Vaping THC may damage lungs more than smoking cigarettes

A new study out of the University of Michigan has found that vaping cannabis products may result in more lung damage than vaping nicotine liquids, as well as smoking marijuana and tobacco. Of course, that doesn't mean that vaping nicotine or smoking plant material is safe — it just means that vaping cannabis was found to produce more lung damage symptoms.

While the researchers behind the latest study stress that all varieties of vaping and smoking are unhealthy, they note that smoking or vaping nicotine was found to cause fewer lung damage symptoms compared to vaping THC.

"Without a doubt, cigarettes and e-cigarettes are unhealthy and not good for lungs. However, vaping marijuana appears even worse," the study's principal investor Carol Boyd said. The research focused on adolescent users in the United States who reported current use of either cannabis, cigarettes, or vapes.

Though the current use of tobacco and marijuana, including vaping, was linked with symptoms like a dry cough, the study found that the link wasn't as significant when the researchers controlled for vaping cannabis products. Teens who reported vaping cannabis were nearly twice as likely to experience whistling and wheezing sounds compared to users who didn't vape cannabis.

The study didn't include an evaluation of adolescents who vaped cannabis and also vaped or smoked tobacco/marijuana, leaving an avenue for future research. Co-use of these products may account for greater levels of respiratory symptoms, but additional studies will be needed to explore that.