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Is Marijuana Worse for You than Cigarettes?

Ask the experts

My friends told me smoking cigarettes was less harmful to your lungs than smoking marijuana. Is this true? Is one really any better than the other?

Doctor’s response

Cigarettes and marijuana both can damage the lung. In reality, cigarettes probably damage more tissue simply because most people smoke many more cigarettes than they do marijuana. If someone smoked a “pack or two” of marijuana cigarettes every day, like cigarette smokers often do with cigarettes, they would probably end up with a similar degree of damage to their lungs. It is also important to realize that cigarettes are not just paper and tobacco but also many chemical additives so that they burn “properly.” Marijuana tends not to contain these chemical additives, but may contain other equally damaging substances placed intentionally or inadvertently in the drug.

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Medically reviewed by Robert Bargar, MD; Board Certification in Public Health & General Preventive Medicine

“Cardiovascular risk of smoking and benefits of smoking cessation”
UpToDate.com

“Cannabis use and disorder: Epidemiology, comorbidity, health consequences, and medico-legal status”
UpToDate.com

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People tend to smoke many more cigarettes than marijuana, so even if marijuana has more tar or other carcinogens, the difference between the two is more or less a wash. Both damage the lungs.

marijuana cigarette

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Define marijuana cigarette. marijuana cigarette synonyms, marijuana cigarette pronunciation, marijuana cigarette translation, English dictionary definition of marijuana cigarette. Noun 1. marijuana cigarette – marijuana leaves rolled into a cigarette for smoking reefer, spliff, joint, stick cannabis, ganja, marihuana, marijuana – the…