The New Cannabis Respiratory Study Prohibitionists Will Ignore

“Neither former nor current marijuana smoking of any lifetime amount was associated with evidence of COPD progression or its development.”

A newly released study on the “Impact of Marijuana Smoking on COPD Progression in a Cohort of Middle-Aged and Older Persons” is something you may want to break out at the family picnic when your prohibitionist uncle starts ranting. In between puffs of his nicotine butt or cigar, you can dazzle his ignorant ass with this paper by more than a dozen researchers spanning 

the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy and Immunology at Wake Forest University to the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Healthcare System’s Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation, and Policy.

The joint effort, which is published in the May 16, 2023 journal of the COPD Foundation, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases, came out of a widespread realization that “the effect of marijuana use on lung health has not been extensively studied.” The report explains, “While a significant association of marijuana smoking with symptoms of chronic bronchitis has been reported in most studies, associations with changes in lung function or other aspects of lung health over time, especially in those at risk of or with diagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), has been less studied.”

Their methods and analysis are worth a longer look, and it’s important to note that “the findings underscore the need for further studies to better understand longer term effects of marijuana smoking in COPD.” Still, their data points to promising; in summary, “Among participants with or without COPD, neither former nor current marijuana smoking of any lifetime amount was associated with evidence of COPD progression or its development.”

In reviewing the report, analysts at NORML noted, the “findings are consistent with those of prior studies concluding that cannabis inhalation, even long-term, is not positively associated with COPD, lung cancer, or irreversible airway damage. Moreover, the use of vaporization technology, which heats herbal cannabis to a set temperature below the point of combustion, is associated with reduced exposure to toxic gasses and has been identified as a ‘safe and effective’ cannabis delivery device in clinical trial settings.”

“These results are consistent with decades worth of data finding that cannabis smoke exposure is not associated with the same sort of deleterious pulmonary impact as is tobacco smoke exposure,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “They should be reassuring to cannabis consumers and to health professionals alike, and they should help to guide future policies with respect to the crafting of evidence-based public health messages and associated regulations.”