Myth : One joint is equal to [12, 5, 20] cigarettes.
The Truth: One joint is equal to no cigarettes. This myth is very strongly defended by the prohibition camp. There are many news articles from reputable sources, and some even citing scientific studies, that support this myth. These studies focus on one aspect such as lung cancer or emphysema. An article in the Washington Post uses the results of a recent study to support the myth saying “Smoking just one marijuana joint is the same as smoking five cigarettes in terms of the damage it does to your lungs, a new study found”. See the article here.
The study claims that a cannabis user who smokes one joint per day has the same risk of lung cancer as a pack a day cigarette smoker. The study gave questionnaires to a select group and used statistical analysis to calculate the relative risk. In this study we are not comparing apples to apples. First of all there is no standard size of a joint, they vary in weight from .2 g to 2 g or more. The tobacco smokers in the study also did not all smoke the same amount. The methods of smoking a cigarette and a joint are also not the same. A pot user will hold in a toke longer than a tobacco smoker and each user will hold it for different amounts of time. Also joints are not filtered and cigarettes are. The researchers did not have data to back up an exact comparison of joints to cigarettes and the study did not make that claim. The exact one to five ratio was declared by the newspaper article writer.
There are few studies of this kind but the ones that show marijuana is more dangerous then tobacco are the minority. Studies that investigate the relationship between cannabis and cancer are much more numerous and the vast majority show that there is no link between the two. A recent study at UCLA shows no link between cannabis and lung cancer and in fact shows an increased risk in tobacco users. Not one case of lung cancer has been ever been successfully linked to marijuana use. Marijuana is actually a popular medicine for cancer patients. There are studies that show that marijuana can actually slow tumor growth and even regenertate brain cells (links: tumors, brain cells). Studies even show that due to marijuana’s ability to clear the lungs of smog, pollutants, and cigarette smoke, it may actually reduce your risk of emphysema, bronchitis, and lung cancer. Over 45,000 Canadians die from smoking tobacco each year, do you know how many die from marijuana? Not a single one. Nobody has ever died from marijuana. It takes hundreds of pounds in one sitting to OD which is physically impossible to do. Marijuana is not addictive and does not cause cancer. There are medical marijuana users all over the globe but how many cancer patients are using cigarettes for medicine?