For decades now, the effects and harms of smoking tobacco and inhaling secondhand smoke have been studied all over the world, with multiple types of research being published every few years or so. It has been established and universally accepted that tobacco smoke can cause irreparable damage to cardiovascular vessels, especially if inhaled over and over again.
Little was known about the harmful effects of marijuana smoke on cardiovascular vessels until a recent study by Matthew Springer, Ph.D., professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the University of California-San Francisco, and his colleagues were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Within the research, rats were exposed to both regular tobacco smoke as well as marijuana smoke for as short of a while as one minute. When the cardiovascular vessels of both these types of rats were studied before and after smoke inhalation, and the time it took for both types of vessels to restore optimum previous functioning was calculated, the observations were very astounding. It was observed that while the rat that had inhaled tobacco smoke only needed 30 minutes to recover blood vessel function, it took nearly thrice that amount of time for the rats that had inhaled marijuana smoke to recover.
Despite the fact that this research was based on rats and their response to second-hand smoke, it is not a far stretch to assume that human beings will respond similarly, if not exactly in the same manner. Rat and human arteries are exceptionally similar in functionality which is why these researches are primarily done on rats. If rat vessels were unable to carry blood as optimally for that 90 minutes period, it is incredibly probable that human blood vessels will respond similarly.
It must be acknowledged that the effects recorded in this research were for a set and very short time period of one minute, which is why the blood vessels were able to recover functionality. Despite seeming like temporary damage, the researches of this study have categorically stated that long-term exposure to both tobacco and marijuana smoke can cause irreparable damage to blood vessels, eventually resulting in fatal cardiovascular diseases and health risks. Now if tobacco smoke, in the long run, can cause heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, then long term marijuana smoke inhalation can be far worse for the body. Judging from the difference in blood vessel functionality after only a minute’s smoke inhalation, this does not seem far-fetched.
With movements to legalize many forms of recreational and medicinal marijuana all across the Unites States, the researchers draw our attention to the fact that even though a lot has been said about tobacco and its harms in the media, marijuana, and its harms are not as publicized. For some unknown reason, even people very familiar with tobacco and tobacco smoke’s harms are extremely unaware of the severity of the damages marijuana smoke can cause.
The biggest problem seems to be the dominant narrative that only directly smoking marijuana will result in health risks. Though this form of smoke inhalation is far more problematic in the long run and far more harmful as well, it must be acknowledged that secondhand marijuana smoke is harmful as well, and that too far more than second-hand tobacco smoke.
With a lack of extensive research in this field, this particular study does well to explain the harms of smoke, especially marijuana smoke. Researchers claim that all forms of smoke, be it tobacco, marijuana or any other source must be avoided at all costs.