While policymakers in states like New York grow wide-eyed over the potential for increased revenue from legalized pot, health researchers continue to dampen their high.
The latest downer: Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study in EClinicalMedicine showing people who smoked marijuana had smoke-related toxins in the blood and urine, albeit at lower levels than those who smoked both tobacco and marijuana or tobacco only.
The findings analyzed data from three studies of 245 HIV-positive and HIV-negative participants. “Marijuana smoking is prevalent among HIV+ individuals, but few studies have characterized smoke-related toxicants or associated health outcomes in exclusive marijuana users,” the researchers noted.
Noting that five states joined the legalization party as a result of the 2020 elections—bringing the total to 15 that have made weed legal for recreational use—Dr. Dana Gabuzda, a senior author on the study, said, “The increase has renewed concerns about the potential health effects of marijuana smoke, which is known to contain some of the same toxic combustion products found in tobacco smoke. This is the first study to compare exposure to acrolein and other harmful smoke-related chemicals over time in exclusive marijuana smokers and tobacco smokers, and to see if those exposures are related to cardiovascular disease.”