A new study suggests smoking a joint a week versus regularly smoking cigarettes may improve lung functioning.
The study published in the journal of the American Medical Association said that occasionally smoking marijuana has improved pulmonary functioning in its sample of more than 5,000 people.
The researchers, from the University of California, San Francisco, conducted the study over 20 years.
Clinton Township senior Samantha Randolph said she was surprised by the findings of the study.
“I don’t have a problem with smoking in moderation,” Randolph said.
She said she knows people who smoke too much, smoke to manage pain and those who do it recreationally.
Dr. Jeffrey Khabir, internist at McLaren Central Michigan, said in an email he was surprised that the study only focused on pulmonary lung functioning, without regard to other, long-term effects.
The study showed heavy smoking of marijuana contributed to adverse effects in lung functioning.
“The researchers also pointed out that the increase in lung function may be indicative of marijuana smokers taking deep breaths and holding the smoke in,” Khabir said. “Chronic marijuana use has other known, detrimental effects including bullous lung disease, histopathological changes in the lungs at the cellular level and an increase in pulmonary infections.”
An article by National Public Radio.org agreed the increase in lung functioning may be because of larger inhalations by marijuana smokers.
“I don’t think this study will have much of an impact until other studies can prove that there are no deleterious effects with chronic use,” Khabir said. “Like any other study in medicine, it’s important to see other longitudinal duplicate studies, which support the same finding.”
Randolph said she hopes to see marijuana legalized in the future.
“I highly doubt this study will have any impact on legislative opinion in this state or any other state,” Khabir said. “I don’t believe the overall conclusion of this study will lead to the use of marijuana as a pulmonary medication.”