Pubdate: Thu, 17 Apr 2008
Source: San Francisco Bay Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 San Francisco Bay Times
Author: Bruce Mirken


Tortuga Bi LIBERTY writes, "All smoke is bad for your lungs, so
cannabis should be eaten, never smoked" (Letters, APRIL 17). This is
only partly correct.

Yes, all smoke is unhealthful to the lungs and can increase one's
chances of cough, bronchitis, and other lung problems, though the data
suggest that occasional smokers of marijuana run relatively little
risk. And, unlike tobacco, marijuana smoking has not been shown to
increase one's risk of lung cancer.

Eating marijuana, however, may not be a viable alternative for
everyone: Because of how it's processed by the body, cannabis that's
eaten tends to act much more slowly, while the psychoactive effect is
generally stronger than with smoking and lasts a great deal longer.
Depending on circumstances, this may be either good or bad, but it's
certainly a different experience than smoking.

Another healthy, nonsmoked alternative is vaporization. A vaporizer
allows the user to inhale the active components of marijuana, called
cannabinoids, without the tars, carbon monoxide, and other toxic
combustion products contained in smoke. UC San Francisco researcher
Donald Abrams published a landmark study of one such device last year.

Sincerely, Bruce Mirken

Director of Communications

Marijuana Policy Project

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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake