Smoking Weed VS Tobacco : Which One is More Damaging to Your Health?

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Smoking weed vs tobacco, which is more damaging to your health? This is a question that has baffled the minds of people following the legalization of Marijuana for recreational and medical reasons.

In this article we will compare which of these two plants prove to be more a threat to one’s health, comparing the drugs active ingredients, basing on facts with research and the effects of both drugs on our pulmonary and respiratory function.

Different Types of Smoking Devices

Since substances like Marijuana and Tobacco are heat-activated, the most common way to introduce these drugs to our system is by means of smoking it.

Most commonly, smoking of Tobacco will come in the form of a:

  • Cigarette & Cigar – A cylinder of finely cut tobacco rolled into paper, nowadays usually manufactured by commercial companies.
  • Vaporizer- A small device of various shapes where you add tobacco into a chamber like dry herbs. It uses conduction and/or convection to heat the material.

Smoking Marijuana on the other hand is most commonly consumed via:

  • Joint – a pre rolled marijuana stick into cigarette paper, usually rolled  manually by the user.
  • Bong – marijuana paraphernalia that uses water or any liquid substance to filter the smoke, granting its user the ability to take a bigger hit or bong rip.
  • Pipe – a narrow tube made from wood, clay or glass that has a bowl in the other side where marijuana is loaded in. In most cases, a pipe is portable and is easier to use.
  • Vaporizer – much like how tobacco is vaped marijuana is also added to the device in various forms and vaped through convection or conduction.

Active Ingredients in Tobacco and Marijuana

There are a bunch of different active ingredients found in Tobacco and Marijuana. Some of these ingredients are harmful to the body while some; especially those in Marijuana have a beneficial effect on the body.


smoking weed vs tobacco

Nicotine is a substance that is abundant in tobacco. It is a potent parasympathomimetic alkaloid that comes with inhaling a tobacco cigarette. The substance produces all the good feelings drawn by smoking tobacco and is what makes users of tobacco crave for more, meaning nicotine processes the addictive factor in tobacco. Nicotine is not found in Marijuana.


smoking weed vs tobacco

THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is one of marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredients. THC is responsible for the users euphoric high and is also what keeps user from taking in the drug. THC does not post any addictive effects like Nicotine in tobacco does. THC is also a bronchodilator, meaning it expands the lungs and blood vessels, which can aid in the clearance of unwanted substances.


TAR is the common name for the resinous, partially combusted particulate matter produced by the burning of tobacco and marijuana. This is toxic and damages the smoker’s lungs over time through various biochemical and mechanical processes. There is more Tar found in Marijuana than that of Tobacco.

A common argument when comparing Tobacco and Marijuana is an argument regarding Tar.

Although Tar is more abundant in Marijuana, users of Marijuana tend not to chain smoke like Tobacco users do.  The more potent the Marijuana is, the less likely for Marijuana users to smoke again.

Because Nicotine is abundant in tobacco, users tend to keep smoking more as the day goes by, making them gather just as much Tar in their system or maybe even more.

Studies show that tobacco use already accounts to 443,000 deaths per year in the United States alone. This is a study done by the UCSF and the University of Alabama in Birmingham that collected data from around 5,000 adults in the United States, for more than 20 years.

smoking weed vs tobacco

Marijuana, having some of the same components as Tobacco, has a record that shows no deaths and requires more long-term concrete data. Although marijuana has been legalized in just the past decade, some people have been using marijuana throughout their lives.

How Smoking Affects Your Pulmonary and Respiratory Function

smoking weed vs tobacco

Tobacco and Marijuana pose huge threats in our lungs when these substances are inhaled through smoke. The smoke has carcinogenic toxins that can cause Lung Cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

However, to date, there is no record of Marijuana causing Lung Cancer and other illnesses. In fact, Marijuana can aid in curing cancer in a study by

Tobacco on the other hand has been a top player in causing lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.

smoking weed vs tobacco

Healthier Methods for Consuming these Substances

There are alternative ways we can consume these substances so we absorb them into our body. What’s more these methods can filter the negative effects which smoking imposes. This way we filter all the carcinogenic effects and leave only the good stuff.


smoking weed vs tobacco

Marijuana can also be taken into our system in the form of food. Breaking down marijuana and turning it into an oil or butter which then will be used as an ingredient in cooking and baking food.

Tobacco on the other hand cannot be broken down and be used as food since this might cause an overdose due to its nicotine content.


smoking weed vs tobacco

Both Tobacco and Marijuana can also be introduced to our system by means of using a Vaporizer.

In Marijuana, the Vaporizer will heat the finely cut bud to a certain temperature where in only the active ingredients, such as THC and CBD are released ready to inhale, in vapor form.

For Tobacco users, the dry leaves can be vaporized or nicotine mixed with glycerin is turned into liquid form. This liquid is then heated and turned into a Vapor  that the user inhales to get the satisfaction they need. Nicotine vaporizers are commonly used by those who want to quit smoking tobacco because they can control the levels of nicotine and slowly wean themselves off.

The study is leaning towards vaping marijuana, as least harmful to our health.

The Verdict of Smoking Weed vs Tobacco

Vaporizing Marijuana gives you all the medicinal benefits without the toxins that smoking Marijuana imposes on the user, like TAR.

While vaporizing can prove to be an effective way of alleviating the effects on tobacco, having nicotine in the body can be toxic and is dealt with accordingly, which vary from person to person.


Smoking Weed VS Tobacco Infographic


Which would you choose to unwind at the end of the day…

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