Pubdate: Sat, 19 Aug 2017
Source: North Bay Nugget (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 North Bay Nugget
Author: Matthew M. Elrod
Page: A4


The following is in response to the letter Marijuana worse than
tobacco, which appeared Aug. 15.

To the editor,

Letter writer Don Edwards asserts that cannabis smoking causes more
lung damage than tobacco because "marijuana [contains] several more
carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) than tobacco." With the exception
of the active ingredients, cannabinoids and nicotine respectively,
cannabis and tobacco smoke are almost identical.

However, long-term studies of cannabis smokers have found that they
are no more likely to suffer from lung cancer or COPD than
non-smokers. In fact, some studies have found that cannabis smokers
are less likely to experience lung damage than abstainers.

There are several reasons why cannabis smoking is not as harmful as
tobacco smoking, perhaps the most significant being the amount smoked.

Less than five per cent of cannabis smokers smoke daily and those who
do typically smoke less than one gram per day, the amount of tobacco
found in a single cigarette. There is also some evidence that
cannabinoids inhibit cancer.

Happily, where cannabis has been legalized, smokeless vaporizers and
edible forms have displaced smoking.

More to the point, cannabis usage rates rise and fall with no
statistical relationship to cannabis laws and their enforcement, so
there is no reason to presume that more Canadians will take up the
habit when cannabis is legally regulated, quality-controlled and labelled.

Indeed, tobacco smoking rates have been dropping for decades, despite
our refraining from criminalizing smokers and incarcerating
convenience store owners and clerks.

Matthew M. Elrod

Victoria, BC
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MAP posted-by: Matt