Is Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Worse Than Secondhand Tobacco Smoke?
Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Study
The Main Idea
A study that was just published in the American Heart Association’s scientific journal found that secondhand marijuana smoke could be more harmful than secondhand tobacco smoke. Researchers who worked on the project said there needs to be more public awareness about the dangers of secondhand marijuana smoke.
For the study, researchers exposed lab rats to secondhand smoke from both cannabis and tobacco for one minute each. They then ran a bunch of tests to see how the different kinds of smoke affected the rats’ bodies.
The rats’ blood vessels took way longer to recover from secondhand cannabis smoke than they did from secondhand tobacco smoke. In fact, they took right around three times longer.
After the rats breathed in secondhand marijuana, smoke their arteries carried blood less efficiently for at least 90 minutes. But when the rats breathed in secondhand tobacco smoke, their arteries slowed down for only 30 minutes before returning to normal.
Impaired blood flow can lead to some health problems, including heart attacks and other heart-related issues.
“While the effect is temporary for both cigarette and marijuana smoke, these temporary problems can turn into long-term problems if exposures occur often enough and may increase the chances of developing hardened and clogged arteries,” said Dr. Matthew Springer, one of the lead researchers on the project.
More Awareness Is Needed
Springer and his team of researchers said that there needs to be more public awareness about the dangers of secondhand cannabis smoke. They said that there’s kind of a general attitude that it’s not that dangerous. And that attitude, they said, needs to change.
“There is widespread belief that, unlike tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke is benign,” Springer said.
“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.”
The study found that it’s the smoke itself that’s so dangerous to arteries, not chemicals like nicotine or THC. Along with the dangers of secondhand smoke, the researchers reminded people that inhaling any smoke is probably not the safest idea.
Marijuana smokers have come up with some ways to reduce the amount of smoke they inhale.
Water pipes and bongs are the most classic methods for filtering out smoke. But more and more pot smokers have also started vaping to avoid inhaling actual smoke. And of course, edibles make it possible to avoid inhaling anything at all.