Smoking Cannabis may be far more dangerous than normal cigarettes. If you think smoking cannabis is safer than using normal cigarettes, think again. A new report from the British Lung Foundation, (BLF), found that one third of all people believe smoking marijuana is harmless. This is despite the BLF finding that a single cannabis cigarette contains 20 times the amount of carcinogens as a tobacco cigarette.
The misconception that smoking cannabis is less harmful than normal cigarettes may explain some of the BLF’s date. In their research, they discovered almost 9 in 10 people think tobacco cigarettes are more damaging than marijuana ones.
Dame Helena Shovelton, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “Young people in particular are smoking cannabis unaware that, for instance, each cannabis cigarette they smoke increases their chances of developing lung cancer by as much as an entire packet of 20 tobacco cigarettes.”
Smoking Cannabis is also linked to diseases including lung cancer, tuberculosis, acute bronchitis, suppression of the immune system and heart disease.
While this does not imply that smoking normal cigarettes is safe or that all types of cannabis use are dangerous, it does shed some light on the lack of knowledge around recreational drug use. “This is not a niche problem – cannabis is one of the most widely-used recreational drugs in the UK, with almost a third of the population having tried it,” Shovelton said.
While the BLF contemplates their next move, the lack of awareness among young people could already be taking its toll. Cannabis is the most popular illicit drug used in Britain and 40% of British people under 35 believe smoking cannabis is not harmful to health. This is troubling as cannabis smoke contains nearly all of the same carcinogens as tobacco smoke but at levels 50% higher than a normal cigarette.
This means regular cannabis smokers could expect lung conditions like chronic coughing, wheezing, sputum production, acute bronchitis, airway obstruction infective lung conditions such as tuberculosis and Legionnaire’s disease, collapsed lung and lung cancer.
One study in particular found that smoking cannabis may be linked to around 5% of lung cancers in those aged 55 and under. If misinformation about Cannabis use persists, this number could rise significantly.
While The BLF study recommends further research into the effects of smoking cannabis, they are also planning a drug awareness campaign to educate people on the potential health risks of smoking cannabis. It is also worth noting that the study focused on the smoking of cannabis. The BLF study did not include any research on the effects of eating foods containing cannabis or using the drug any other way.
If you want to learn more, you can check your the BLF study here.