Marijuana myths - Smoking a joint is as bad as 20 cigarettes

Posted on June 24 2016

We all grew up with DARE classes telling us that smoking one joint is as bad for you as smoking cigarettes. We all know that smoking cigarettes are bad for you, we’ve seen pictures of diseased lungs, so when we get told weed is 20 times worse than that, it gives you some serious pause for thought. The problem is though, it’s all completely untrue. In fact, marijuana might actually be better for your lungs than not smoking at all.

A 2012 study on marijuana’s effects on the lungs came up with this conclusion: “Occasional and low cumulative marijuana use was not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function.”

The heaviest cigarette smokers will smoke between a pack and three packs a day, whereas all but the heaviest marijuana smokers will smoke at most one to two joints or bowls a day, that alone puts to rest the myth that smoking it at all is somehow comparable to cigarettes based on the fact that you’re still inhaling smoke, which is not particularly healthy. 

Another study performed by Mark Pletcher, et al. “Association Between Marijuana Exposure and Pulmonary Function Over 20 Years.” Journal of the American Medical Association, 307 (2): 173–81 shows us that otherwise healthy men who have smoked the equivalent of one joint daily for seven years have a lung capacity that is 1.6 percent higher than that of otherwise healthy non-marijuana-smoking men. 

Yes, you read that correctly, in a study of over 5,000 men, those who smoked marijuana regularly actually had improved lung function over those who did not smoke marijuana. 

Of course, there are some problems that come with smoking marijuana. A Canadian government-affiliated study also found three times as much ammonia in secondhand marijuana smoke as in secondhand tobacco smoke. 

If you don’t want to smoke, there are many healthier ways ingesting marijuana, vaporisers, edibles and topical creams can all get you the same hit without needing to smoke your stash, but the science shows that you should probably worry more about getting a hit by a bus because you're way too high. 



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