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November 2007
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Hackery, part one

Rob at To the People notes that the Drug Czar’s blog is really stretching for material with this post touting that “Next week’s Time magazine highlights the latest evidence of marijuana’s harm as part of their “Year in Medicine” news coverage…” when in fact Time’s “highlight” was a single sentence in part of a larger story.
Rob’s right — the Czar is really reaching on this one. Particularly since the ONDCP blog already covered the non-story back in July
So what is this startling and damaging information about marijuana that’s worth all this fuss? According to Time Magazine: “A single marijuana cigarette has the same effect on the lungs as smoking up to five cigarettes in succession.” According to the drug czar blog: “Time Magazine: One Joint=5 Cigarettes” According to the drug czar blog in July: “Smoking just one marijuana joint is the same as smoking five cigarettes in terms of the damage it does to your lungs, a new study found.” And back in July, the Reuters article had an alarmist headline: “One cannabis joint as bad as five cigarettes”
So, what’s up? The Medical Research Institute of New Zealand discovered that the chronic lung disease emphysema was found in 18.9 percent of cigarette smokers, but only 1.3 percent of marijuana smokers. It also found that both tobacco and marijuana cigarettes had an effect on blocking lung airflow, with one joint causing as much difficulty as 2.5 to 5 cigarettes. (And we already know, separately, that marijuana doesn’t cause lung cancer.)
So one marijuana joint is equivalent in airflow issues to 2.5 to 5 cigarettes. Let’s say a normal smoker tends to smoke about 25 cigarettes a day. If a marijuana smoker is going solo on 5-10 joints a day, they need to get some better pot. Or use a vaporizer.
So what have we learned? Marijuana is far, far better for you than cigarettes because of the reduced likelihood of lung cancer and emphysema. And to protect your lungs even more, be sure to stick to avoid ditch weed and if you have any issues with breathing, use a vaporizer.

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