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“People who are concerned about their voices should be careful about smoking marijuana directly because of the heat, unfiltered contaminants, and other factors,” said Dr. Sataloff to PsyPost. “Smoking through a water pipe is a little better, but still not good for the voice.”
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Whether tobacco or cannabis, smoking these substances can affect the vocal cords, notes Dr. Reena Gupta, director of the voice and laryngology department at the Osborne Head & Neck Institute, stated in a blog post. While it’s not clear whether the actual voice is affected, Dr. Gupta reported the potential harm from smoking, including vocal cord scars (with reduced range), laryngitis, traumatic injuries (such as polyps and nodules), and changes from cancer and lung disease.
She writes on another blog: “Regardless of how it is inhaled, any substance inhaled can damage the voice.”
A systemic review published last year found that “smoking only cannabis is associated with changes in the vocal cords, breathing difficulties and negative changes in lung function, especially in heavy smokers.”
The study’s authors noted that “cannabis smokers with a voice disorder should undergo laryngeal imaging and, when appropriate, complete pulmonary function tests and be informed about methods of use and their association with voice disorders.”
A 2016 Brazilian study of how smoking tobacco and cannabis can affect the everyday voices of university students found that 18.4 percent of subjects smoked cigarettes and 30.1 percent smoked weeds. “The most frequently reported voice symptoms were: hoarseness (28 percent), deep voice (17.2 percent) and voice failure (15.5 percent,” the abstract of the study says.
“The study showed a connection between smoking and the voice symptoms of hoarseness and low voice associated with marijuana use within the examined population,” the authors concluded.