Study Shows Toxins in Marijuana Smoke
Levels of Some Toxins Higher in Pot Cigarettes Than in Tobacco Cigarettes, Experts Say
WebMD News Archive
Dec. 14, 2007 -- New research from Canada shows that some toxins may be more
abundant in marijuana cigarettes than tobacco cigarettes.
The researchers burned 30 marijuana cigarettes and 30 tobacco cigarettes on
a machine in their lab, measuring levels of chemicals in the smoke.
Ammonia levels were up to 20 times higher in marijuana smoke than in tobacco
smoke. Levels of hydrogen cyanide and nitrogen-related chemicals were
three to five times higher in marijuana smoke than in tobacco smoke.
The nitrogen-based fertilizer used on the marijuana plants -- which all came
from the same batch of Canadian pot plants -- may have affected the results.
The temperatures used to burn the cigarettes may also have been a factor.
Marijuana smoke and tobacco smoke shared many of the same chemicals. But the
two types of smoke weren't identical.
For instance, marijuana doesn't contain nicotine. And tobacco doesn't
contain cannabinoids, which include THC, marijuana's active ingredient
Tobacco has long been linked to cancer and other health
problems. Marijuana smoke hasn't been tied to cancer in the past, note the
researchers, who included David Moir,
PhD, of the Safe Environments Programme in Kitchener, Ontario.
Moir and colleagues report their findings in the advance online edition of
Chemical Research in Toxicology.
They promise to compare the toxicity of marijuana smoke and tobacco smoke in
animals in another study.