Smoking Cannabis and Its Health Effects: Why Cannabidiol Alternatives Are the Healthier Choice

by Andrea Dawson 2 years ago in health

For some people, using THC-based products is not an option. However, there is an alternative option for them: Cannabidiol (CBD).

Smoking Cannabis and Its Health Effects: Why Cannabidiol Alternatives Are the Healthier Choice

Despite those who oppose the legalization of recreational cannabis use, and in some cases even its medicinal applications, scientific evidence revealing its numerous health benefits have finally trumped the naysayers. However, smoking cannabis has also been proven to be worse for cardiovascular health than normal cigarettes.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Health Effects

It may be true that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) possesses many more medicinal attributes than that of nicotine, but the two compounds have similar negative effects on your health. This especially holds true for those who are chronic users of cannabis.

In the Journal of Thoracic Disease published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, researchers admit there is not enough information on the long-term effects of smoking cannabis, but it is known to cause ventricular tachycardia and even myocardial infarction (MI). These same health issues are seen in tobacco smokers and are caused by the nicotine.

Is smoking cannabis more risky than tobacco products?

Medical research shows that the above-mentioned health issues are compounded in those who smoke both cannabis and tobacco products. In addition to that, cannabis smokers may experience significant negative effects on their respiratory system—and more so than cigarette smokers, since cannabis is usually inhaled deeper and held longer than tobacco.

For cannabis smokers, the smoke they inhale is thicker since cannabis burns at a higher temperature than tobacco. That thicker smoke inhalation is what causes cannabis smokers to cough while inhaling the smoke. The smoke from cannabis grows thicker as cannabis cigarettes become shorter, with people smoking them to a shorter butt length than those who smoke tobacco.

Furthermore, cannabis has many of the same particulates as tobacco, but with up to four times the net respiratory burden than tobacco. Many researchers agree that chronic, and even acute, smoking of cannabis can harm the respiratory system, leading to illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (OPD), bronchitis, and even lung cancer.

Cannabidiol (CBD) vs. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

As more countries decide to legalize the use of cannabis for either medicinal or recreational purposes, a growing number of people from all walks of life want to know more about marijuana. One of the first things they learn is that there is a difference between cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Out of 480 compounds in the cannabis plant, only 66 of them are considered cannabinoids, with the most well-known of them being delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC). The other cannabinoids include THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), CBN (cannabinol), CBG (cannabigerol), CBC (cannabichromene), CBL (Cannabicyclol), CBD (cannabidiol), among many others. These particular cannabidiols do not make you “high.”

Though it may be perfectly legal to consume THC in some areas, many other jurisdictions have yet to follow suit, and even choose never to legalize its use. For those who live in a country or territory where THC-based products are legal, there are many people who cannot or do not want to consume THC due to its psychoactive effects. This makes CBD-based products perfect options for this group of individuals.

In this way, you can enjoy the health benefits of cannabis without the unwanted side effects that come along with THC.

Hemp vs. Marijuana: It's important to know the difference.

Primarily found in the hemp plant, a type of Cannabis sativa grown for industrial purposes, CBD is an extraction sold as oils, gels, gummies, supplements, CBD vape juice, among others. As for THC, it is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana. THC, too, is available in various forms such as oils, capsules, edibles, tinctures, and more. Both of these compounds affect the body's endocannabinoid system, but the effects are entirely different.

Hemp plants and marijuana plants seem very similar to the untrained eye. However, each species of cannabis can be recognized by few apparent and distinct features.

Hemp plants grow tall and thin with skinny leaves, while their counterparts in the marijuana family are shorter and bushier with broad leaves and dense buds. Additionally, the leaves on hemp plants are concentrated near the top of the plant, with only a few scattered branches beneath the upper portion. Marijuana plants are usually much fuller.

Andrea Dawson
Andrea Dawson
Read next: What is Black Cannabis?
Andrea Dawson

A fitness blogger and a personal trainer.

See all posts by Andrea Dawson