As it turns out, smoking marijuana is minimally damaging in contrast with cigarettes and can even be used to promote overall health.
According to a long-term study performed by a research team at Duke University, the only adverse physical effect of smoking marijuana is on periodontal health.
Vaporizers and edibles allow users to choose between eating or vaporizing cannabis rather than smoking, providing alternative methods of consumption. Ingestible oils and tinctures that are applied orally are also available, but users should be meticulous to follow their prescribed dosage.
The same study found that subjects who smoked cigarettes had decreased lung function, poor metabolic health, and gum disease. The American Lung Association reports that cigarette smoking is identified as the leading contributor of morbidity and premature death. Cigarettes consist of 600+ ingredients -- including arsenic, formaldehyde, and nicotine.
Cannabis, on the other hand, can also be used to treat medical conditions -- including reversing carcinogenic tobacco damage in the lungs. Harvard University researchers also found that in common lung cancers, reduction of tumor growth was inhibited by 50%. The THC found in marijuana also acts as a bronchial dilator, helping to open the lungs to clear dirt and smoke.
The use of cannabinoids to alleviate chronic pain can help those living with conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, HIV, and cancer. Utilizing alternative methods of pain relief like cannabis may also help ease pain levels enough to decrease dosages of pharmaceutical opioids.
Former Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, had the following to say about marijuana and medical implications:
“The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer, and AIDS – or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.”