Marijuana smoke: Three times more harmful than cigarette smoke


Arohan Rimal, [email protected]

A recent study by a University of California San Francisco (UCSF) professor has concluded that marijuana smoke is three times more harmful than tobacco smoke to the arterial system.

Matthew Springer, a professor in the division of cardiology at UCSF conducted a research on rats to observe the effect of secondhand smoke on their blood flow. His research demonstrated that second hand smoke hinders the blood flow in rat arteries.

Springer believes that society has been convinced that tobacco is harmful, because many different researches on the harmful effects of tobacco have been conducted and publicized. However, such researches have not been done with marijuana smoke. He started this research to break this trend.

Students at ULM also tend to believe that smoking marijuana is healthier than smoking cigarettes.

“There is a common belief that marijuana comes straight from the plant, so it does not contain many chemicals. It is also believed that there is no nicotine in marijuana,” sophomore communication major Destinee Andrews said.

Andrews says that most people talk about nicotine as the bad guy of smoking.

“Since people believe that marijuana does not have nicotine and it gives the sense of being high unlike cigarette, people who do not smoke cigarettes are willing to smoke marijuana if it was legal,” she added.

Sophomore computer science major Anusha Adhikari said she has always had a negative attitude towards marijuana, because she thinks of it as an entry level drug.

“However, people who do not do other drugs smoke marijuana, because they think it has mild effects on physical and mental health. Some even believe that long term use of marijuana has medicinal value,” added Adhikari.

Springer said that highly regulated doses of medicinal marijuana may have less chemical additives than cigarettes.

“People say marijuana is ‘natural,’ because the actual plant contains less toxicities compared to the synthetic forms,” third-year pharmacy Susan Egbert said.

Egbert said that use of marijuana should be allowed for people who need it for medicinal purposes, but the amount should be regulated.

Since marijuana is illegal and cigarettes are considered unhealthy, many people indulge in smoke-free e-cigs and vaping devices as alternatives.

However, Springer points out that even they release a cloud of aerosolized chemicals that are harmful for us.

Junior toxicology major Darrell Mabou agrees. He says that just because marijuana is medicinal for someone, it does not make it beneficial for all people.

“Smoke is smoke. All kinds of smoke contain particulates, polycyclic hydrocarbons which are harmful. People seeking recreational and even medicinal use of marijuana should find other ways than smoking it,” he added.

Legalization of marijuana has always been a debate with fierce responses from both sides.

Springer will continue to further his research.