BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) — A study at UC Berkeley has found that secondhand cannabis smoke is more harmful than secondhand tobacco smoke.
It was conducted by a graduate student and a professor of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
KRON4 spoke to the pair about the study and has more about what laws they hope results from their findings.
The study that measured the air quality of a bong smoker’s living room found that there isn’t just a health concern during smoking, but that the quality of the air stays dangerous for up to 12 hours after.
From the annual 420 festival to their favorite dispensaries, marijuana enthusiasts are passionate about their smoking.
UC Berkeley graduate, Patton Nguyen, decided to dedicate his senior honors thesis to the topic of smoking.
“Most of my peers in college, I feel like they have this pre-conceived notion that cannabis smoke might be safer or a better alternative to cigarette smoke,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen conducted a study during his senior year and continued it while he was the smoke and tobacco free fellow at UC Berkeley — by measuring the air quality of an undergrad student’s living room that was used to smoke a bong in.
“A college student that, separate from the study, who independently invited folks over to smoke and we just had that opportunity to take measurements while they were smoking,” Nguyen said.
The study was overseen by professor Katharine Hammond who says it was not a controlled experiment, but rather a focus of what happens in real life.
According to Hammond, an instrument was put in the student’s living room to measure the particles in the air.
“We let it just run during the entire smoking session and for between 1 to 12 hours after,” Hammond said.
The results of the study showed that cannabis smoke from the bong produced four times the amount of air matter than smoke produced by tobacco.
“You recall the orange days of wildfires a year in a half ago, when the sky was orange the concentrations of particles were 10 times higher than that,” Hammond said.
Hammond and Nguyen understand that their findings won’t sit well with most marijuana enthusiasts –since that was also the case with cigarette smokers when the professor first studied the effects of secondhand tobacco smoke more than 30 years ago.
“One’s rights to smoke cigarettes is fine, just as your right to smoke a bong is fine, but the problem is when you impact somebody else,” Hammond said.
When it comes to changes around smoking cannabis, Nguyen hopes the study will be considered when it comes to forming laws and public health policies.
“Don’t smoke indoors. Understand that you could be effecting others and just be aware that there is a public health concern with bong smoking,” Nguyen said.