Is Marijuana A Better Alternative To Cigarettes?

Many smokers choose to make the switch from cigarettes to marijuana, whether it’s to simply give up smoking forever or to get more of a “buzz” from an inhalant. Marijuana and tobacco are both derived from naturally-occurring plants, but there’s a common misconception that “naturally-occurring” substances are always healthy. This simply isn’t the case.

Comparing marijuana and cigarettes requires some facts about both and their effects on the body, so you can choose for yourself. The answer to the question is a matter of personal preference, but you’ll find an in-depth comparison below for your consideration. If you’re a smoker, there are plenty of alternative products available aside from marijuana to get you off of cigarettes, including tobacco-less chew (Black Buffalo is a good start), CBD oils, and more.

Cigarette Facts

To get started, let’s look at some cigarette facts. Cigarettes are one of the most deadly and destructive products on the market to individual and public health and even the environment. Every year, the tobacco industry is responsible for millions of tons of litter, toxic waste, and thousands of deforested acres to make way for massive tobacco farms. This environmental damage affects wildlife, ecosystems, and perhaps more importantly, waterways.

You see, the tobacco industry is a fan of pesticides and fertilizers. After all, the crops can be worth billions of dollars in the final product form, so they must be protected and provide the highest yields possible. The problem with these chemical fertilizers and pesticides is that they’re loaded with dangerous and toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and other substances that offer a serious health hazard. And all of those nasty things end up in your cigarettes.

Cigarettes are said to contain anywhere from 3,000-7,000 chemicals, and at least 70 of those are known carcinogens (cancer-causing). Cigarettes have been linked to dozens of cancers and can cause serious damage to internal organs such as the heart and lungs. In fact, smoking makes you twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke because of its effects on the heart and blood vessels.

When you inhale cigarette smoke, the chemicals affect the red blood cells; specifically, the hemoglobin. Your blood thickens, and those platelets have a much more difficult time carrying and delivering oxygen to important organs and tissues. Not to mention, your blood pressure spikes, which causes serious strain on cardiac muscles and the inner lining of blood vessels. The bottom line?  Every time you take a drag on a cigarette, you’re taking minutes off of your life. And that’s a fact.

Marijuana Facts

Marijuana is a strain of Cannabis that contains higher concentrations of THC, the psychoactive compound responsible for marijuana’s classic “high” sensation. Users report feelings of euphoria and heightened physical sensation, as well as serious impairment. Let’s look at some marijuana facts to properly compare it to cigarettes.

Marijuana does not contain the enormous number of chemicals that tobacco does. While it has found use in some medical applications to help manage things like pain and anxiety, the exact benefits of inhaling marijuana smoke are still being studied. What we do know is that it shows great promise in pain management and perhaps even managing conditions like depression.

That being said, there’s a common misconception that you can’t become addicted to marijuana. Let’s clarify. While you can become chemically addicted to nicotine, you likely won’t become chemically addicted to THC, but that doesn’t mean you won’t become dependent on it for everyday life. You can become dependent on just about anything that brings you joy.

Is It Better?

The question still remains whether marijuana is a “better” alternative to cigarettes. The short answer? No. The lungs are designed to inhale oxygen, and that’s the only thing that should be entering them. Foreign substances can be dangerous, and hot smoke from any inhaled plant matter can cause damage to important lung structures.

Not to mention, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, despite being legalized in several states. That means you could potentially be prosecuted for possessing, growing, or using it.

Conclusion

Perhaps a better question to ask is, “what could I be doing instead of smoking?” Many of us suffer from a helpless addiction to a harmful vice, but even replacing that vice with something similar but “less harmful” can still be harmful in the end. Perhaps we should instead focus on art, literature, and other noble pursuits to better ourselves and spend our time more wisely. Vices, however minor they may seem, can lead us down a road we do not want to take. A more focused approach to our personal health will make us a happier, healthier society as a whole, which is something we definitely need during this pandemic. Don’t put yourself at risk for something that only damages your body!

Surgeon General Releases Advisory on Marijuana’s Damaging Effects on the Developing Brain

HHSEncourages Youth and Pregnant Women Not to Use Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Surgeon General Vice Adm. Jerome M. Adams, issued an advisory emphasizing the importance of protecting youth and pregnant women from the health risks of marijuana use.

Marijuana, or cannabis, is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a component of marijuana, binds to receptors in the brain, producing euphoria and a variety of potentially harmful effects, including intoxication and memory and motor impairments. Newer strains of marijuana have also shown to be increasingly more potent, leading to other risks like anxiety, agitation, paranoia and psychosis.

“Marijuana is a dangerous drug, especially for young people and pregnant women,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “This historic Surgeon General’s advisory is focused on the risks marijuana poses for these populations, which have been well-established by scientific evidence. As indicated by President Trump’s generous donation of his salary to support this advisory, the Trump Administration is committed to fighting substance abuse of all kinds, and that means continuing research, education, and prevention efforts around the risks of marijuana use.”

Pregnant women use marijuana more than any other illicit drugs. It is also commonly used by adolescents. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s recently released 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data showed that marijuana continues to be the most widely used illicit drug and that further, frequent marijuana use, in both youths (12-17 years old) and young adults, appears to be associated with risks for opioid use, heavy alcohol use and major depressive episodes. In 2017 alone, approximately 9.2 million youth aged 12 to 25 reported using marijuana in the past month and 29% more young adults aged 18 to 25 started using the substance.

“There is a false perception that marijuana is not as harmful as other drugs. I want to be very clear – no amount of marijuana use during pregnancy or adolescence is known to be safe,” said Surgeon General Adams.

Compounding concerns regarding marijuana use and the developing brain is the surge in products with a higher THC concentration, and their accessibility. The risks of physical dependence, addiction, and other negative consequences increase with exposure to high concentrations of THC, daily use, and the younger the age of initiation.

As the advisory notes, it is “… intended to raise awareness of the known and potential harms to developing brains, posed by the increasing availability of highly potent marijuana in multiple, concentrated forms. These harms are costly to individuals and to our society, impacting mental and physical health and educational achievement and raising the risks of addiction and misuse of other substances.”

Read the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory: Marijuana Use and the Developing Brain.

Smoking vs Vaping Marijuana, Which Option Is Healthier?

With the many health risks that come with smoking, more and more people today are switching to vaping. Some of the common side effects of smoking include lung infection, throat infection and many other health risks. Thanks to technological advancements, vaporizers have made it possible for you to enjoy your marijuana or nicotine without worrying about all these risks.

Understanding Vaporizers

A vaporizer is an electronic device that mainly works by heating herbs at a specific temperature in an oven chamber. Heating these herbs indirectly makes it possible for the contents to vaporize without necessarily burning, hence producing a more luxurious and better punch as compared to smoking the same. The best thing with using a vaporizer is that the temperatures are highly controlled hence a very low risk of combustion. The controlled temperatures ensure only the active ingredients are vaporized hence reducing the risk of producing harmful chemicals which would have been produced if combustion took place. For this reason, you only get to inhale CBD, terpenes, and other cannabinoids from the herb.

Health Benefits of Vaping Marijuana

Vaping cannabis is relatively easy. All you need to do is grind the herb, place it into the heating chamber, heat it up, and then start inhaling. The benefits of using an herbal vaporizer outweigh smoking the herb. Some of the health benefits of vaping marijuana are outlined below.

1.    No Smoke Involved/Produced

Smoke is one of the health risks that come with smoking marijuana. The smoke produced affects other people (especially non-smokers) within the vicinity. This is one of the reasons many states and cities have tightened their laws on smoking cigarettes. According to research, more than 450,000 people in the United States die each year due to smoking. Vaporizers however only produce vapor (which is in gaseous form). The vapor is only delivered to the user, hence no risk of secondary smoking.

2.    Fewer Carcinogens

Carcinogens are mainly produced when combustion occurs, which under most instances is due to very high/uncontrolled temperatures. Any form of combustion on tobacco, for example, produces at least 4000 different types of chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause cancer. Some of these carcinogens are due to the chain reaction triggered by the extreme temperatures. Vaporizers however operate on controlled temperatures, hence only vaporize the herb at temperatures a little lower than 440°F. With the temperature controlled, the risk of producing carcinogenic gasses, such as benzene is greatly reduced.

3.    It Is Easy On Your Lungs And Throat

Medical practitioners are among the biggest proponents of vaping.  Patients on a medical marijuana prescription are often advised to use vaporizers instead.  This is particularly important for individuals with throat and lung problems and individuals who cannot smoke. Although some people will turn to edibles, these aren’t as effective as inhaling the CBD vapor.  With the vapor smooth and easy on the lungs and throat, vaping is the best and viable option for most patients.

4.    Efficiency

As mentioned earlier, a good vaporizer only vaporizes the herb producing a high-quality CBD vapor. Vaporized at controlled temperatures (not too high), the quality of CBD produced is significantly much higher than if it was subjected to combustion temperatures. Smoking the herb only reduces the quality of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids, hence a less efficient way to deliver the same. With the best portable dry herb vape, the quality of vapor and contents inhaled is greatly improved. These vape pens are also highly efficient in producing a good quality and smooth punch.

Secondary Benefits of Vaping

Vaping is not only beneficial to your health but also presents many more advantages. Although most people will switch to the mighty vape simply for its health benefits, you should realize many more benefits as you continue vaping.  Outlined below are some of the real advantages of vaping medical marijuana as compared to smoking the same.

a.    Minimal Odor

The first thing you will notice with vaping is that very little or no odor is left once one is done vaping. This is unlike smoking where tons of smoke and smell linger around for much longer. One of the reasons behind this is that, very high temperatures are involved while smoking, which means the thick smoke created sticks around for longer and even clings to your body and clothes. Vaping, on the other hand, produces vapor in steam form, which is thinner and lighter. Vapor doesn’t have as strong a smell as smoke does.

b.    It’s Economical

It is more economical to vape than smoking in the long run. Although the initial cost of a starter pack may be a little high, this is just a one-off expense. Getting a refill for the same is relatively easy and cheap too. This is compared to a dab rig which costs more than $500. In addition to this, vape pen manufacturers give up to 1 year worth of warranty for their devices. All you have to do is keep the mighty vaporizer clean at all times

Vaping also ensures you get the most out of your herb. You can therefore enjoy one pinch of the herb severally before having to toss the remains. This is unlike smoking which gives you one try only. Smoking burns the entire contents leaving you with no option but buy more. You therefore end up spending more on marijuana than you would if using a vape pen.

c.    Quick Convenient Hit

Getting your daily dose of medical cannabis, especially if at an event, can be daunting at times. This however isn’t the case with vape pens. The mighty vaporizer makes it possible to take a hit or two quick enough without attracting any attention. In addition to this, vape pens are easy to carry and retrieve. This gives you a swift and convenient way to get your daily dose without having to fish out a lighter.

d.    It’s Discreet

Smoking is still a taboo in many parts of the country. Some people also don’t want their loved ones to know that they smoke. This applies to those on a prescription for medical marijuana. Some of the best portable dry herb vaporizers are small, light, and discreet enough. You also won’t need a lighter to take a hit with these.

e.    Richer Sensation

Vaping is very different from smoking. This is mainly because the vaporized herbs provide a smooth hit, and also gives you control over how much you wish to inhale. Such is particularly important for those looking or a richer sensation as well as those on a tight budget for the same.

  1. Better Flavor

Flavor is subjective in that; some people prefer the taste of smoking while many others don’t. Vaping makes it possible for you to enjoy/experience the full flavor of marijuana. Whatever herb you are into (lavender, marijuana, tobacco, etc.) the mighty vape will give you the actual flavor without tainting it.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many reasons why should switch to vaping and ditch that cigarette lighter. Using a vaporizer not only increases your flavor range and satisfaction but also reduces the risk of consuming carcinogens.  It is the healthier and economical option too.

Study: Use Of CBD Products For Health Becoming Widespread

CALIFORNIA: The use of cannabidiol products for the treatment of either a specific health condition or for general well-being is becoming prevalent among the general public, according to survey data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Researchers at San Diego State University and at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon surveyed a self-selected cohort of 2,409 respondents with regard to their use of CBD products. Respondents typically ranged between 55 and 74 years of age.

Almost 62 percent of respondents reported using CBD for the purposes of treating a specific medical condition. The top three most commonly cited medical conditions were pain, anxiety, and depression. Almost 36 percent of subjects reported that CBD treats their medical conditions “very well by itself,” while only 4.3 percent reported the substance to be largely ineffective.

Authors concluded: “The use of CBD among individuals for both specific health conditions and general health and well-being is widespread. … CBD is being used as a specific therapy for a number of diverse medical conditions – particularly pain and inflammatory disorders, in addition to anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. A large percentage of respondents indicate that CBD treats their condition(s) effectively in the absence of conventional medicine and with non-serious adverse effects. These data provide a compelling rationale for further research to better understand the therapeutic potential of CBD in treating chronic pain, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and other medical conditions.”


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “A cross-sectional study of cannabidiol users,” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Study: Cannabis Use Associated With Lower Risk Of Atrial Fibrillation Among Patients Hospitalized For Heart Failure

NEW YORK: Cannabis exposure is associated with lower instances of atrial fibrillation (arrhythmia) in patients hospitalized for heart failure, according to data published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

A team of investigators from Seton Hall University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and elsewhere assessed the relationship between cannabis exposure and atrial fibrillation in a cohort of nearly four million patients hospitalized in 2014 for heart failure.

Compared to matched controls, “Cannabis users have lower odds of AF [than do] nonusers, which was not explained by co-morbid conditions, age, insurance type, [or] socioeconomic status,” authors concluded.

A prior analysis by the team similarly reported that cannabis exposure lowered the risk of atrial fibrillation and also reduced in-hospital mortality in heart failure patients.

Other studies have similarly reported that marijuana-exposed patients are less likely than non-users to die when hospitalized for burns and other forms of severe trauma, certain types of orthopedic surgeries, and traumatic brain injury.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Relation of cannabis use and atrial fibrillation among patients hospitalized for heart failure,” appears in the American Journal of Cardiology.

Study: No Link Between Cumulative Cannabis Use And Kidney Disease

CALIFORNIA:  Neither current nor the long-term cumulative use of cannabis is associated with negative effects on the kidneys, according to longitudinal data published online ahead of print in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.