Patients neglect the damage of smoking weed

Doctor Guus Westerhof advices his patients to stop smoking weed, they don’t listen.

Specialised in pulmonology and working at Amsteerdam UMC, Westerhof knows what a damaged lung looks like. “We often see holes in people’s lungs. We see it after use of cigarettes, but weed causes the holes more clearly,” he says. Westerhof tells his patients to stop smoking, but very few actually quit.

Medical Doctor, Huus Westerhof ’s opinion on weed, is that it is as bad for your lungs as smoking cigarettes. (Photo credit: Amsteerdam UMC.)

Smokers take great risks

A report published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal earlier this month states that smoking cannabis also is dangerous for the heart – it gives a higher risk of heart attack. “Other consequences of smoking cannabis are also a higher risk of cancer, blood clot and decreased oxygen consumption,” Huus Westerhof says.

To him, it does not seem like people understand the risks of smoking weed. “I have people come in here. I ask if they smoke and they say ‘only a joint a day’. They don’t really see how severe it can be,” Westerhof explains.

I don’t think it’s worth it

Two girls who do understand the consequences are Nienke Cornielje and Maeve Poelhekkeo.

“I don’t smoke anymore,” say the students at the exact same time. Poelhekkeo explains why she quit: “I don’t like the taste of it, also it’s not good for you. I don’t think it is worth it ruining my lungs,” she says.

Maeve Poelhekkeo and Nienke Cornielje have quit smoking joints, but they think smoking once every other month should be okay. (Photo credit: Martine A. Kvisgaard Borgund.)

Although they don’t smoke anymore, they have friends who do. “Some of my friends do it like three days a week,” says Nienke Cornielje. She adds that she does not think they realize the consequences of smoking. Her friends are often like: “It’s nice, so why not,” Cornielje explains.

Not worried

Akshay Ramji works at Coffeeshop Ibiza and smokes weed even though he is aware of the consequences. “I am not worried,” he says. In his shop a large percentage of customers are locals. “Some come every day because it is a dedication, or an addiction – depends on how you see it,” Ramji says.

During daytime the store is quite empty, people do not have time to sit down. (Photo credit: Martine A. Kvisgaard Borgund.)

Personally, he doesn’t think about the fact that he distributes weed to people who are addicted to it or in a bad health condition. “If I think about this, I can think about everything in life that is not good for me,” Ranji says. He has a clear opinion: “It is your own responsibility. If you want to stay healthy, stay healthy. If you want to die, die. It is easy like that,” he says.