Cigarettes vs Weed: Getting at the Truth


The debate of cigarettes vs weed rages on, at least in government circles, but the science behind it is pretty well established now. Firing up a “funny tomato plant” is a lot safer than tobacco and can even deliver health benefits.



The American Lung Association has some eye-popping facts about what’s in a cigarette. Here’s just a few:

• Acetone. This is a paint remover and thinner and nail polish remover. If you’ve ever caught a whiff of someone stripping nail polish, you know what this is like.

• Arsenic. A deadly poison. Used in pest control applications and used to be a favorite for murderers who like poisoning their victims.

• Nicotine. This is the addictive substance in tobacco and what smokers want. It creates a physical dependence and breaking this habit is very hard to do.

• Toluene. “The central nervous system (CNS) is the primary target organ for toluene toxicity in both humans and animals for acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) exposures. CNS dysfunction and narcosis have been frequently observed in humans acutely exposed to elevated airborne levels of toluene; symptoms include fatigue, sleepiness, headaches, and nausea,” states an EPA report.



A BIG difference between MJ and tobacco is tobacco is pretty much limited to a few strains: cigarette, cigar and some for snuff & chewing tobacco. Marijuana has hundreds to thousands of strains, each bred for different properties. So getting a true comparison means sticking to the major items.

• THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol is what gets you high. The amount of THC in the leaf varies depending on the specific breed of plant. This is also the stuff that helps control nausea in patients being treated for cancer.

•THCa. Tetrahydocannabinol Acid. Don’t let the word “acid” bother you. Soft drinks have acid. Your body naturally produces acid. Folic acid is one of the B vitamins and is necessary for good health. THCa is largely lost when leaves are dried.

• Tar and other things also found in tobacco. Yes, because they are plants, they will share some of the same makeup. Because they are burned and the smoke inhaled, some of the same properties also exist in both. But science is increasingly showing that marijuana is many times safer than tobacco.

• Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound in weed that actually counteracts the high from THC and there’s growing evidence of some outstanding medical attributes. Project CDB says strains of pot with high CBD levels are being cultivated especially for this. The website adds the chemical is showing promise treating “…a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders.”


Find the best deals on marijuana here.


Learn more about the wide world of weed.  Check out these stories:

Can Cannabis Treat Arthritis?

Unusual Suspects

What is a Cannabinoid?



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