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Don't Worry, Be Happy, Potheads!
Salynn Boyles writes on WebMD that pot smokers don't appear to be at an increased risk for developing lung cancer:

While a clear increase in cancer risk was seen among cigarette smokers in the study, no such association was seen for regular cannabis users.

Even very heavy, long-term marijuana users who had smoked more than 22,000 joints over a lifetime seemed to have no greater risk than infrequent marijuana users or nonusers.

The findings surprised the study’s researchers, who expected to see an increase in cancer among people who smoked marijuana regularly in their youth.

“We know that there are as many or more carcinogens and co-carcinogens in marijuana smoke as in cigarettes,” researcher Donald Tashkin, MD, of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine tells WebMD. “But we did not find any evidence for an increase in cancer risk for even heavy marijuana smoking.” Carcinogens are substances that cause cancer.

...The more tobacco a person smoked, the greater their risk of developing lung cancer and other cancers of the head and neck. But people who smoked more marijuana were not at increased risk compared with people who smoked less and people who didn’t smoke at all.

Studies suggest that marijuana smoke contains 50% higher concentrations of chemicals linked to lung cancerlung cancer than cigarette smoke. Marijuana smokers also tend to inhale deeper than cigarette smokers and hold the inhaled smoke in their lungs longer.

So why isn’t smoking marijuana as dangerous as smoking cigarettes in terms of cancercancer risk?

The answer isn’t clear, but the experts say it might have something to do with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is a chemical found in marijuana smoke.

Cellular studies and even some studies in animal models suggest that THC has antitumor properties, either by encouraging the death of genetically damaged cells that can become cancerous or by restricting the development of the blood supply that feeds tumors, Tashkin tells WebMD.

Posted by aalkon at May 24, 2006 4:26 AM

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Comments

This is the best news I've heard all day. You know what they say... "If it's brown, flush it; if it's green, smoke it." Now we know why.

Posted by: Steph at May 24, 2006 3:48 PM

Go and get that colonoscopy, then go home and have a pot brownie for insurance.

Posted by: Oligonicella at May 25, 2006 7:27 AM

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