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Smoking cannabis has different effects on your lungs over time than smoking cigarettes, study finds

According to the study, prolonged cannabis use led to over-inflated lungs and increased the resistance to airflow to a greater extent than tobacco.

DUNEDIN, New Zealand — According to a study recently published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, smoking cannabis can lead to long-term damage to your lungs. University of Otago professor and co-author of the study Bob Hancox said "it was assumed that cannabis would have similar effects to tobacco, but this does not seem to be the case."

According to Hancox, the effects of cannabis were detrimental and results showed the pattern of lung function changes was not the same.

"The research found that prolonged cannabis use led to over-inflated lungs and increased the resistance to airflow to a greater extent than tobacco," he said.

The findings come from the long-running Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. The documented results show cannabis use and measured lung function throughout adult life up to age 45 in more than 1,000 individuals born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1972 and 1973, the article states.

According to Professor Hancox, the Dunedin Study may have the world’s most complete data on lifetime cannabis use and lung function in a large population sample.

“Although cannabis is one of the world’s most widely used drugs, there has been little research on the effects on the lungs. This is because it has been difficult to study a drug that remains illegal in most parts of the world,” Hancox said. 

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