Smoking a joint a week for up to seven years doesn’t hurt lung function. Even more surprising though was this: Pot smokers’ lung function actually improves–at least if they’re not smoking a lot.
The findings were published in the recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association and touted the fact that those who smoked pot occasionally, meaning the equivalent of a joint a week for up to seven years, actually had some improvement in the function of their lungs. Why? That’s what we wanted to know. Apparently, the scientists believe that the stretching of the lungs when taking a deep inhale of weed was somehow good for these organs. Of course, that leaves more questions than it answers, like: Why isn’t taking a deep breath of a cigarette or even things like smog good for us too? Wouldn’t that same action also “stretch” out lungs?
They didn’t answer that, but they did say that not all pot smokers got a clean bill of lung health. Heavy marijuana usage, defined as more than 20 times a month for more than 10 years, saw a decline in lung capacity. Phew. For a moment, we were about to question every bit of health logic we’ve ever been taught.
Not that we’re advocating everyone to go out and get stoned by any means, but this study does provide some interesting facts for legalizing medical marijuana. Something that at least we can agree with Ron Paul on.