The Australian National Task Force on Cannabis determined, "Smoked cannabis, and to a lesser extent oral THC, have an acute bronchodilatory effect in both normal persons and persons with asthma".A handful of human studies demonstrate this effect, including one that showed smoking even low THC cannabis produced bronchodilation nearly equivalent to a clinical dose of isoproterenol. The House of Lords 1998 "Ninth Report" on cannabis acknowledged that cannabinoids seemed to work as effectively as conventional asthma drug treatments. Experiments using oral THC produced a smaller bronchodilator effect after a substantial delay, and proved to be a bronchial irritant when administered as an aerosol.
Arthritis, Herpes, Cystic Fibrosis & Rheumatism
Cannabis is a topical analgesic. Until 1937, virtually all corn plasters, mustard plasters, muscle ointments, and fibrosis poultices were made from or with cannabis extracts.
Rheumatism was treated throughout South America until the 1960s with hemp leaves and/or flower tops heated in water or alcohol and placed on painful joints. In fact, this form of herbal medicine is still widely used in rural areas of Mexico, Central and South America, and by California Latinos for relief of rheumatism and arthritis pain.
Direct contact with THC killed herpes virus in University of South Florida (Tampa) research studies by Dr. Gerald Lancz 1990, and Dr. Peter Medveczky 2004, who warn that “smoking marijuana will not cure herpes.” However, anecdotal reports indicate a faster drying and healing of the outbreak after topical application of “strong bud,” soaked in rubbing alcohol and crushed into a paste.
Lung Cleaner & Expectorant
Cannabis is the best natural expectorant to clear the human lungs of smog, dust and the phlegm associated with tobacco use.
Marijuana smoke effectively dilates the airways of the lungs, the bronchi, opening them to allow more oxygen into the lungs. It is also the best natural dilator of the tiny airways of the lungs, the bronchial tubes – making cannabis the best overall bronchial dilator for 80% of the population (the remaining 20% sometimes show minor negative reactions).
(See section on asthma – a disease that closes these passages in spasms – UCLA Tashkin studies, 1969-97; U.S. Costa Rican, 1980-82; Jamaican studies 1969-74,76.)
Statistical evidence – showing up consistently as anomalies in matched populations -indicates that people who smoke tobacco cigarettes are usually better off and will live longer if they smoke cannabis moderately, too. (Jamaican, Costa Rican studies.)
Millions of Americans have given up or avoided smoking tobacco products in favor of cannabis, which is not good news to the powerful tobacco lobby. A turn-of-the-century grandfather clause in U.S. tobacco law allows 400 to 6,000 additional chemicals to be added. Additions since then to the average tobacco cigarette are unknown, and the public in the U.S. has no right to know what they are.
Many joggers and marathon runners feel cannabis use cleans their lungs, allowing better endurance.
The evidence indicates that cannabis use will probably increase these outlaw American marijuana-users’ lives by about one to two years – yet they may lose their rights, property, children, state licenses, etc., just for using that safest of substances: cannabis.
Cannabis & Lung Cancer
McClatchy) UCLA pulmonologist Dr. Donald Tashkin, who has studied marijuana’s effects on the lungs for three decades, studied heavy marijuana smokers to determine whether the use led to increased risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. He hypothesized that there would be a definitive link between cancer and marijuana smoking, but the results proved otherwise.
“What we found instead was no association and even a suggestion of some protective effect,” says Tashkin, whose research was the largest case-control study ever conducted. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Tobacco smokers in the study had as much as a 21-fold increase in lung cancer risk. Cigarette smokers, too, developed COPD more often in the study, and researchers found that marijuana did not impair lung function.
Tashkin, supported by other research, concluded that the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, has an “anti-tumoral effect” in which “cells die earlier before they age enough to develop mutations that might lead to lung cancer.”
However, the smoke from marijuana did swell the airways and lead to a greater risk of chronic bronchitis.
“Early on, when our research appeared as if there would be a negative impact on lung health, I was opposed to legalization because I thought it would lead to increased use and that would lead to increased health effects,” Tashkin says. “But at this point, I’d be in favor of legalization. I wouldn’t encourage anybody to smoke any substances. But I don’t think it should be stigmatized as an illegal substance. Tobacco smoking causes far more harm. And in terms of an intoxicant, alcohol causes far more harm.”