A new, lesser-known health concern from pot is finally being brought to light. But just what is COPD and why does smoking marijuana raise your risk?
Pot isn’t just a problem because it causes distorted perception, memory issues, loss of coordination, increased heart rate and affects brain function. Regularly lighting up can also lead to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). It turns out that both cigarette and pot smoking can increase a person’s risk of COPD almost threefold, but smoking pot alone doesn’t seem to increase the risk of the deadly lung condition, researchers report.
What is COPD?
Most cases are caused by prolonged smoking, according to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and yet most anti-smoking campaigns focus solely on cigarettes.
“Anti-smoking campaigns should include a reduction in marijuana use among their goals, aiming especially at those who smoke both marijuana and tobacco,” said study lead researcher Dr. Wan Tan, of the University of British Columbia and St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada. Dr. Tan’s findings were published in the April 14 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The researchers found that smokers who use both marijuana and tobacco are 2.5 times more likely than nonsmokers to have respiratory disease and almost three times likelier to have COPD. This led researchers to theorize that smoking marijuana in relatively low doses may act as a “primer” or sensitizer in the airways to amplify the adverse effects of tobacco smoke on respiratory health, Tan said.
As a result, the study proved that smoking marijuana — even in small amounts „ is very harmful for your lungs, increasing the risk of COPD by several fold,” Tan said.
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