What Does Marijuana Do To Your Lungs?

Marijuana deposits four times more tar in the lungs then tobacco.


Since tobacco smoking causes cancer, marijuana smoking must as well. Right? Wrong.

Marijuana decreases the risk of lung cancer. Marijuana does not cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Thus, Pot is safer than cigarettes.

Professor emeritus of medicine at UCLA and one of the United States’ leading pulmonologists who has been studying weed and its effects on lungs for more than 30 years, Dr. Donald Tashkin once sought to prove pot causes lung cancer, but the evidence forced him to conclude that average weed smoking does not cause lung cancer or impair lung function:

“The smoke content of marijuana is very similar to that of tobacco. There is a higher concentrate of cancer-causing chemicals in marijuana tar, and it reaches the lungs before any other organ, so there is this idea that they are related in causing the same health issues of the lungs. But through my studies we failed to find any positive association [with cancer]. Instead, the association would be negative, between lung cancer and the use of marijuana. The likelihood is, that despite the fact that marijuana smoke contains carcinogens, we don’t see the same heightened risks of cancers that we see in tobacco.”


Dr. Tashkin is not alone in his analysis. To investigate the association between cannabis smoking and lung cancer risk, data on 2,159 lung cancer cases and 2,985 controls were pooled from 6 case-control studies in the US, Canada, UK, and New Zealand within the International Lung Cancer Consortium. Results from the pooled analyses in 2014 provided little evidence for an increased risk of lung cancer among habitual or long-term cannabis smokers.

“I was opposed to legalization because I thought it would lead to increased use and that would lead to increased health effects. But at this point, I’d be in favor of legalization. I wouldn’t encourage anybody to smoke any substances. But I don’t think it should be stigmatized as an illegal substance. Tobacco smoking causes far more harm. And in terms of an intoxicant, alcohol causes far more harm.” – Dr. Tashkin

Dr. Tashkin also found that smoking marijuana, unlike smoking tobacco, does not cause COPD.

“Reasoning for this may be that marijuana is a potent anti-inflammatory and suppressive. But COPD is activated by tobacco smoke and other toxic substances. The other major impact of tobacco smoking on the lungs is the association between smoking tobacco and the development of destructive pulmonary disease, the third cause of death in America.”


Again, his current findings echo results from previous research. In a large cross-sectional analysis of US adults aged 18 to 59 using data from two rounds of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), researchers from Georgia’s Emory University found in 2015 that occasional and low cumulative marijuana use was not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function.

Cumulative lifetime marijuana use, up to 20 joint-years, is not associated with adverse changes in spirometric [a person’s ability to exhale] measures of lung health. Although greater than 20 joint-years of cumulative marijuana exposure was associated with a twofold increased odds of a FEV1/FVC less than 70%, this was the result of an increase in FVC [forced vital capacity], rather than a disproportional decrease in FEV1 [forced expiratory volume]as is typically associated with obstructive lung diseases.

The largest and longest study ever to consider the issue [Researchers tested the lung function of 5115 young adults over the course of 20 years, starting in 1985 when they were aged 18 to 30], published in 2012 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that occasional marijuana smoking does not impair lung function.

Marijuana may have beneficial effects on pain control, appetite, mood, and management of other chronic symptoms. Our findings suggest that occasional use of marijuana for these or other purposes may not be associated with adverse consequences on pulmonary function.

Marijuana plus tobacco equals lung poison

Consultant Physician at St. Lucia’s Victoria Hospital, Dr. Martin Didier, warns:

Tobacco contains over 4,000 toxic substances which destroys your lungs. Marijuana for all we know is less toxic, probably contains up to 400 but the combination of smoking marijuana and tobacco they interact and it changes the whole thing into a poison. A poison which destroys the structure and function of the lungs with a lot of consequences.”

Marijuana use alone doesn’t cause significant abnormalities to the lungs

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, told ThinkProgress:

“If we’re serious public policy people, we would let the scientists figure this out. Does one set of vegetative matter produce a certain range of carcinogens? If so, to what degree and amount? How do people consume it? This entire discussion should be based on science. But the laughable thing is that the government is against this type of research. All we have are anecdotes but we need science that meets the standards of a proper peer review.”

This Article (What Does Marijuana Do To Your Lungs?) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and AnonHQ.com.


Get Your Anonymous T-Shirt / Sweatshirt / Hoodie / Tanktop, Smartphone or Tablet Cover or Mug In Our Spreadshirt Shop! Click Here



  1. It has been proven time and again the positive effect of Marijuana to the point of turning purple and still find ignorant people living in the past, way past that still has that mentality of negativity towards it, but until the big boys in the political arena see that is not only medicinal but also create a very ludicrous industry with the hemp fibers and seeds to proof that legalizing it is the only right option. Why it was catalog as a schedule 1 is beyond me when you have tobacco and alcohol which causes worst adverse effect and are addictive. Why not legalizing it with a warning just like cigarettes and alcohol consumption?

    • Because tobacco and alcohol have thousands of years of history with mankind, while marijuana is a relatively new commodity. Government folk have a hard time legalizing anything new, especially something which they don’t know everything about yet.

      • Actually when testing samples form Egyptian mummies it was found that they had both traces of cocaine and Marijuana in their cells! Not only does this show that these drugs have been known for thousands of years but also goes to ask how the question how weed and coke got to Egpyt when it came exclusively from South America!

        • Dude that was a question and not an exclamation on your last sentence. Not to mention Marijuana literally grows anywhere you have sun and water. I don’t know about cocaine production, but I know weed isn’t exclusive to South America! Not now or then.

        • Certainly no surprise they had cannabis rope was made from it throughout Asia, Africa and Europe but cannabis did not reach the Americas until the 1500’s just like opium poppy. Coca on the other hand was native to South America and used for thousands of years and is no worse than coffee health wise but just like caffeine extracts can kill you so can cocaine. I highly doubt there is a solid source that coca was ever found in ancient Egyptian tombs.

        • Lake titicaca in the Andes is the only other place in the world where they build reed boats identical to the ones they used on the Nile River. Makes a guy wonder

      • Marijuana has been used by Native Americans long before we came here as part of their religious ceremonies. It’s not a “relatively new commodity” and has thousands of years of proof that it is safer than Alcohol and Tobacco as well as other drugs, including legal drugs used for many medical conditions.

      • Seriously you think marijuana is a recent commodity it’s been around longer than tobacco and alcohol it has more history than alcohol and tobacco combined might want to look up your faxsand do your research first

  2. “The likelihood is, that despite the fact that marijuana smoke contains carcinogens, we don’t see the same heightened risks of cancers that we see in tobacco.””

    yes that makes sense. not.

      • Lolsucks is right, it does make sense that pot smokerwon’t do 20 joints a day. I’ve smoked both, and gave up both a little over 2 years ago. But I could smoke 30 tailor cigarettes a day easy, stoned or not!

      • An oil based tar becomes expelled by water based lungs… A water based tar incorporates with the water based tissue… I’m surprised it took a scientist to say this for people to figure it out… It is the simplest of science really

  3. Name one person that has died because of marijuana vs countless ppl that has died from tobacco. Not to mention those that suffer from cancer are encouraged by some Drs to smoke pot. The proof is there. Politics keeps it illegal

    • actually you cant quantify that…. because you cant differentiate the two death causes apart, if it is from cancer.
      if a pot smoker is also a regular smoker, and he dies from a lung disease, who can tell if the disease was caused by one or the other?

      • This study reports that mixing both Marijuana smoke with Tobacco smoke is a poisonous combination. However, there are many Marijuana smokers who WILL NOT touch tobacco. Therefore, you can find examples of long term Marijuana smokers who haven’t used Tobacco, and compare their lungs to other smokers and see how their lungs were affected. Once you have multiple examples of lungs that have smoked marijuana with little to no effect vs. multiple examples of people who have smoked tobacco. If the lungs from Group M (Marijuana Smokers) show little to no abnormalities and Group T (Tobacco Smokers) have lung damages. Your study can then prove that Marijuana has no major effects unlike tobacco. Therefore, you can quantify that marijuana smoke is much better for you than tobacco smoke.

  4. Think about it, think about this.. I smoke pot and still run a successful and growing construction company.. I smoke way more then normal by far.. And I do circles around my 20 year old workers.. My stamina is great and I have no problem moving around and breathing.. Especially since I quit smoking Cigarettes 4 years ago.. Since then I have smoked pot with no papers.. So for 4 years with no stupid Cigarettes my lungs have actaully started healing.. But by your sense you think they shouldnt.. So who should I believe a dim wit like you who probably judges it like I am some shaggy or scooby character.. But the reality is I bet I am more successful then you by far and tmyet I smoke pot.. So whats your excuse??

    • The power of any study is in the selection of the research groups. It is very difficult to create equivalent test and control groups as there is always the risk of there being confounding variables. Randomness is not something that is easily established in a society as complex as ours. It may be that there is a fundemental difference between those who use regulaly and those who don’t in terms of background health,lifestyle,exposure to other toxic agents etc.

      Also the term 20 joint years is used. If used in the same way as other terms, say man-hours,it would mean something like 20 joints over one year or 5 joints over 4 years and so on. This seems implausible,so they must be using the term in other ways.

      One must also remember that there are those who have vested interests in legalizing marijuana,mostly in the form of anticipating huge profits. If you don’t believe that research findings can be manipulated,you should follow the pharmaceutical industry,whose research is rife with corruption and false findings,all in service of selling more medication that often is useless or even harmful. Be careful of findings that simply tell you what you want to hear.

    • You apparently didn’t contract lung cancer (yet) from your years of cigarette smoking either. Not everyone has the same risk. Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones. So if you do get lung cancer,what will you blame? The igarettes or the weed? You are not yet out of the woods. People are at risk for many years after they quit smoking.

  5. This just puts drug dealers out of a job. its a plant its my body so why do you people care what other people want to do with there body. plus it helps cancer people its better than the morphine they got me taking for pain.so let me have my weed and buzz off if you don’t like don’t do it. but don’t keep telling other wise law abiding tax paying people alone ty

  6. I have asthma and I self medicated with pot for anxiety for about 3 years. I figured it would wreck my lungs and make my asthma worse. To my amazement, it actually helped me breathe better and made the asthma almost disappear! My wife and I had our first child so for legal reasons, I quit. I didn’t want to lose my son. I now take 14 prescriptions that smoking a small bowl of weed every night could replace.

    • Wow!! 14 prescriptions will likely harm you SOOOOO much more than smoking weed. I’ve been smoking weed on and off for 44 years, (I’m 57 and get great marks on each annual check-up with full blood work). No Doctor can accurately predict what even two or three prescriptions will do to your body or mind. There simply aren’t any studies that can indicate the outcomes for multiple medications at the same time. Ask any dedicated health professional. M.D. or otherwise. … Also if you stay on 14 prescriptions… it seems highly likely that your son may lose you before too long.

      I’m not saying jump off all your med.s without help, but a second opinion, (to that of the one/s who put you on that much pharmaceutical junk), is certainly well warranted. I suggest you reach out to professionals who don’t push drugs. God (goodness) bless you man.

  7. and there are other ways of consuming pot, it does not have to be burnt, vaping is a better method and a better buzz all the way around….so for those that have a intolerance to the smoke itself can still enjoy the affects

  8. As I have possibly asked before on these pages, could it be the contemplative frame of mind frequently associated with pot smokers that our masters find so threatening?

  9. I’m a nicotine addict, and I have to say my lungs fare better when I smoke a bit of pot then when only on cigarettes.. I never had a smoking cough though, because unlike many people I’m not ashamed of cleaning my lungs by making dirty sounds.. because that’s the way nature designed our lungs, with a self-cleaning procedure called coughing. Smokers die of diseases because they are forced by society to hide the fact that they smoke, and cough.. so their lungs get more dirty because of the pressure society puts on smokers.. I don’t remember people working in the coal-mines being targeted for social attacks because they tax the healthcare system too much.

  10. It’s probably because weed smoke is lest radioactive. A tobacco smoker gets a higher dose of radiation than an astronaut during a spacewalk when they smoke.

  11. I spent thirty years in the electronics/computer field and some of the smartest, most inventive people I knew were extremely heave pot smokers. They functioned just fine and came up with way more ideas than me. Made me think about starting again. Unfortunately, I’m one of those that start getting paranoid from it. Still no harm. Just stop. No bad effects.

    • Sounds like you smoked for a very short period of time. I experienced similar paranoia initially, but later a friend guided me how to stay in control of my thoughts. Before smoking, try to convince yourself that everything is ok (regarding the paranoia subject you experience), and then light it up. You can always control it and be in the driving seat to go wherever you want, rather letting the thoughts drive you.

  12. The simplicity of this does not prove or disprove anything at this point. Selection samples for research tend to be small and controlled with limited basis for the study. Until legalization has some legs to bear in society, all these reports and media flashes are useless.

  13. Guys, just because it may have medical benefits does not automatically mean we should use it. Granted, I would enjoy seeing it legalized, but there was also another study published a few months ago that looked at how grey matter in the brain, the stuff that connects the two hemispheres, was affected by the concentration of THC in the marijuana. If the strain cannabis contained 10-15% or more THC, regular use of it will cause serious damage to that region of the brain while 5% THC or less did not deteriorate it at all, even under regular daily use. Supposing that study were repeatable, that could lead to some better medical cannabis and potentially OTC or commercial cannabis.

    • @anymoose” can you post the link to the “study published a few months ago”?? παν μέτρον άριστον

  14. Not the full story… a new review published last week in the journal “Respiratory Care” by the University of Tampa, USA, compiled results from 48 other studies, and found the following: “The research indicates that there is a risk of lung cancer from inhalational marijuana as well as an association between inhalational marijuana and spontaneous pneumothorax, bullous emphysema, or COPD. A variety of symptoms have been reported by inhalational marijuana smokers, including wheezing, shortness of breath, altered pulmonary function tests, cough, phlegm production, bronchodilation, and other symptoms.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27507173


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here