Smoking marijuana not only gets you high, but it also alters your DNA.
Researchers at the University of Leicester in England have found "convincing evidence" that pot smoke damages DNA in ways that could potentially increase the risk of cancer.
"There have been many studies on the toxicity of tobacco smoke,” researcher Rajinder Singh said in a news release. “Cannabis in contrast has not been so well studied."
Singh said cannabis smoke contains 400 compounds including 60 cannabinoids. It also contains 50 percent more carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons including naphthalene, benzanthracene, and benzopyrene, than tobacco smoke, Singh added.
In the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, the scientists describe the development of a new method that provides a clear indication that cannabis smoke damages DNA, under laboratory conditions.
"The smoking of 3-4 cannabis cigarettes a day is associated with the same degree of damage to bronchial mucus membranes as 20 or more tobacco cigarettes a day," the team wrote in the journal.
"These results provide evidence for the DNA damaging potential of cannabis smoke," the researchers concluded, "implying that the consumption of cannabis cigarettes may be detrimental to human health with the possibility to initiate cancer development."