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Old 01-11-2012, 12:33 AM
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Default Pot Smoking Not Linked To Breathing Problems; May Help Lungs

Pot Smoking Not Linked To Breathing Problems; May Help Lungs

20-Year Study Finds No Decline In Lung Function For Occasional Cannabis Smokers; Lung Function Of Most Marijuana Smokers Improves Over Time

Often, when people hear about the studies which have shown that smoking marijuana doesn't cause lung cancer, they'll say something like, "Well, inhaling any smoke, cancer or not, is bound to cause some breathing problems." Guess what? It doesn't do that, either.

A report to be published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that -- over a 20-year period -- marijuana smokers generally did not experience a loss in lung function, reports Derek Abma at Postmedia News. In fact, many actually had enhanced lung capacity, which one researcher speculated might come from the practice of "deep-lunging" hits to maximize their intoxicating effects.

Whatever the cause, the fact remains that the study showed the lung function of most marijuana smokers actually improved slightly over time.

A healthy adult man can exhale about a gallon of air in a second, according to researcher Stefan Kertesz, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

But cannabis smokers, on average, were able to blow out that gallon of air plus about 50 milliliters.

The average number of times marijuana users in the study said they smoked was two to three times per month -- but even in regular users, researchers said they still saw no evidence of breathing problems.

In fact, researchers estimated that lung capacity would stay slightly larger even if a person had smoked a joint a day for seven years, or two or three joints a day for three years.

Kertesz said the study should reassure people who smoke marijuana for medical reasons.

"This is a well-designed, well-described study," said Jeanette M. Tetrault, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

Researchers said this "lung-stretching" property of cannabis may be due to the way people smoke marijuana -- by taking and holding deep breaths with smoke -- than it does with any actual benefit of marijuana itself.

The study didn't have a lot of light to shed on heavy smokers -- those who smoked the equivalent of a joint a day for 40 years, or smoked more than 25 times a month -- because the number of such users in the study was small, and the scientists weren't sure if a possible trend indicating slight lung irritation from heavy smoking was valid or not.

There is, however, another study -- the largest of its kind ever conducted, in fact, by Dr. Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) -- which shows that marijuana smoking, even heavy, long-term smoking, does not lead to lung cancer.

Tashkin, medical director of the pulmonary function laboratory at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, who has spent his career studying the health effects of marijuana, said the new study is helpful because it was relatively large and followed people for a long time, which gives him confidence in the results.

"The main thrust of the paper has confirmed previous results indicating that marijuana in the amounts in which it is customarily smoked does not impair lung function," he said.

His own study of heavy, habitual marijuana smokers -- people who smoked the equivalent of a joint a day for 50 years -- found no harmful effect on lung function.

Tobacco's Another Story

Tobacco smokers, on the other hand, were found to have less capacity in the amount of air they could exhale, and also in the speed at which they could empty air from the lungs. Cigarette smokers in the study saw their lung function drop steadily over the entire 20 years.

The study included more than 5,000 people in the United States. They were studied between 1986 and 2006.

"Marijuana may have beneficial effects on pain control, appetite, mood and management of other chronic symptoms," researchers from the University of Alabama, the University of California, and Northwestern University said in a statement.

"Our findings suggest that occasional use of marijuana for these or other purposes may not be associated with adverse consequences on lung function," the researchers said.

Over the 20-year period, researchers repeatedly checked two measures of lung function, reports Brenda Goodman at WebMD. One was a test that measured the amount of air forcefully exhaled in a single second; the second test measured the total amount of air exhaled after taking the deepest possible breath.

These tests help doctors diagnose chronic, irreversible breathing problems like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of COPD; researchers expected marijuana to irritate the lungs in a similar fashion, since it contains many of the same chemicals as tobacco smoke. But crucially, the cannabinoids in marijuana smoke seem to protect the lungs and pulmonary passageways from both irritation and from cancer.

Source: Pot Smoking Not Linked To Breathing Problems; May Help Lungs - Toke of the Town
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:57 AM
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Soooooo, toking is kinda like working out as I am increasing my lung capacity?

I'm gonna get me a 20 lb pipe so I can do reps! Lots of them.
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:06 AM
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(Yeah I got this theory that especially bongs help you increase your lung capacity.)
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Old 01-11-2012, 03:02 AM
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Default Association Between Marijuana Exposure and Pulmonary Function Over 20 Years

Association Between Marijuana Exposure and Pulmonary Function Over 20 Years

Mark J. Pletcher, MD, MPH;
Eric Vittinghoff, PhD;
Ravi Kalhan, MD, MS;
Joshua Richman, MD, PhD;
Monika Safford, MD;
Stephen Sidney, MD, MPH;
Feng Lin, MS;
Stefan Kertesz, MD

[+] Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Drs Pletcher and Vittinghoff and Mr Lin) and Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine (Dr Pletcher), University of California, San Francisco; Asthma-COPD Program, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Kalhan); Department of Surgery (Dr Richman) and Division of Preventive Medicine (Drs Safford and Kertesz), University of Alabama at Birmingham; Center for Surgical, Medical and Acute Care Research and Transitions, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Birmingham (Drs Richman and Kertesz); and Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, Oakland (Dr Sidney).

Abstract

Context
Marijuana smoke contains many of the same constituents as tobacco smoke, but whether it has similar adverse effects on pulmonary function is unclear.

Objective To analyze associations between marijuana (both current and lifetime exposure) and pulmonary function.

Design, Setting, and Participants The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, a longitudinal study collecting repeated measurements of pulmonary function and smoking over 20 years (March 26, 1985-August 19, 2006) in a cohort of 5115 men and women in 4 US cities. Mixed linear modeling was used to account for individual age-based trajectories of pulmonary function and other covariates including tobacco use, which was analyzed in parallel as a positive control. Lifetime exposure to marijuana joints was expressed in joint-years, with 1 joint-year of exposure equivalent to smoking 365 joints or filled pipe bowls.

Main Outcome Measures Forced expiratory volume in the first second of expiration (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC).

Results Marijuana exposure was nearly as common as tobacco exposure but was mostly light (median, 2-3 episodes per month). Tobacco exposure, both current and lifetime, was linearly associated with lower FEV1 and FVC. In contrast, the association between marijuana exposure and pulmonary function was nonlinear (P < .001): at low levels of exposure, FEV1 increased by 13 mL/joint-year (95% CI, 6.4 to 20; P < .001) and FVC by 20 mL/joint-year (95% CI, 12 to 27; P < .001), but at higher levels of exposure, these associations leveled or even reversed. The slope for FEV1 was −2.2 mL/joint-year (95% CI, −4.6 to 0.3; P = .08) at more than 10 joint-years and −3.2 mL per marijuana smoking episode/mo (95% CI, −5.8 to −0.6; P = .02) at more than 20 episodes/mo. With very heavy marijuana use, the net association with FEV1 was not significantly different from baseline, and the net association with FVC remained significantly greater than baseline (eg, at 20 joint-years, 76 mL [95% CI, 34 to 117]; P < .001).

Conclusion Occasional and low cumulative marijuana use was not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function.

Source: Association Between Marijuana Exposure and Pulmonary Function Over 20 Years, January 11, 2012, Pletcher et al. 307 (2): 173
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:18 AM
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Whew thats a relief!!

Thanks again Moosey.
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Old 01-11-2012, 04:30 PM
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I believe in America before marijuana was criminalized, pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes were available in drugstores specifically for asthmatics, weren't they?

I'll breathe even deeper when it's legal again...
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Old 01-11-2012, 05:22 PM
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While they were at it, it seems that they might've confirmed the earlier small study on incidence of lung cancer among long-term cannabis smokers, tobacco smokers, and the non-smoking population. The small study had shown a slight protective effect (against lung cancer) associated with cannabis smoking vs. non-smoking (but it was small enough to have possibly been statistical noise), and it linked tobacco smoking to greater incidence of lung cancer, but not cannabis smoking. For confirmation a study over a longer time and larger population was called for.
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Last edited by donb; 01-11-2012 at 05:26 PM. Reason: add
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