Cigarettes are notoriously bad for our health. In the US alone, they are responsible for 480,000 deaths per year, including 41,000 non-smoker deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. Now that the taboos around marijuana and hemp are beginning to diminish in mainstream western society, could cannabis be a healthier alternative to cigarettes?
Inhaling combusted plant matter is never good for the lungs, but which is worse for you—cannabis or tobacco? Keep reading to learn more.
How Dangerous Are Cigarettes?
When it comes to your health and wellness, smoking cigarettes is by far one of the worst things you can do. Each year, more Americans die from smoking tobacco than aids, drug overdoses, alcohol use, guns, and car accidents combined.
For one, cigarette smokers are nearly four times more likely to experience heart disease and stroke than non-smokers. The act of smoking can cause damage to blood vessels, causing them to thicken, leading to dangerously elevated blood pressure and an increased risk for stroke.
Not surprisingly, smokers are also a whopping twenty-five times more likely to develop lung cancer. Even if cigarette smokers ultimately don't wind up getting lung cancer, there can be serious long-lasting damage to their respiratory health. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of lung diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, making it difficult to breathe. Commonly, those with COPD experience wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Once you have COPD, the damage is permanent, and there’s no way to reverse it’s side effects. 20% of all smokers wind up getting COPD.
Lung cancer isn’t even the only form of cancer cigarette smokers need to worry about. In fact, smoking can increase the risk of cancer in almost all parts of the body. Even if throat and mouth cancers aren’t terminal, surgical removals can leave patients horrifically disfigured.
Is Smoking Cannabis Safer Than Smoking Tobacco?
Dr. Mark Pletcher, an associate professor in the Division of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of California San Francisco, conducted a study with the help of researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham investigating whether marijuana smoke was as detrimental to lung health as tobacco.
By measuring the airflow of 5,115 men and women, researchers made some surprising discoveries. While the airflow of tobacco smokers decreased the more frequently a participant smoked, the same was not true for marijuana users. Up to a certain level, airflow rates increased alongside increased exposure to marijuana smoke.
“We found exactly what we thought we would find in relation to tobacco exposure: a consistent loss of lung function with increasing exposure. We were, however, surprised that we found such a different pattern of association with marijuana exposure.” Pletcher said.
How To Use Cannabis While Reducing Risks To Lung Health
One benefit of cannabis becoming legal in more parts of the country is the myriad novel consumption methods now available for purchase. Things like cannabis edibles, beverages, confections, tinctures, topicals, and vape cartridges are now ubiquitous in dispensaries from coast to coast. There are even cannabinoid-infused pillows and activewear.
All these new methods of consuming cannabis are fun to try, but nothing works as effectively as traditional inhalation. However, there are ways to inhale cannabinoids while minimizing the risk to your lungs. Things like inhalers and vape pens, for instance, offer high bioavailability while reducing health risks. Though with the options, users miss out on the natural benefits of using real flower.
That’s why we developed elon®. This innovative cannabinoid delivery device pairs with eco-friendly disposable cartridges called stelo™, which are filled with sun-grown sustainable hemp flower. Elon® uses concentric heat-not-burn technology to gently heat the flower to the ideal temperature for combustion, without actually combusting it. By avoiding combustion, the elon® significantly reduces the amount of cancer-causing carcinogens produced. According to some computer-generated models, lifetime users of heat-not-burn technology may be up to ten times less likely to develop cancer when compared to conventional smokers.