• Marijuana Health Risks Compared to Tobacco Health Risks

    Have you ever heard people say that smoking Marijuana is safer than smoking cigarettes?  This maybe because of the fact that there are more studies on the health effects of smoking cigarettes than smoking marijuana. However, there is evidence that both have similar major health risks. Both tobacco and marijuana smoke have harmful chemicals that the body absorbs when inhaled. This poses major health risks, like developing respiratory diseases and cancer, to both the smoker and those who inhale the smoke.

    Reports show specific links between smoking both marijuana and tobacco. These international reports found that:

    • People who try marijuana have previously smoked tobacco.
    • Many current marijuana smokers are also cigarette smokers.
    • Tobacco may act as a “gateway” to future marijuana use.
    • Smoking both tobacco and marijuana poses higher health risks than smoking each alone.
    • Nicotine dependence may develop when smoked with marijuana.

    Difference between Smoking Tobacco and Marijuana

    Tobacco is smoked in sticks or “roll your own” cigarettes. Marijuana can be smoked in different ways like using a pipe, a joint (using rolling paper), and through a bong (water pipe). Marijuana can be smoked with or without tobacco.

    It is said that smoking marijuana is most harmful when using a bong because the water makes it cooler, making it easier for the smoker to inhale large volumes of smoke. The effect goes deeply into the lungs increasing the surface area of carcinogens and tar damaging the respiratory system.

    Nicotine is addictive and mixing tobacco with marijuana increases the lungs’ exposure to tar and carcinogens. This causes a greater health risk to the respiratory and cardiovascular system. Marijuana smokers may also develop nicotine dependency causing other serious health problems associated with tobacco smoking.

    Marijuana Smokers compared to Tobacco Cigarette Smokers

    Overall, smoking marijuana poses serious health issues because of how the smoke’s properties affect the lungs when inhaled. Marijuana smokers are found to inhale two-thirds more than cigarette smokers. Inhaled smoke goes deeper into the lungs, about one-third in depth of inhalation. Marijuana smokers tend to hold the smoke in for longer periods, four times longer compared to smoking cigarette. This greatly affects the lungs because more amounts of carbon monoxide and other smoke irritants are taken in. It also retains greater amounts of tar in the lungs. These two combined, tar and carbon monoxide, increases the risk of respiratory tract infections, bronchitis, and lung cancer.


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