Stevens Point, WI: Subjects who exclusively smoke cannabis possess a reduced level of exposure to harmful toxicants and carcinogens than do those who smoke tobacco cigarettes, according to clinical data published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.
A team of researchers affiliated with the University of Wisconsin and the University of Minnesota assessed differences in toxicant exposure among cannabis-only smokers, tobacco-only smokers, and subjects who routinely smoked both substances.
They reported that those participants who only smoked cannabis “demonstrated lower levels of toxicant exposure for most biomarkers” as compared to those subjects who smoked tobacco-only and/or cannabis and tobacco. Authors further reported that co-users of cannabis and tobacco did not possess greater exposure to harmful constituents as compared to those who only smoked tobacco.
Authors speculated that the disparity in subjects’ exposure to harmful toxins may be due in part to differences in the frequency with which cannabis-only smokers consume the substance as compared to tobacco smokers.
The study’s findings are consistent with prior research concluding that cannabis smoke and tobacco smoke are likely not equally carcinogenic, and that marijuana smoke exposure is typically not associated with the same type of deleterious effects to health as is tobacco smoke exposure. Moreover, the use of vaporization technology, which heats herbal cannabis to a set temperature below the point of combustion, is associated with reduced exposure to toxic gasses and has been identified as a “safe and effective” cannabis delivery device in clinical trial settings.
Full text of the study, “Cigarette smokers versus cannabis smokers versus co-users of cigarettes and cannabis: A pilot study examining exposure to toxicants,” appears in Nicotine & Tobacco Research. Additional information is available from the NORML fact sheet, “Cannabis Exposure and Lung Health.”