The first thing to remember when considering the differences between marijuana smoke and tobacco smoke is that the former has healing properties while the latter doesn’t. There’s no CBD, THC or other compounds infused in tobacco, whereas marijuana and its extracts are loaded with these powerful substances.
The risks associated with tobacco
Despite being legal in the US and throughout much of the world, tobacco is a known killer. Yet while the public are largely aware of these risks nowadays, they are still fairly comfortable with tobacco products being sold, perhaps because cigarettes are so embedded into our culture that it’s impossible to imagine them being prohibited.
Not to mention, to enforce a ban on the sale and consumption of tobacco products would be a serious violation of civil liberties – if people want to smoke tobacco, ultimately that’s their decision. The nicotine in tobacco is what makes cigarettes so addictive, but it’s the burning of the tobacco and the resultant smoke that’s the real danger. The chemicals, toxins and carcinogens in the cigarette are activated when it’s lit, and when inhaled these end up in their lungs and eventually bloodstream – not to mention, regular use will cause an accumulation of tar in the lungs, restricting lung capacity.
Various cancers – of the lung, mouth and throat – are caused by tobacco cigarette smoking, and other smoking-related diseases like emphysema and bronchitis can be just as debilitating. Given the nasty concoction of chemicals in cigarettes, it’s no wonder that smoking them can be so dangerous.
And tobacco companies are legally required to state the risks associated with their products on the packaging, and there is also a warning from the Surgeon General. In addition to the cancers connected with tobacco smoke, long-term smoking can damage the heart and raise blood pressure.
The therapeutic effects of the marijuana plant
The marijuana plant has been given many adoring nicknames by its fans over the years: pot, ganja, weed, grass and Mary Jane to name a few, as well as more formal tags like ‘the herb of well-being’. Marijuana in all forms is packed with therapeutic qualities and tastes amazing too – and no two strains are the same.
While the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and the CBD (cannabidiol) cannabinoids are responsible for most of the plant’s effects (with their potencies largely determining what to anticipate from a strain), there are more than 80 other cannabinoids working away alongside terpenes. This is why cannabis experts overwhelmingly advocate for full-spectrum treatment other isolated cannabinoid treatment. The body’s endocannabinoid receptors bind with the cannabinoids from the marijuana when the plant is ingested.
Levels of THC and CBD can vary significantly from strain to strain, with a CBD or THC-dominant strain containing 20 percent and upwards of the said cannabinoid. When you spark up a joint, take a rip on a bong or draw on your vape, it’s these cannabinoids that “activate” and their interactions during this activation phase are what have fascinated scientists for decades.
Now let’s concisely clarify the differences between tobacco and marijuana smoke:
In terms of effect, when smoking a tobacco cigarette, the nicotine acts as a stimulant and, for some, a concentration agent. Contrastingly, marijuana provides relaxing sensations, both physically and mentally.
Any “side effects” experienced while taking marijuana would typically be of a euphoric nature. Increased appetite, known by stoners as the “munchies” are common after smoking marijuana, and its sedative qualities encourage sleep.
When used for medical purposes, the anti-depressant, analgesic and anxiolytic features of cannabis take center stage, granting relief from chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression and more.
Unlike tobacco cigarettes, there is no physical addiction with marijuana. You won’t experience cravings if you decide to take a break. Most marijuana smokers are happy doing what they do, while more and more smokers nowadays are trying to give up – that alone speaks volumes. Despite being smoking in 21st century America, marijuana is increasingly accepted and used because of the unique medical benefits.
Feel free to let us know your thoughts on smoking, vaping and marijuana in the comments section.