After carrying out a new study on cannabis, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found that cannabis smoking does not carry the same health risks as tobacco smoking.

The study compared groups of individuals who have never, used to, and currently smoke marijuana. Many of them were monitored for more than four years.

The development of COPD was not linked to marijuana smoking in either former or current cannabis smokers. The same applied to the progression of COPD.

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a chronic lung condition that causes difficulty breathing due to obstructed airflow from the lungs.

Cannabis vs Tobacco Smoking article - image of cannabis leaf and packet of cigarettes

Image created by

Agrees with prior studies

These latest findings are consistent with previous studies. They all suggested that cannabis smoking is not associated with greater COPD or lung cancer risk.

Regarding this study, Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML ( National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law), said:

“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’s 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.”

Due to the limitations of the study, the authors added that further studies are necessary to better understand the long-term effects of smoking cannabis.

About cannabis

Cannabis or marijuana is a plant that people use for recreational or medicinal purposes. One of its active chemicals THC, can make you feel ‘high’ or ‘stoned.’ CBD, another active chemical, does not cause a high but may offer health benefits.

Article Citation:
Impact of Marijuana Smoking on COPD Progression in a Cohort of Middle-Aged and Older Persons,” Igor Barjaktarevic et al, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases. May 2023. DOI: 10.15326/jcopdf.2022.0378.