Smoking Marijuana vs. Smoking Cigarettes: Is There Any Difference?

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By Lord Jorrel Polintan | January 16, 2012 10:23 AM EST

Marijuana use has long been heatedly debated by people around the world; from politicians not wanting to legalize it, to a couple of teenagers in a basement lighting a joint up, everyone has their opinion. But when it comes to pitting marijuana smoking against cigarette smoking, do they have any differences?

When it comes to similarities, it's clear: society frowns upon those who smoke cigarettes because it's bad for the health of both the smoker and everyone around him, while those who smoke weed are frowned upon as throwing away their lives because of addiction.

With the similarity being the fact that people frown on its use and that smokers smoke it; is there any difference between marijuana smoking and cigarette smoking in terms of health?

Marijuana use across the world is rampant. The United States, in 2009, reportedly had 16.7 million people ages 12 and up smoking joint, while in South Australia, 14.9 percent of its population aged 14 years old and up were using in 2010, according to the Drug and Alcohol Services, South Australia.

With this in mind, yes, there is a difference between the two when it comes to health. In a recent study done by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, researchers discovered that when it comes to the lungs, cigarette smoking is still bad, but when it comes to marijuana smoking, results show that occasional marijuana use was linked to increased lung air flow rates and an increase in lung capacity.

But before anyone goes out and gets a hold of a doobie, it's important to remember that smoking a joint is illegal in some places, and though it may have benefits for the lungs, marijuana use still has adverse health effects.

Comparing the two, smoking cigarettes increases the risk of lung diseases and lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and high blood pressure. On the other hand, marijuana use can also increase the risk of heart attacks because it raises blood pressure and heart rate, and that studies have found that it contains 50 to 70 percent more carcinogens than tobacco smoke, increasing its potential to cause its cancer, LiveStrong.com reported.

Don't forget that the two also have psychological effects. Marijuana produces euphoric feelings for as long as three hours, it can also cause paranoia, panic, and anxiety; for smoking, psychologically speaking, it is said to relieve stress. Both cannabis and cigarettes, however, can cause dependence if not addiction.

Looking at what the two bring to the table, cigarette or tobacco smoking is more dangerous for a person's health, but when it comes to its effects in a "per smoke" basis, marijuana is much more dangerous as it has greater adverse psychological effects, according to HealthLine.com.

When it comes down to the bare essentials, the human body was not really built to inhale smoke - whether it is cigarettes or marijuana - because it will damage the body.

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