Is Secondhand Pot Smoke Really All That Bad For You?
Even if you weren’t sharing a joint at Lollapoolza last weekend, chances are you got a little stoned by way of secondhand fumes and subsequently twirled too hard as Grimes sang of trials with unrequited love. This is because when you’re engulfed in dank smoke circles, secondhand marijuana smoke is (duh) known to get you high AF. But unlike secondhand cigarette smoke, there hasn’t been any definitive studies that suggest secondhand pot smoke is harmful. Until now. Well, kind of.
According to a new study published by the American Heart Association, you might want to think twice next time you decide to hotbox your car. Researchers noticed that when a group of rats were exposed to a minute’s worth of secondhand marijuana smoke, the rats not only got super baked, but also suffered from damaged blood vessels.
Although one’s blood vessels suffer acutely when exposed to tobacco smoke, the study found that, when steeped in marijuana fumes, rats suffer much scarier fates. Put differently, it took these rodents at least three times longer to recuperate and begin functioning normally again after being hit with Sour Diesel fumes in comparison to cigarette smoke.
This news might not sound that terrifying to daily stoners. After all, this only means that these rats’ arteries were carrying blood less efficiently for the 90 minutes following one minute of marijuana exposure (as compared to 30 minutes with tobacco smoke). But if the results are similar when tested on humans, then we’d have reason to believe that marijuana isn’t a safer alternative to tobacco.
“Many people avoid being exposed to tobacco smoke but feel that marijuana smoke is benign,” University of California, San Francisco’s Dr. Matthew Springer, professor of medicine and senior author of the study, told Vice. “Now with increasing [cannabis] legalization, the opportunities for people to be exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke will increase, and those who smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes may not realize that their families and neighbors could be affected by their smoke.”
Springer is onto something here, especially after a recent study that found marijuana to be the preferred substance to use and abuse among millennials. Still, the researchers remind us that this news should be taken with a grain of salt: most studies that use test rats see different results when experimented on humans. In the meantime, however, we can probably all agree on one thing: it’s time to stop blowing pot smoke rings into your pet rat’s face. You’re just causing him pain and anguish. And that ain’t cute.
Image via Fader.
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