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Public release date: 30-Jul-2007

A single cannabis joint has the same effect on the lungs as smoking up to five cigarettes in one go, indicates research published ahead of print in the journal Thorax.

The researchers base their findings on 339 adults up to the age of 70, selected from an ongoing study of respiratory health, and categorised into four different groups.

Cannabis smokers complained of wheeze, cough, chest tightness and phlegm. But emphysema, the progressive and crippling lung disease, was only seen in those who smoked tobacco, either alone or in combination.

It diminished the numbers of small fine airways, which are important for transporting oxygen and waste products to and from the blood vessels

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