During every heated debate between marijuana advocates and the- whatever the other side are calling themselves (Party poopers? Squares? Square poopers? Square poopers), no one could have anticipated that the best argument for the drug’s legalization was that weed has the potential to actually make lungs healthier. The logic is so counterintuitive that no one even bothered to study it until recently, and even then it was only because someone stumbled across the findings while doing a report on, of all things, an airport.
See, airports that host private planes produce high concentrations of particulate matter into the atmosphere because private planes, for whatever archaic reason, still use leaded gasoline. As a result, people who live near these airports suffer from a whole slew of diseases related to poor air quality, from asthma to COPD. This is true across the board; in every town or city in which these airports exist, people around them get sick … except one.
When the American Lung Association was compiling its Annual Respiratory Disease Report for 2013, they found that for some reason the residents around the airport in Augusta, Maine, had lungs like Wolverine. What they at first assumed was an error in the data turned out to be factually accurate, with an incredible answer: 47-year-old Marlon Cloutier was growing enough weed within the fenced property of the airport to mellow the entire state of Maine.
Not literally, of course. Maine was so outraged when they found out that they threw Cloutier in prison for it because growing weed is still illegal. But his heroic drug farm revealed a property of cannabis no one in the scientific field had considered before – specifically, that it eats up particulate matter from the atmosphere like a stoner eats up Nutella. Weed, more than any other plant, is phenomenal at cleaning pollutants from the air and creating a healthier environment for people. Although tests are only in their preliminary stages, marijuana not only is looking like it might be nature’s air filter, it’s also got the added benefit of being one of the highest oxygen yields of any plant. We could potentially be planting fields of it in every polluted city and saving lives. Sadly, while the reports from the ALA are groundbreaking, they will probably never make national headlines. Still, it’s nice to know that every time you smoke, you’re doing as much as any Asthma Walk. So do it for the kids, and do it for Marlon Cloutier.