Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Smoking Weed Two or Three Times a Month

RESULTS: Repeated inhalation of tobacco smoke causes loss of airflow and lung volumes. Marijuana smoke, however, had the opposite effect, increasing both airflow rates and capacity.

CONCLUSION: Unlike cigarette smoke, use of marijuana does not result in lasting respiratory harm.

The exciting news of the day is that pot isn't bad for you, unless it makes you sneak weirdly out of your friends' homes, which is another good reason to turn once again to Caitlin Podiak's informative Cannabis 101. (The full study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is also available here.) A frequent smoker, when asked just now how he feels about the study, said "Validated? I don't know."

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Well I know what I'm doing when I get home today.


@mackymoo Well I know what I'm doing and have done every day when I get home, right before yoga. Don't forget to breathe!

saul "the bear" berenson

@kayjay I have always wanted to try this (re yoga) but fear I will get extra tired from being "extra relaxed". That doesn't happen?


@Moxie das Maven I've never had a problem with that, but everyone's brain is different. My problem was that I couldn't calm down or stop the wheels of my brain from turning constantly, every second. I couldn't sleep, and I used to suffer from near-crippling anxiety. Pot just kind of quiets everything down for me. It helps me a lot, more than any of the meds I was prescribed ever did.

saul "the bear" berenson

@kayjay Oh totally - I just meant how the yoga goes when under the influence. I've enjoyed my fair share and am just more accustomed to just chilling out or whatever, so exercising high seems really impressive to me! Someone else was talking about going for runs high, which just seems bonkers - though it sounds like it would feel great, I think my asthma would make it near impossible. But maybe it's worth a try!


@mackymoo I used to smoke before running, too. About a half-hour before running so my lungs would have a chance to recuperate. In order for me to work out successfully and to the full extent of my abilities, I need to be able to shut off my brain and focus it entirely on actually working out. Not work, not my family, not money or stressful issues that keep me awake at night...and the only way I've been able to do that so far is with marijuana. Working out is the only time I get to be completely alone with the opportunity to peel away the other parts of my life and focus entirely on myself, nobody else. Because I'm hard-wired to constantly freak about my responsibilities, I need a little help getting me to a place where I'm not freaking and can focus. Does that make sense?

I think it's worth a shot. Again, everyone is different. And I'm also completely open to other, non-herbal ways of shutting my brain off. I just haven't discovered it yet.

saul "the bear" berenson

@kayjay oh wow - you're me! I feel the same, and the shutting out all the stress factors thing is huge. Cooking actually really works for me. Following a recipe and chopping, measuring, frying, tasting, etc is the perfect amount of distraction and physical business to take my mind off everything else. Saying it that way makes me sound about eighty years old but it's true.


As someone who used to smoke way too much pot (my ex had a hydro farm in our basement), smoke from a joint is incredibly harsh. I can't believe it doesn't do harm, so I'd like to know how the study pot was smoked. Also, in large quantities, pot seriously impairs your memory. If I remember correctly.

Porn Peddler

@Trilby I thought the exact same thing. As someone with asthma, any waterless method...oh my god kill me


@Trilby - They're comparing (sensibly) people who smoke a half pack a day against people who smoke a joint now and then.

Which, I feel like...um...shouldn't it be really obvious that a couple puffs a month isn't as bad as a half pack of tobacco every day? I mean, even if the smoke was ten times worse - the cigs are still hundreds of times more smoke going into your lungs.


@Trilby I completely agree. my beau smokes daily, and was diagnosed recently with allergic asthma. this caused him to quit smoking cigarettes (YAY!) and he found that smoking weed really made his lungs hurt/wheeze also. enter: vaporizer.


@Trilby "pot seriously impairs your memory. If I remember correctly"

Ha ha! Very well done!

Health benefits aside, I would take a tobacco smoker over a pot smoker any day. One has bad breath and stained teeth, and the other has tedious meandering conversations that go nowhere and an inability to focus for more than 5 seconds.


@Trilby I used to smoke a lot, too, and I was blazed out enough to think that pulling and holding large bong hits several times a day would give me higher lung capacity for all the running I'd be doing.
Thing is, I never did get around to the running until I stopped smoking.

Anyway, the study says that they took a year of joint exposure to be 365 joints or bowls (so one a day, I'm guessing). Which, when compared with the average realistic daily habit of a tobacco smoker, is obviously not going to produce similar adverse pulmonary effects.


@Trilby I run and almost always smoke some weed right before I do. No negative lung effects, I promise. It helps me zone out. It's nice.


@teenie Mmmmmm vaporizer...


@Space Me too! So much nicer. I put on my iPod and go out and run like the wind.


@Trilby @Manatee why did i not think of this? workout plan back on track.


@Space I used to do this, but recently realized that I prefer the high running gives me without the interference of that other high. Lately I've gotten into smoking weed before cleaning the house which is GREAT some of the time, but other times it just makes me take twice as long.


@Space I used to do the same thing! My running days are over, though. In an ironic turn of events, I was out running with my daughter, and therefore, I hadn't smoked. About a half-mile in, I stepped into a pothole (hardee har har!!) that swallowed my left foot up to mid-shin. Completely destroyed my ankle. Big ol' bummer.


Thanks for making@k


This study does NOT say that "pot isn't bad for you." This study says that "Occasional and low cumulative marijuana use was not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function."
Translation: Occasionally smoking a little bit of marijuana will not wreck your lungs. I
t doesn't say what frequent heavy pot use will do to your lungs, and it doesn't say what any level of pot use will do to other bodily functions.
So go ahead, smoke whatever you want (but not near me please, it smells so bad), just don't think that science told you it was okay.


@gobblegirl Come sit by me : )

Hot Doom

I am afraid that my bf will find this and wave it in my abstaining face with glee.
That aside, I am assuming that the effects of the weed were measured from joints not containing tobacco. It seems like it's pretty common to cut them with tobacco though, so I wonder if the capacity-increasing effects would be voided by the 'baccy. Hm.


@LolaLaBalc As someone from the West Coast, your comment made me clutch my pearls. Filth up a joint with tobacco? WHERE ARE YOU, MONTREAL?!?!


Joints are for tourists. Vaporizer all the way.


@kayjay Someday I'll invest in a good vaporizor. For now I've been making green dragon and it's pretty awesome. I can't post a link, because work comp, but there's plenty of good recipes out there that you can make in 30 min or so instead of the usual stuck pot in everclear and wait 6 weeks route.


Would someone who knows these things explain to the person who doesn't smoke, ever, what a vaporizer is in this context? Do you, like, just stick the marijuana in your humidifier, towel your door, and moisturize while getting high?


@PistolPackinMama I can't exactly tell you how it works but essentially, you get the THC without the smoke. There is a little bit of smoke sometimes, but not always, which can be confounding. My friend just got something called a launch box -- it's tiny -- and it is the best way to smoke that I have ever seen. No smoke, no smell, no clouded headiness, just the high :)


@PistolPackinMama A vaporizer uses hot air or a metal heating element to heat the marijuana to a point that releases and 'activates' the good stuff (the THC and related compounds) without actually setting the herb fully alight. Because there isn't full combustion, the resulting 'vapor' doesn't contain smoke or the related nasty by-products implicated in lung problems. It is a lot smoother to inhale.

The rough hierarchy (ways of smoking marijuana ranked by how bad they make your respiratory system feel) is something like: vaporizers <<<<< bongs (which filter smoke through water) < pipes < joints (paper cough cough cough) < blunts or other joint-like contraptions with tobacco mixed in. Except sometimes people using bongs inhale a lot of cooled smoke without noticing, and they wind up coughing up a storm.

For new smokers -- say, people who start using marijuana for medical purposes -- vaporizers and eating cooked marijuana have become delivery methods of choice. Personally I like my nice, cheap, sturdy pipe.

so what?

@hairspin my friend just got a launch box! that thing is so tiny and wonderful.


Gosh, @Edith, I hope that "weirdly sneaking out of your friends' homes" refers to "weirdly sneaking out of CHRIS EVANS' home [en route to getting picked up by a drag queen on the way home from a party at 4 A.M.]," because yeah.

raised amongst catalogs

@BoozinSusan The Hairpin is responsible for me knowing the stories of many strangers I will likely never meet as well as I know my own stories.

Edith Zimmerman

@BoozinSusan HAH! No, that was just good old booze.


I recently found out one of my friend's college boyfriends thought I hated him--like, to the point where he wanted her to apologize to me for whatever he did--because I would smoke with them and then sneak out like half an hour later like a total creep. But it was just the weirdness! This needs a name. It's not quite an Irish Goodbye (though I also enjoy those). The Weird Sneak? Help me out.


@leastimportantperson Ah, the old Jamaican Peaceout.


@kayjay Yes, I think that will do quite nicely.


@leastimportantperson Thanks! That was just for you. I find that if you say it like Chevy Chase would in Vacation, it's much funnier. Maybe follow it with, "Good talk, Russ."


@leastimportantperson I went through a period where I would get super paranoid but it manifested as a sneaking suspicion that everyone in the room secretly hated me? I would often disappear for hours and show up petting someone's cat in the kitchen


I think I can probably pull that off after the 8000 Bud Lights I will inevitably consume at the reunion before I run into him and scream "I DON'T HATE YOU IT WAS JUST THE JAMAICAN PEACEOUT GOOD TALK RUSS [vomit]."


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