Smoking Cannabis and Lung Health

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At this day and age, it is difficult to argue with the evidence that medical cannabis can be used to treat various conditions. However, if a person is looking for a cannabis pain relief solution, they sometimes worry about the damage their lungs might acquire by smoking this substance.

Cannabis vs. Cigarette Smoking

Any form of smoke that enters your lungs has the potential to harm this delicate organ regardless of where the smoke originates. However, the health effects of smoking cigarettes versus smoking cannabis differ greatly.

With public service announcements about the dangers of smoking cigarettes, it has become common knowledge that hazardous chemicals are added to tobacco products.

Usually, the main purpose of these messages is to drill the threats of second-hand smoke to the health.


A cannabis joint, however, is entirely plant-based which makes it completely different from processed cigarettes.

Cannabis smokers don’t have to worry about tobacco companies jamming their joints with dangerous compounds that will keep them coming back for more.

One study shows that even after 20 years of daily intake, cannabis smokers’ ability to breathe remains like those of a non-smoker.

Last year, researchers from Atlanta’s Emory University studied data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

During their study, they found that even people who have been smoking a joint every day for 20 years did not show any significant signs of cancerous lung or tissue damage.

The same is not true for cigarette smokers. Chronic bronchitis and lung disease are only some of the diseases that may affect acute tobacco users. As a matter of fact, 80% of cases of obstructive lung disease can be traced back to cigarette smoking.

A major indicator of lung diseases is that, as time progresses, the ability of the person to breathe worsens.

Smoking, in general, will cause harm to the lungs, but there is a huge difference in smoking medical marijuana compared to smoking cigarettes.

Why Cannabis Smokers Don’t Get Lung Cancer

Doctors and scientists are still confused as to why the smoke from cannabis is not directly linked to cancer.

It has been noted recently, that smoke from cannabis has some compounds that are also found in tobacco. But because of THC in cannabis, marijuana smokers don’t seem to develop cancer.

Spain’s Complutense University of Madrid has done some research in animals confirming that THC can make tumor cells destroy themselves.

Studies to prove the power of THC as a true tumor-terminator in humans are not yet available. Fortunately, as mentioned in an example earlier, hope is seen in animal tests.

testing MMJ

In these lab creatures, THC is observed to prevent and slow down the growth of cancerous tumors.

In Germany, another study was conducted to evaluate the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on lung cancer cells.

There are exciting results that prove CBD’s potency in preventing cancer cells from moving to different parts of the body. The results also said that CBD prevents cancerous cells from infecting other healthy cells.

Authors even said that clinical trials for lung cancer treatment should be done with CBD. These are only some of the findings that explain why smoke from cannabis does not cause lung cancer.

And when it comes to CBD oil and your lungs, it is best to explore all treatment options and products first to find the one that supports your personal circumstances the most.

Other Ways to Apply Medical Cannabis

Everyone has a favorite way to consume marijuana. It may be through pipes, water, joints, blunts, and concentrates.

To ensure the safety of the lungs, smokers need to know the advantages and disadvantages of the different forms of consuming cannabis.

Vaporization has shown better results when it comes to a healthier set of lungs. A vaporizer doesn’t use direct flame, so users are able to inhale cannabis vapor without all the poisonous gasses that are associated with burning, such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and of course tar.

Ways to Apply Medical Cannabis

When you lighten a lighter, it can reach temperatures of up to 3,590.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 1,977 Celsius. Smoking a pre-rolled joint, or pipe means that you completely burn your marijuana.

Unfiltered, hot smoke is what will allow tar increase and itching. Using a screen for your pipe or utilizing an all-natural rolling paper will reduce its negative implications.

smoking cannabis in a pipe

Many people believe that when marijuana is smoked in a bong, the smoke becomes less dangerous for their lungs and, therefore, lowers the risk of lung cancer because it is chilled with water inside.

You can even add some ice if you want to cool down the smoke even further for your lungs, although it may not make a difference for your lung health.

Australians Are Using Bongs for Smoking Cannabis More than Any Other Nation - Global Survey

Cannabis Consumption Alternatives

Patients who are worried about the long-term impact of smoke in their lungs should know that there are other alternative ways to consume marijuana, especially with the increasing number of medical marijuana-related products sold in dispensaries. These merchandises pose less or absolutely no risk to the lungs.


Topicals are marijuana-infused balms, lotions, and oils that can be applied to the skin for localized relief of pain, and inflammation. Because they are non-alcoholic, topicals are often selected by patients who want therapeutic benefits of marijuana without the cerebral ‘high’ associated with other forms of delivery.

Other modern transdermals are rapidly coming to the cannabis market, including long-standing patches and lubricants for patients and recreational users.


Smoking is not the only way to consume cannabis orally as it can be eaten or drank. Marijuana that is processed by your liver tends to have long-term results, thus providing relief from your symptoms for a longer period of time.

Marijuana edibles are available in more and more dispensaries. Many dispensaries sell high-quality marijuana candies and baked goods these days.

Tinctures and Oils

Oils and marijuana tinctures used to be one of the earliest and most commonly used forms of medical cannabis before it was made illegal in the early 1900s.

A pinch is usually dropped under the tongue. Sometimes, dashes are added to drinks to replicate the medical properties of cannabis

Cannabis Tinctures and Oils

There are many ways to enjoy medical marijuana without the risk of hurting your lungs. Eating or drinking, applying topically or some drops of some combined oils in your morning smoothie offers a solution to get your fix that poses absolutely no risk to your lungs.

If you are just enjoying the experience of smoking, remember that vaporizing has shown that it is a safer way to consume marijuana for your lung health. It’s also important to note that smoking, in general, is harmful to your lungs, but smoking cannabis is way more harmless in a smoker’s lungs compared to cigarettes.

Do you prefer to smoke cannabis? What is your preferred application method?
Share your experience with us in the comments below.

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