Moderate dagga not bad for lungs

2012-01-11 12:38

New York - Smoking the occasional joint does not seem to have any detrimental effects on lung health, a new US study suggested on Tuesday.

Researchers found that several measures of lung health actually improved slightly as young people reported using more dagga - at least up to a couple of thousand joints in a lifetime.

"There's no doubt, if you've watched a Harold & Kumar movie, marijuana triggers a cough," said Dr Stefan Kertesz, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who worked on the study. But questions have remained about the drug's longer-term effect on lung functioning.

"Previous studies have had mixed results," Kertesz said. "Some have hinted at an increase in lung air flow rates and lung volume [with dagga smoking], and others have not found that. Others have found hints of harm."

While marijuana smoke has many of the same toxins as cigarette smoke, he said, people who use dagga tend to smoke fewer joints each day than tobacco users smoke cigarettes. That and the method of inhaling may offer some relative lung protection, researchers have proposed.

New data

But the findings from the study - which was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the US National Institutes of Health - do not let marijuana off the hook for long-term health consequences.

"I think a lot more work will need to be done to make any blanket statements about safety," said Dr Jeanette Tetrault, a substance abuse researcher at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, who was not tied to the new research.

The new data comes from a long-term study of more than 5 000 young adults in Oakland, California; Chicago; Minneapolis; and Birmingham, Alabama.

From 1985 until 2006, researchers regularly asked participants about their past and current use of cigarettes and marijuana. They also tested how much air their lungs could hold and the maximum rate of air flow out of their lungs.

The researchers found that the more cigarettes the participants smoked, the worse their lungs performed on both tests, Kertesz's team reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

But moderate levels of dagga smoking did not seem to hurt lung function.

Lung volume and air flow rates both increased with each "joint-year" - the equivalent of 365 joints or pipe bowls - participants said they had smoked, up to about 2 555 joints.

The findings do not mean that people should smoke marijuana to improve lung function, the researchers said.

Dagga might irritate the lungs in the short term and cause problems for people with asthma, they said.

  • qhuggett - 2012-01-11 12:51

    Ooh the anti Dagga brigade must be doing their nut!

      David - 2012-01-11 13:45

      You right mon! When is the Babylon system going to legalise this holy herb?Dem want to arrest I-and-I for lighting me spliff! Bumboclaats...

      RE - 2012-01-11 19:57

      soon all the alchoholics will b locked up for their evil poison n sweet mary-jane will walk the street free, for everyone to take a puff of her.. inhale ..... exhale..

  • Citizen - 2012-01-11 12:52

    My wife is a recovering addict so i find these comments disingenuous, its a FACT that 90% of people who do 'soft' drugs end up hooked on hard core drugs like cocaine, tik etc. How many people must die or ruin their lives while people 'rationalise'their reasons for doing drugs.

      Kyle - 2012-01-11 13:05

      you do have a point how ever coffee is a drug, are you going to stand up and fight against that?

      glenn.kohne - 2012-01-11 13:11

      its not addictive i smoked for 15 years and gave up cold turkey with no problems , people that try harder stuff is because they want harder stuff . Has nothing to do with weed .

      Gareth - 2012-01-11 13:13

      Of all the drugs, cannibas is the most natural and least offensive. How cigarettes and alcohol can be legal and cannibas not is beyond me. Money makes the world go round and Governments cannot control its production or sale, a nightmare for the tax man, so make life easier and outlaw it. Smoke it and find out for yourself if its as bad as you think it is and wether it makes you want to go out and buy harder drugs. I think you'll find it wont.

      Patrick - 2012-01-11 13:17

      No offense but there are various legal drugs that pose a far greater threat to society than dagga. Alcohol is a perfect example, yet nobody suggests that we criminalize alcohol. Some people will just naturally be inclined to abuse substances, others not so much. There is no drug in the world that will actually cause you to try heavier substances, rather it's all because of human decision.

      christo.crous - 2012-01-11 13:18

      @ Citizen Wake up's not addictive. Your wife may have an addictive personality, but don't blame the doobie. I've been smoking on/off for 27 years and it don't bother me a bit if I don't have some for weeks/months.

      Donald - 2012-01-11 13:26


      zane.zeiler - 2012-01-11 13:29

      LOL, Good lord man! Where on earth did you get your "FACT"? 90% of my friends (and I have a lot of them) smoke the occasional joint and not a single one of them are hooked on any hardcore drugs...

      Clive.D.Buckley - 2012-01-11 13:30

      I used to smoke it quite regularly when I was in my teens to early 20's... haven't touched it in nearly 20 years and was never tempted to try harder drugs... I would not smoke it now because I gave up smoking tobacco +- 10 years ago and the idea of smoking anything actually makes me feel quite ill BUT weed is harmless... I think the problem comes in when people get in with the wrong crowd and are tempted to take more hardcore drugs... and I do agree, other drugs, like heroin, are a serious menace to society...

      Barbara - 2012-01-11 13:33

      Where are those stas from? One big prob with smoking weed is that its illegal - so for the desperate teenagers all sorts of pressures come into play which could lead them to try harder drugs. As a number of correspondence have pointed out - we use other leisure drugs on a daily basis which do not lead us to try harder drugs - the diffs is that they are legal. In fact I started using a harder drug, Nicotine, when I stopped smoking weed yrs ago largely cause its illegal- I'm now addicted to it - Much more difficult to give up!

      jody.beggs - 2012-01-11 13:39

      @Citizen. What else was she using , cigarettes , alcohol , coke , cracks , TIK , Meth? I've smoked green for 12 years and don't get withdrawals or string cravings. As the article said its moderation. An addict does what they need to do.

      elistoned - 2012-01-11 13:47

      Fact? another misinformed troglodyte whipping "facts" out of his ass... FACT is, studies have shown that the use of marijuana actually has NO link to the use of hard narcotics, marijuana is less addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, and continued research both medical and psychological has shown that smoking the devil's lettuce may actually be good for you as it can slow down cancer and stave off harmful psychological disorders. go do some bloody research before you start preaching your stupid nonsense.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-01-11 13:51

      @Patrick: EXACTLY!! Tell him! It all comes down to personal choice, not because the dagga forced you to go out and buy cocaine and schnaaf it.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-01-11 13:52

      Any bet he is religious...

      Richard - 2012-01-11 14:10

      Um.. @ everyone that says it's not addictive you are wrong.. Not everyone will get hooked on it but in 2006 alone there were over 150000 diagnosed (and self proclaimed - people that were struggling to quit) marijuana addicts in the US alone. Just go and google the number of people that are trying, yet struggling to quit smoking. Life is bigger than you (i.e. you are not everyone) so please stop your naivety. If you want to state baseless opinions as fact then go read, even for one minute (as I did), before writing nonsense. Whether this is a gateway drug is irrelevant as smoking on it's own can have pretty negative effects on ones life. If you want to smoke it and are not doing so excessively then enjoy, many people tend to abuse it though and their day-to-day life suffers greatly. Btw, for those that smoke a lot, if you are finding that everything is always everyone elses fault and you are in the same place of your life you were 5 years ago, you should probably stop smoking.

      Jules - 2012-01-11 14:27

      90%...more disinformation from a prohibitionist.... lets have a link to the facts please. The gateway theory is very '70's and completely out of date. it's been disproved by nearly 2 generations of studies so stop trying to cloud peoples judgements with it. It's old. your mothers milk was the gateway, don't you get it....and if it wasn't for the nature of the darkness of prohibition, soft drugs and hard drugs wouldn't all be in the same place, in the dealers pocket on a skanky street corner...

      RE - 2012-01-11 20:00

      God said we can use all the herbs n seeds on planet earth, jesus turned water into wine and alcoholics was reborn, thats why he was put to death....

      spookhuis - 2012-01-12 07:23

      Well Mr Citizen, she shouldn't have put the "white stuff" in her spliff.

      Buzz - 2012-01-16 11:37

      @ Richard: You fail to point out that the only reason the dagga rehab number in the US is so high, is because those caught by cops with minor amounts can choose between rehab and prison. Rehab being the obvious choice. So it's not a case of "ooooooh nooooo. MJ is ruing my life i need to get help". It's more a case of "oooooo sh1t I've been caught by the cops, I can go to jail or rehab. I'll go to rehab please Mr Judge."

      treveshan - 2012-03-22 10:48

      Citizen, I empathize with your situation. Have you ever considered though that the reason why anybody would move from weed to heavier drugs is because those heavier drugs would be offered from the person who they purchase their weed from? I believe, because of current laws, that a lot of people purchase their marijuana from individuals who may not be the most upright of citizens. The illegality of marijuana puts the drug in the hands of the drug dealers, who's business it is to sell drugs. Of course with any business, people want to make money, and dealers/suppliers make a lot more money selling 1g of cocaine than 1g of marijuana. Of course they are going to push their higher value products! Take the power out of the hands of the dealers and consider supporting legalization!

  • wesley.bischoff - 2012-01-11 13:47

    Study after study proves that it is not a bad drug at all. There has never been a recorded death due to THC overdose... EVER!!! You would have to smoke 948kg within 14 minutes for it to kill you, and even then it would be the carbon monoxide that kills you, not the weed. So people, get over the issue of dagga being a hard drug that destroys lives, because it doesn't. People's ignorance destroys lives.

  • navarrocarly - 2012-01-11 13:51

    Nah its all natural, cant kill you. The worst thing that can happen is.. well, a dam good night's rest! Use with a water filtration system recommended. ;)

  • DieSeL - 2012-01-11 13:55

    Anything can be addictive! Smoking, coffee, gum... I suppose it isn't always considered an addiction. Sometimes just called "habit" Hmm... its 2 o clock.. Tea time!

  • chris.kleynhans - 2012-01-11 14:00

    I am sure it damages the synapses in your brain. and it happens basically immediately. Show us studies done on that first. Who cares about the lungs?...

      Jules - 2012-01-11 14:31

      put this in your pipe and smoke it.. it doesn't damage your brain....look it up yourself...

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-01-11 15:05

      @Chris.kleynkop: If it damaged the synaptic nodes in your brain, do you really think doctors would prescribe it to cancer patients? Please, don't be an ignoramus. It does not damage anything in the body, AT ALL!! It has actually been shown to reduce tumour size.

      jody.beggs - 2012-01-11 16:18

      @Jules thanks.

      sashairla - 2012-01-11 17:51

      Your synapses are damaged, boet. There have in fact been studies that suggest smoking cannabis increases brain cell growth.

  • vivienne.midlane - 2012-01-11 14:12

    "I think a lot more work will need to be done to make any blanket statements about safety," said Dr Jeanette Tetrault But "they" have been making blanket statements based on fraudulent data for decades!!! Asides, if we legalised it, the pigs would have nothing left to do.

  • Althea143 - 2012-01-11 14:37

    where is Phil.....I want him to comment on this ...LOL

      Sean - 2012-01-11 14:47

      I hope he does comment can't wait to hear what he has to say......

      Philip - 2012-03-27 13:56

      @Althea ... good one ...

  • Sean - 2012-01-11 14:46

    Legalize already! :-D puff puff pass.

      jody.beggs - 2012-01-11 14:58

      Yes please ..

  • Luyanda - 2012-01-11 15:33

    It's quiet incredible that a lot of people are so misinformed about ganja. Imagine a world where the script was flipped, were alcohol/tabacco were illegal and ganja legal. I'd want to live in that world. On a different note, i recently relocated to gauteng, where does one find the dopest blunt in pretoria?

      the_gob - 2012-01-11 16:18

      Got a few numbers on my phone, too bad its still classified as a Class D drug...More lobbying needed to make it a controlled substance. Weed much safer than booze and that's a fact!!

      Luyanda - 2012-01-12 08:48

      @ Gob: hit me up with the digits (

  • Fre Ta M - 2012-01-11 16:26

    not bad

  • the_gob - 2012-01-11 16:31

    To the misinformed, Mary Jane, is a much safer substance on the body and i guess in society than booze. How many stories do you read everyday off, "drunk driver kills 4", or, "boozed up hubby beats wife" etc. Now how many times a YEAR, do read, stoned driver kills anyone? Weed better than booze fact! You can drive high but can't drive drunk!!! Now to debunk some myths of weed, does it kill brain cells? hmmm, lets see, I've been toking for bout 15 odd years, and as Software Engineer I doubt that it killed many brain cells (if it did, geez, i must've been Einstein). Ok, next myth? Weed causes cancer? Well then, why is it prescribed to cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy? All this gateway drug nonsense is just that, nonsense... Now SA lets lead the way on the Continent and legalise it!!!!

      the_gob - 2012-01-11 16:37

      Oh btw, April 20 is recognised worldwide as National Weed Day, so put that in your diaries!! 4 20 after the unofficial American Police code for cannabis smoking in progress! Light it up and pass it on!!!

  • meandean1 - 2012-01-11 16:34

    gonna wrap one up right now

  • Johnny - 2012-01-11 16:44

    Cannabis is like Religion, not for everyone. People get equally as narrow minded with their opinions. I made an active choice to stop smoke cigarettes and start smoking Cannabis. I feel much healthier, happier and confident. One joint a day from 10 Cigarettes a day is a step forward in my books. I have a stable job, good family life and have never had the urge to try anything harder. Gonna skin one up when i get home!

  • Owen - 2012-01-11 16:45

    I am 57. I have been a dagga criminal for 39yrs , sorry, forgot what I wanted to say. bye

      jody.beggs - 2012-01-12 10:06


  • Mr Ordinary - 2012-01-11 17:08

    If weed is really so bad, then why does it help so many? If it is truly so dangerous, then how come it has never killed?

  • fanta.panda - 2012-01-11 17:27

    Prohibitionists always rely on the pathetic "gateway" argument ... Please stop using this a basis for your rationale! Secondly, blanket statements about the safety of marijuana are difficult to make, but one thing that has been agreed upon many times over the past few decades is that it is near impossible (and I mean IMPOSSIBLE!!!!) to die from an overdose of the psychoactive component in marijuana (which is known as THC). Please stop using outdated, archaic, and agenda-filled arguments regarding this substance. I would suggest throwing out your DVD of "Reefer Madness" and picking up a repuatable scientific journal instead. Peace, love, and puff. fanta.panda

  • navarrocarly - 2012-01-11 18:17

    Well 2be fair 2the 'haters', I suppose u 'could' say that it is ‘hazardous’ 2 ur health, not because of the drug itself, but ur lifestyle that may 'change' to accommodate it. One scenario, u smoke in the evenings, u tend 2 enjoy gaming more, stay up later, and get less sleep. Sleep deprivation is a brain killer. Another example might be if u have some sort of manic depressive disorder, or just a tendency to be royally depressive, weed does ‘deepen’ this a little. But on the other hand, several ppl I have met have found it helps them ‘forget’ problems bugging them, and focus on being positive. Thus leading to random laughter, pointless yet in-depth conversations, etc. To put it in layman's terms, it kind of ‘energizes’ ur brain, if u can say that; higher level of thinking, improved perception, tendency 2 talk 2 yourself (perhaps that one is just me), attention to detail, and improved logic (great with programmers lol). Metabolic burn increase? Ok I am definitely no scientist, but its close enough. It does all depend on u, what your personality is like, your habits etc. Bottom line is, it’s not dangerous. My opinion on it being gateway: Far from it. In fact, some nasty drug users I used to know, after taking excessive amounts of cocaine, or whatever other powder they could find, generally used weed to ‘bring themselves down’, and get sleep! The cases where people used weed, then moved onto harder things, has to be a path that particular person was going to travel on anyway!

  • DREGstudios - 2012-01-11 21:32

    Marijuana is the safest drug with actual benefits for the user as opposed to alcohol which is dangerous, causes addiction, birth defects, and affects literally every organ in the body. Groups are organizing all over the country to speak their minds on reforming pot laws. I drew up a very cool poster featuring Uncle Willie Nelson and The Teapot Party for the cause which you can check out on my artist’s blog at Drop in and let me know what you think!

  • Richard.Poulton - 2012-08-13 10:15

    These comments on here speak for themselves! Everyone that occasionally puffs the herb understands its awesomeness, and not in an abusive way. I used to drink almost every weekend and it was horrible, now, I would way rather puff. And to the people who are claiming weed makes you dof, all my friends that smoke weed are super smart, doing applied maths, or post grad law etc... so wa!

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