Marijuana vs Tobacco – The Ultimate Review (2022)

marijuana vs tobacco

Marijuana vs Tobacco - Which One Is Worse For Your Health?

The ongoing debate between cigarette smokers and marijuana users about which is worse for your health is not new one.

With additional states now legalizing cannabis use, the potential health effects of marijuana smoke has become a hot topic once again. Especially amongst young people.

Whilst the adverse effects of tobacco products such as lung disease and heart attack have been well publicized in the media.

The public’s opinion of the health impacts of marijuana use is still very much split.

Advocates for the legalization of marijuana point to the potential health benefits such as easing anxiety and chronic pain relief. 

Whereas detractors argue that the recreational use of marijuana yields similar effects to that of smoking traditional cigarettes.

In this article we’re going to take a look at the similarities and significant differences between smoking marijuana vs tobacco.

The differences between Marijuana and Tobacco Smoking

Marijuana advocates say there’s no comparison between marijuana joints and tobacco cigarettes. 

A sweeping federal level assessment of marijuana research found the lung-health risks of smoking cannabis appear “relatively small” and “far lower than those of smoking tobacco,” the top cause of preventable death in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that cigarette smoking is responsible for over 480,000 deaths in the United States each year.

Cigarette smoking is the number one risk for the development of lung cancer. It has links with 80–90% of lung cancer deaths among U.S adults.

Of the 7,000 harmful smoke-related chemicals present in cigarettes, many are poisonous. Around 70 of these chemicals are also carcinogens.

People who smoke cigarettes are 15–30 times more likely to get lung disorders than those who do not smoke at all.

So now that we’re clear on the harmful effects of tobacco smoking, how do these compare with smoking marijuana?

A sweeping federal level assessment of marijuana research found the lung-health risks of smoking cannabis appear "relatively small" and "far lower than those of smoking tobacco," the top cause of preventable death in the U.S.

Marijuana vs Tobacco

“They’re different products, and they need to be treated differently”. Says Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project.

A valid quote from the pro-marijuana stance but why is this?

Firstly, the health research findings into the benefits of tobacco smoking are…non-existent whereas the health benefits of marijuana are well documented.

The World Health Organization has declared that medical marijuana can be beneficial for Cancer, Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. The organization also said that the drug is a non addictive substance.

While cigarette smoking is the top risk factor for lung cancer, some scientific evidence suggests there’s no link between marijuana smoking and lung cancer. 

That’s according to a 2017 federal report that rounded up nearly two decades of studies on marijuana.

Research that’s been limited by the federal government’s classification of marijuana as a controlled substance like heroin.

While cigarette smoking is a major cause of heart disease, the report concluded it’s unclear whether marijuana use is associated with heart attacks or strokes.

But there’s strong evidence linking long-term cannabis smoking to worse coughs and more frequent bouts of chronic bronchitis, according to the report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

However it isn’t all roses for Team Marijuana, unlike tobacco smokers, exclusive marijuana smokers are much more likely to suffer with mental health problems such as increased anxiety, paranoia or schizophrenia.

Similarities Between Marijuana and Tobacco Smoking

Whilst there are notable differences between the two products, it would be difficult to ignore the obvious similarities.

“One substance reinforces the use of the other, and vice versa, which can escalate a path to addiction”. Says Dr. Sterling McPherson, a University of Washington medical professor studying marijuana and tobacco use among teens and young adults.

Additionally, the National Academies report found cannabis use likely increases the risk of dependence on other substances, including tobacco.

One study states that cannabis smoke can cause symptoms, such as increased coughing and sputum production, similar to those found in people who smoke tobacco.

Similarly, another study states that the frequency of chronic cough, sputum, and wheezing was similar between cannabis smokers and tobacco smokers.

The American Lung Association states that these symptoms arise due to cannabis smoke injuring the cell linings of the large airways.

The World Health Organization has declared that medical marijuana can be beneficial for Cancer, Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease

Vaping vs Tobacco Smoke

Experts have said vaping pot is probably less harmful to the lungs than smoking it, though there’s little research on the health effects over time. 

There are, however,  concerns about its potency when vaped.

The American Lung Association is concerned that vaping will ultimately prove damaging to lung health and is alarmed about a surge in underage e-cigarette use. 

And adding legal marijuana to the picture “only makes it a more complicated issue,” says Erika Sward, an assistant vice president.

If you’re interested in the best CBD vape pens then check out this article.

Marijuana vs Tobacco - The Bottom Line

Ultimately, inhaling anything containing unnatural chemicals will have a negative effect on your respiratory system to some degree.

The research that is out there points to some fairly uncomfortable facts around the prolonged use of cigarette smoking.

So, if you want to avoid chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute bronchitis amongst many other things then we suggest that you swerve the cigarettes.

Medical use of marijuana is held in a much more favorable light.

Especially when it comes to less common forms of ingestion such as vaping or tinctures.

As far as marijuana cigarettes (joints) are concerned then the jury is still out!

Lastly, don’t try and kid yourself by smoking street weed and claiming it’s good for your health.