Studies show smoking marijuana may harm lungs but lacks strong evidence linking it to lung cancer; research is challenged by marijuana’s legal history and variability.
In the United States, even though marijuana use has become legal in many places, people are still wondering if smoking it might hurt their lungs or increase their chance of getting lung cancer. Some studies say that while smoking marijuana can damage your lungs, it’s not as bad as smoking cigarettes. Also, these studies don’t really show that smoking marijuana makes you more likely to get lung cancer. One big study looked at a lot of people and found that smoking a lot of marijuana didn’t seem to make people more likely to have lung cancer, but the evidence isn’t super strong.
One of the issues with figuring out if marijuana can cause lung cancer is that it’s hard to do really good research on it. For a long time, marijuana was illegal, so getting accurate information about who was using it and how much they were using was tough. Plus, lung cancer and other problems from smoking can take a really long time to show up, and since more people have only recently started smoking marijuana more often, it might be a while before we know for sure what the risks are. Also, cigarettes are pretty much the same everywhere, but marijuana can be very different depending on where you get it and how you use it, which makes it harder to study.
Even though there’s still a lot we don’t know about marijuana and lung cancer, doctors do know that smoking anything, including marijuana, is tough on your lungs. When you breathe in smoke, it can hurt your lung cells in different ways—sometimes they fix themselves, but sometimes they get really inflamed, turn fibrous, or even turn into cancer. Everyone’s body reacts differently to smoke, and it’s partly because of their genes, but right now, doctors can’t tell who’s going to have problems from smoking and who’s not.