There is a misconception among some supporters of cannabis that smoking is less harmful than smoking roll-up cigarettes. However, this claim is incorrect for several reasons. Firstly, marijuana and tobacco are fundamentally different substances with distinct impacts on the body and mind. Secondly, any drug can have similar effects on specific body parts, such as the lungs and circulatory system, regardless of the drug being smoked.
Cigar Vs. Weed
Nicotine, the psychoactive component of tobacco, is a substance that induces intoxication by increasing dopamine levels in the brain, resulting in feelings of desire and reward. In addition to its stimulating effects, nicotine also leads to heightened neural activity and a perceived surge in energy.
According to an article in Psychology Today, the frequent use of cigarettes often leads to the rapid development of tolerance and addiction in many individuals. A person who smokes approximately 30 cigarettes a day can receive 300 doses of nicotine, significantly impacting dopamine levels in the brain. Despite its stimulant properties, nicotine can also calm smokers, depending on the dosage and the individual’s central nervous system stimulation.
In addition to delivering psychoactive substance to the brain, cigarette smoke contains toxins and carcinogens that are inhaled into the lungs. Due to the presence of these harmful substances, the American Cancer Society reports that women who smoke are approximately 25.7 times more likely to develop lung cancer compared to women who have never smoked. Similarly, men who smoke are about 25 times more likely to develop lung cancer than men who have never smoked.
THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana. It shares similarities with naturally occurring cannabinoids in the human body, which play a role in processes such as perception of time and space, appetite, memory, and thinking. The effects of THC include impaired sense of time, changes in visual perception, decreased memory and cognitive functioning, and euphoria.
Marijuana can also act as a mild hallucinogen, leading to distortions in perception and altered states of consciousness.
According to the American Lung Association, smoking marijuana can be equally harmful to the lungs as smoking cigarettes, if not more so. Firstly, marijuana smokers tend to inhale deeply and hold their breath for longer, resulting in prolonged exposure to tar, a toxic substance in smoke. Additionally, some research suggests that marijuana smoke may contain more toxins and carcinogens compared to cigarette smoke, increasing the potential for lung damage solely based on the smoke itself.
Does Weed Have Nicotine: The Answer
Cannabis is completely devoid of nicotine, and none of its compounds resemble nicotine. Unlike nicotine, which is found in plants of the Solanaceae family, cannabis belongs to the Cannabaceae family, which is not known to produce nicotine. In the Cannabaceae family, plants are more recognized for their distinctive terpene profiles, which can be considered cannabimimetic, meaning they are reminiscent of cannabinoids or have similar effects. It’s important to note that while some plants in the Cannabaceae family do contain cannabinoids, not all of them do.