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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Smoking pot doesn't hurt lung capacity, study shows

Smoking pot doesn't hurt lung capacity, study shows


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Smoking a joint a day for up to seven years didn't cause a reduction in lung capacity, a new study shows. 


By Kimberly Hayes Taylor


Periodically smoking marijuana doesn't appear to hurt lung capacity, the largest study ever conducted on pot smokers has found.

Even though most marijuana smokers tend to inhale deeply and hold the smoke in for as long as they can before exhaling, the lung capacity didn't deteriorate even among those who smoked a joint a day for seven years or once a week for 20 years, according to the study published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.

In recent years, studies on marijuana smoking and its effects on lung function have been contradictory. While most studies have shown no effects on the lungs from smoking cannabis, others have shown adverse effects, and still others have shown improvement in lung function. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and University of Alabama at Birmingham knew tobacco smoking causes lung damage and leads to respiratory issues such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but they wanted to be clear whether smoking marijuana, had similar effects.

They measured lung function multiple times in more than 5,100 men and women during a 20-year period. In fact, the research shows, some people who regularly smoke marijuana can have a slight improvement in lung function.

Experts say that people shouldn’t simply take the news as green light to get high, but should also consider other factors.

“Marijuana is a complicated substance, and for people who are thinking about what they’ve done in the past or are thinking about using marijuana or believing it can help medically, their decision should not be based on lung consideration,” says study co-author Dr. Stefan Kertesz, a researcher and primary care doctor at University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Birmingham VA Medical Center.

“It’s not a decision about lung health, it’s all the other issues: the risk of addiction, an increase in the chance of having accidents and social functioning.”

Researchers reached their findings by using data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults, collecting repeated measurements of lung function and smoking from March 1985 to August 2006.  More than half of the participants, or 54 percent, said they were current marijuana smokers, cigarette smokers or both when the study began. The average marijuana use was only a joint or two a few times a month — typical for U.S. marijuana users, Kertesz said.

The authors calculated the effects of tobacco and marijuana separately, both in people who used only one or the other, and in people who used both. They also considered other factors that could influence lung function, including air pollution in cities studied.

The analyses showed pot didn't appear to harm lung function, but cigarettes did. Cigarette smokers' test scores worsened steadily during the study.

Researchers measured how well participants could blow air in and out. A healthy adult can exhale about a gallon of air in one second. Although their study focused on lighter smokers, they found some people who smoked more than a joint a day for seven years, could exhale slightly more air than that.

Kertesz says that extra strength may come from the habit of deeply inhaling, holding and slowly exhaling marijuana smoke.

“It’s a tiny increase; it’s not a big increase to lung health,” he says. “So be careful not to say that, ‘Oh, wow! Lungs work better on marijuana.’ That would be totally inaccurate.” 

Authors say there weren't enough heavy users (those who smoked two or more joints a day) among those in the study to draw firm conclusions on that group.

Dr. Donald Tashkin, who has studied the relationship between marijuana smoking and lung function for more than 30 years as a professor of medicine at UCLA, says the study confirms what other research has also concluded.

 “This is a well-done study involving more subjects than in the past,” says Tashkin, who is not affiliated with the new study. “The public should take away it’s a confirmatory study, but larger and longer than previous studies demonstrating, once again, that smoking marijuana does not impair lung function, unlike tobacco.”

Tashkin says scientists have a theory that lung capacity is not affected in marijuana smokers because the chemical THC in marijuana has immunosuppressant properties that interfere with the development of respiratory issues such as COPD. He says this indicates there will be lower rates of COPD, but marijuana smokers are still at risk for chronic bronchitis, which means they tend to have increased cough and mucus. The study didn't look at the risk of lung cancer.

And Tashkin cautions about drawing overall conclusions from the new work: “We’re only talking about one end point. We’re not looking at lung cancer, chronic bronchitis symptoms. We are not looking at other effects, behavioral effects. We are looking at lung function.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


From Vitals @  http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/10/10098412-smoking-pot-doesnt-hurt-lung-capacity-study-shows



PBS documentary highlights marijuana's amazing ability to treat disease


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by Ethan A. Huff
 


MarijuanaThe advent of the internet and the free flow of information that has enlightened the minds of millions, the mainstream media can no longer simply ignore or deny the truth about marijuana's medicinal capacity.

This was made evident in a recent PBS documentary that highlighted marijuana's ability to alleviate pain, treat epilepsy, and even cure cancer. But now that the cat is out of the bag, the stage is being set for Big Pharma to freely synthesize and patent marijuana's healing components, not necessarily for the plant itself to become legalized.

Though mostly positive in its portrayal of cannabis, the PBS report does contain some sound bytes from Dr. Eric Voth, Chair of the Institute on Global Drug Policy, a longtime, and very outspoken, opponent of medical marijuana. But all in all, the documentary is a compelling and highly-informative piece that may help to eventually turn the stigmatic tides of fear and superstition that surround this taboo plant.

To watch the full ten-minute PBS report on medical marijuana entitled Clearing the Smoke: The Benefits, Limits of Medical Marijuana visit:
http://video.pbs.org/video/2103797319

In the piece, a PBS interviewer speaks with an anonymous woman from Montana who has essentially cured her epilepsy by eating raw marijuana butter. The woman moved from her unidentified home state, which does not allow for the use of medicinal marijuana, where a law was passed in 2004 that permits doctors there to recommend medicinal marijuana to their patients.

"I used to be on approximately 14 different prescriptions and I would still have up to 12 seizures a day," says the woman to the PBS reporter. "I used to take two handfuls of pills. No more. I'm not using [marijuana] to get any psychological effects off of it, I'm just eating the butter raw with bread."

She goes on to say that she had tried virtually every anti-epileptic drug on the market, but to no avail. Of all the treatments she has tried, raw marijuana butter, which is completely natural and free of both toxic and synthetic additives, has been the only one to provide real benefits. And as an added bonus, there are no harmful side effects associated with the consumption of raw marijuana butter like there are with anti-epileptic drugs.

 

Conventional medicine is unable to grasp the concept of synergistic medicine

 

 

Dr. Voth's argument against marijuana in the PBS piece is prefaced with his opinion that because the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not proven the plant to be safe and effective, it is not a real medicine. But the reason for this, as most NaturalNews readers already know, is not because marijuana is unsafe or ineffective -- it is because whole marijuana cannot be patented by drug companies, which pay millions to get their drugs approved, and thus keep the FDA in business.

But what is even more disturbing is Dr. Voth's total failure to understand the concept of synergistic medicine, or the benefits that can be derived from consuming a whole plant or herb rather than just its so-called "active components." Dr. Voth laments the fact that people who smoke or consume medical marijuana are exposing themselves to dozens of different cannabinoids and various other substances, rather than just an extract of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), for instance.

In the mind of Dr. Voth and conventional medicine, only an "active component" that has been individually tested and shown to produce a specific, measurable effect by itself is considered a valid medical treatment. Consuming a whole herb or plant to treat disease, on the other hand, is a foreign concept to people like Dr. Voth who simply cannot comprehend the idea that the multitude of components found in medicinal foods and herbs work in tandem with one another to produce a synergistic benefit. And such components might not be as effective -- and may even be harmful -- if they are removed from the others and isolated, or created synthetically.

"Marijuana contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and probably anticancer compounds in it," adds Dr. Donald Abrams, an oncology physician and professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). "I'm a cancer doctor and I often suggest to my patients that they consider marijuana for their loss of appetite, nausea, pain, depression, and insomnia. That's one medicine they can use instead of five."

But Dr. Voth insists that medical marijuana as we currently know it is potentially dangerous, and the only way it should ever be used is in an isolated drug form. From this platform, of course, Big Pharma is given the green light to extract, manipulate, synthesize, and otherwise tamper with marijuana in its pure form in order to produce a patented version of marijuana's active components.

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US Institute of Medicine has already confirmed that marijuana has medicinal properties

 

 

Despite all the ballyhoo from marijuana naysayers, though, the truth still remains that whole marijuana has demonstrable medicinal properties. And the plant works differently from conventional medicine in that it is effective without producing dangerous side effects. Even the US Institute of Medicine (IoM) has confirmed that marijuana in its natural form is therapeutic, particularly for epileptics, having released two separate reports on the subject.

You can view samples of those two IoM reports at the following links:

Marijuana and Health: Report of a Study
http://books.google.com/books?id=8E3NXew8MIUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=...

Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6376&page=R4

And based on numerous patents filed by drug companies for synthetic and isolated component versions of marijuana, the plant apparently has the ability to treat "almost everything," according to PBS. These include its ability to treat multiple sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson's disease, Tourette's, epilepsy, heart disease, obesity, mental illness, and cancer.

Thus, drug companies want marijuana all to themselves because they know how effective it truly is. And they have worked hard to effectively block its legalization in whole form in the hopes that it can eventually corner the market on patented drug versions, which of course have the potential to reap billions of dollars in new revenue.

Again, be sure to check out the complete PBS excerpt on marijuana for yourself at:
http://video.pbs.org/video/2103797319







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3 comments:

  1. Smoking tobacco can cause addiction to individuals and quitting can be difficult for some. Using electronic cigarette may be the best alternative.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Smoking is really bad for health but and is harmful makes your life more difficult by causing many ailments in your body, stay safe and healhty by quiting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Control freaks never learn, do they? Don't you bother to READ an article before commenting on it? Take that big beam of wood out of your own eye before trying to remove a splinter from anyone else's.

      Delete

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