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Secondhand marijuana smoke more harmful than secondhand tobacco smoke: Study

Secondhand marijuana smoke more harmful than secondhand tobacco smoke: Study

Cannabis is known as one of the oldest psychoactive substances used by man. There are several ways of taking in cannabis – it can be smoked, snorted or injected. Though marijuana has some positive aspects, its smoke, even secondhand smoke, is quite harmful. However, people fail to realize this.  

A recent study by the American Heart Association claimed that due to exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke for a minute, blood vessels take three times longer to get back to normal functioning, compared to the response received after exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. The study was conducted on rats.  

Secondhand marijuana smoke more paralyzing than passive tobacco smoke

According to the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in July 2016, when rats inhaled secondhand marijuana smoke, its effect on the arteries was three times more paralyzing than secondhand tobacco smoke. Arteries that carry blood functioned less efficiently for 90 minutes in case of exposure to marijuana smoke. However, impairment caused in the case of secondhand tobacco inhalation was of about 30 minutes.

Senior author of the study Matthew Springer, Ph.D., and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco’s Division of Cardiology, said, “The way a rat’s arteries react to the secondhand tobacco smoke is similar to that of humans. So the way arteries of a rat’s are reacting to secondhand marijuana’s smoke should also be similar.”

Springer said that while the effect was temporary, it can lead to long-term problems and impairments like blocking of arteries. The study also highlighted that while several states are legalizing marijuana for recreational and medical purpose, it becomes imperative to understand the consequences of legalization.

“There is widespread belief that, unlike tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke is benign. We in public health have been telling the public to avoid secondhand tobacco smoke for years, but we don’t tell them to avoid secondhand marijuana smoke, because until now we haven’t had evidence that it can be harmful,” Springer said.  

Marijuana use on the rise

The ongoing national debate on the restriction of marijuana usage and its legalization for medicinal purposes in 29 American states and Washington D.C. has divided the country into two groups that stick to their beliefs and fail to change them. Marijuana usage has been on the rise among  

Americans, especially among adolescents and young adults. In 2007, there were 14.5 million marijuana users, which increased to 19.8 million in 2013. As per the United Nations (UN), 94 million people in the U.S. admit to the use of marijuana at least once in their lives.

According to various researches, marijuana smoking has many negative effects. Its short-term use can impair thinking and coordination and its long-term use can decrease IQ levels. Marijuana use has been associated with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Recovery roadmap

Those who support medical marijuana say that it can help calm nausea, increase appetite, soothe anxiety and pain and helps manage epileptic seizures. However, these claims cannot be verified due to restriction on research on the drug.  

The NIDA says that marijuana becomes addictive if a person can’t control the urge to consume it and patients suffering from its addiction tend to find it impossible to overcome. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction to marijuana or any other substance, get in touch with the Texas Drug Addiction Treatment for a comprehensive and evidence-based treatment program. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-5757 or chat online for information about drug rehabilitation centers in Texas.


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