Secondhand marijuana smoke may be as harmful as tobacco smoke when considering its effect on the blood vessels, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
The research called “One Minute of Marijuana Secondhand Smoke Exposure Substantially Impairs Vascular Endothelial Function” was led by Dr. Xiaoyin Wang, who worked alongside the Division of Cardiology of the University of California in San Francisco. The motivation behind the study was the belief that secondhand marijuana smoke is benign, in comparison to secondhand tobacco smoke.
Study details and other theories
Researchers exposed rats to tobacco smoke and marijuana smoke. The blood vessels and heart function responded in the same way, suggesting that marijuana might have the same effect on heart function than tobacco. Some critics have stated that rats are not the proper subject in this kind of experiment. Researchers responded that rats’ system is close enough to the human’s system.
The experiment was conducted with the aid of a smoking machine in a lab, using Marlboro cigarettes and marijuana cigarettes. The endothelial function was measured with a specific type of artery dilation test called FMD.
This test allowed researchers to measure the flow of blood in the femoral arteries. The test also allowed researchers to determine how long it took for the artery to recover from the effect of smoke.
According to the investigation, rats exposed to marijuana took longer to recover normal artery flow, in comparison with those rats exposed to tobacco cigarettes. While the latter recovered in 30 minutes, those exposed to marijuana recovered in 90 minutes.
The results were not tied to the use of some kind of paper because researchers performed second versions of the experiment using only the plant and not a cigarette built with rolling paper, what led to the conclusion that the effect is produced by burning the plant itself.
This study sums up to a huge amount of investigations linked to the effects of marijuana on the overall health of the human body, but still, there is no strong evidence to sustain a clear policy about the use of marijuana.
— CNN (@CNN) July 30, 2016
Some states are working to make legal the possession of small amounts of marijuana
Last Friday, Illinois’ Governor, Bruce Rauner, signed a law that decriminalizes the possession of marijuana in amounts under 10 grams. The act is still punished with fines between $100 and $200.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service, marijuana use has considerably increased within the past 20 years.
The daily use of marijuana exceeds the ingest of alcohol in the youngest populations and even overcomes the use of tobacco cigarettes in the country.
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) July 30, 2016
Since 1982, the Department of Health and Human Services has asked the Congress to establish policies against marijuana
The Department of Health and Human Services has presented studies performed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the Canadian Addiction Research Foundation, and the World Health Organization. These studies suggest that there are several risk factors associated with marijuana, like severe effects on mental functioning and effects in judgment and motor skills.
Impairment in memory and learning processes, affections related to the lung function, and some reproductive issues like problems with ovulation and sperm motility, are also side effects related to the use of marijuana, according to those studies.
— Civil Eats (@CivilEats) July 30, 2016