Smoking Tobacco Vs. Smoking Marijuana – Which Is Worse?

Research findings suggest smoking of any type is dangerous for our health

Worldwide, smoking tobacco causes over seven million deaths per year. This figure will reach eight million by 2030 should smoking pattern worldwide remains the same. Smoking tobacco is globally recognised as one of the leading causes of death worldwide because of diseases such as coronary heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc.

Estimated death rates following tobacco smoke. Source

Similarly, marijuana can also be smoked, and many people assume the risks of smoking it are equal to the risks associated with smoking tobacco. However, cannabis and health research findings show that smoking cannabis is less dangerous than smoking tobacco, and the former has caused fewer deaths.

The biggest advantage is that, unlike tobacco, there are many ways to consume cannabis other than smoking it.

Tobacco vs. marijuana

Evidence shows that there are many differences as well as similarities between smoking marijuana and smoking tobacco.

Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, and around 70 of them are carcinogenic. Inhaling toxins and cancer-causing chemicals every day eventually takes a toll on the smoker’s health. New research from Canada shows that toxins in marijuana cigarettes may actually be higher than those in tobacco.

Both tobacco and marijuana smoke have polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, though marijuana smoke levels are lower in “mainstream” smoke (which is inhaled and exhaled by users) but higher in “side stream” smoke (which rises from the tip of the marijuana cigarette).

Health effects of smoking tobacco

Tobacco is the most common cause of lung cancer worldwide. Because tobacco smoke lowers blood oxygen levels and changes the lung structure and other tissues in our body, it causes many major diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, COPD Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and emphysema. It also causes cancer in many areas of the body, asthma, glaucoma, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Health Effects of Smoking Marijuana

Although smoking anything is bad for the lungs and may lead to many complications over time, marijuana smokers seem to be at a lower risk of health complications when compared to tobacco users.

According to a 2017 federal report “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids,” some scientific evidence suggests that there is no connection between cannabis smoking and lung cancer. The report also concluded that it is unclear whether marijuana smoking can cause heart attacks or strokes. Cannabis vaping could reduce the risk of its consumption even further.

But a lowered risk doesn’t mean that there is no risk. Marijuana smokers are exposed to smoke, tar, and a few other carcinogens. According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, long-term cannabis smoking is linked with worse coughs and frequent bouts of chronic bronchitis.

Other ways to consume marijuana

No matter how safe smoking or vaping marijuana may be, there will always be some risks associated with it. Fortunately, there are many safer and some risk-free ways to consume cannabis. For instance, you can opt for cannabis laden tinctures that kick in very fast and are portable. They also make it possible to choose from a wide range of flavours depending on your preference.

Another alternative to smoking is consuming cannabis-infused food and beverages. An extensive range of cannabis edibles is emerging in the market. There are cannabis-infused cookies, candies, pancakes, butter, oil, soft drinks, and many other products. You can find cannabis in many body and health care products as well. Whichever product you choose, it’s important to start with a low dose and keep adding slightly to find the best level for you.

Tobacco or marijuana?

Quitting tobacco and marijuana smoking is crucial to stay healthy and to minimise your risks of health complications.  You should stop smoking tobacco to avoid potential hazards to your health. If you can’t avoid marijuana, you should choose other, safer ways to consume it rather than smoking it. Vaporisers for cannabis limit the formation of combustion products and are therefore could be safer than smoking.

Further research is needed to prove marijuana’s medicinal benefits, though the majority of scientific opinion support that there are no or reduced health risks with marijuana when consumed appropriately. That makes it highly preferable to tobacco, and therefore a better choice for people who choose to smoke.

Published by Neil

Neil believes Cannabis has medical benefits and should be prescribed by a Doctor. This site aims to provide accurate information on the science and legality of Cannabis so you can make informed decisions.

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