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Study: Cannabis Smoking Associated With “Significantly Better” Health Outcomes Than Tobacco Smoking

Randwick, Australia: Adults who inhale cannabis report significantly better health outcomes than do those who smoke tobacco or a combination of both substances, according to exploratory survey data to be published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

Investigators at the University of New South Wales assessed the relationship between cannabis, tobacco, and combined cannabis-tobacco use and various health outcomes in 350 subjects age 40 and older.

cannabis smoking health tobacco Authors reported that the cannabis-only subjects reported “significantly better” general health and fewer smoking-related health concerns compared to the tobacco-only group. Specifically, both tobacco-smoking groups experienced significantly more mucous/sputum than the other two groups (the cannabis-only group and controls). Cannabis-only subjects were less likely to report diagnoses of cancer and diabetes compared to all other groups, including controls; however, these differences did not achieve statistical significance. Overall, researchers reported, “General health measures demonstrated a pattern in which the control and cannabis-only groups tended to report the best health, with the two tobacco-smoking groups faring worse.”

They concluded, “Cannabis-only users report better health than tobacco and cannabis-tobacco users. Mixing cannabis with tobacco may synergistically compromise health.”

A separate clinical trial published in 2012 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that subjects exposed to moderate doses of cannabis smoke long-term did not suffer from deficits in pulmonary function, but that subjects exposed to tobacco smoke did so.

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: Full text of the study, “Health outcomes associated with long-term regular cannabis and tobacco smoking,” will appear in Addictive Behaviors.


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