Secondhand Pot: Is It Really More Dangerous Than Cigarettes?

Have you ever considered that secondhand pot smoke could be a silent killer? Two weeks ago, the Gazette-Times published an article from California reporter, Marissa Ortega-Welch, describing the results of a 2016 study done by cardiology researchers at the University of California, San Francisco regarding the potential dangers of inhaling secondhand pot smoke. 

In the article, which was originally released for Kaiser Health News, Ortega-Welch explained how UCSF’s cardiology professor, Dr. Matthew Springer, discovered that exposure to secondhand weed smoke is three times more dangerous than secondhand exposure to cigarette smoke.

Springer and his colleagues placed cigarettes and joints in separate plastic boxes, let the boxes fill up with smoke, exposed rats to each kind of smoke, and recorded how the smoke caused the rats’ arteries to constrict after exposure. They found that the rats’ arteries constricted for three times longer when exposed to pot smoke, rather than tobacco.

However, though Ortega-Welch mentioned that Springer remarked in an interview that people who saw the results of his study should not come to an “anti-THC conclusion,” she did not mention at all in her article that exposure to cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, did not affect the cardiovascular systems of the rats in the study in any negative way, meaning that while smoke exposure is dangerous, the fact that it’s smoke from marijuana has nothing to do with that danger.

Leafly.com’s Health News also released an article about the UCSF study on secondhand pot smoke to better inform readers on the content of the study, and how all of us who do use cannabis can keep ourselves and others safe from health problems resulting from secondhand smoke. The article, which can be found at https://www.leafly.com/news/health/secondhand-marijuana-smoking-side-effects, encourages users to educate themselves, and consider consuming cannabis via methods other than combustion.

“While a joint amongst friends is still a symbol of togetherness, we can vape our cannabis and eat it, too, without endangering either our health or the health of bystanders who are the real casualties of secondhand smoke.”

Dr. Springer added that while we still don’t know much about the possible dangers of vaping, “a very sensible reaction to our demonstration is to suggest that people use non-smoke-generating ways to consume THC.” 

After comparing the Kaiser report with the one published by Leafly, those in support of Oregon’s current cannabis laws should remember to always check the sources of the studies they read about. Nonetheless, please toke responsibly!

By Kiki Genoa

Be Sociable, Share!