08 April 2013

Long-term Cannabis Use Is Associated With Better Health Than Long-Term Tobacco Use

People who only use cannabis show better health than people, who smoke tobacco. This is the result of a study by researchers of the University of New South Wales in Randwick, Australia. Researchers included 350 adults aged 40 or over and divided them into four groups: those who smoked cannabis but not tobacco (n=59), smoked both cannabis and tobacco (n=88), smoked tobacco but not cannabis (n=80), or used neither substance (n=123, control group). Participants completed a survey addressing substance use, diagnosed medical conditions, health concerns relating to smoking cannabis/tobacco and general health.

Several significant differences were found among the four groups. With regard to diagnosed medical conditions, the three smoking groups reported significantly higher rates of emphysema than did the control group. However, all members of the cannabis-only group diagnosed with emphysema were former regular tobacco smokers. Total general health scores, general health subscales, and items addressing smoking-related health concerns tended to show worse outcomes for the two tobacco smoking groups. Authors concluded that “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 also noted that “mixing cannabis with tobacco may synergistically compromise health.”

Rooke SE, Norberg MM, Copeland J, Swift W. Health outcomes associated with long-term regular cannabis and tobacco smoking. Addict Behav 2013;38(6):2207-2213.

International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines

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