Smoking is bad for humans. Extensive studies conducted on both animals and humans have proven this fact time and again. A new study on marijuana use in men suggests that even inhaling cannabis can be bad for your health.
A recent academic paper published by the CDPHE provides some statistical data regarding marijuana use and the incidence of prostate and testicular cancer.
Marijuana Use, Cancer, and Men
“Strong evidence shows that marijuana smoke contains many of the same cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke.”—Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
Prior to 1996, marijuana was illegal around the United States. Colorado was one of the first states to legalize marijuana, so it makes sense that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment would issue a statement about the use of these products. Their statement suggests that there is evidence linking an increased risk of testicular cancer with pot consumption, but there is conflicting evidence linking marijuana with lung, bladder, or head and neck cancers. Their statement points out that a correlation between marijuana consumption and cancer is not the same as causation, stating:
“An important note for all key findings is that the available research evaluated the association between marijuana use and potential adverse health outcomes. This association does not prove that the marijuana use alone caused the effect.”
The statement notes that while research literature existed prior to 1996 when pot began legalizing at the state level, much of it was biased toward the illegality of the drug. This perhaps skewed the available research. However, the committee that reviewed the available data did say there was “substantial” evidence that the smoke from marijuana consumption has the same cancer-causing chemicals as tobacco smoke.
Previous Research on Marijuana Use and Cancer
An article in WebMD notes a study from 2012 that found men that smoked marijuana were two times as prone to developing testicular cancer than men who did not smoke. The study was published in the journal Cancer and was the third within that timeframe to link pot smoking with testicular cancer. The study looked at 163 men between the ages of 18 and 36. They compared this sample to a group of healthy men and determined that men who smoked pot were two times as likely to develop tumors than the healthy group. The study concluded that they were not certain why the correlation existed, but surmised because the active ingredient in marijuana, called THC, has been shown to disrupt hormones in the body, which may or may not put the cells in human testes at risk for cancer.
A more recent study, reviewed on the Cancer Network website, suggests heavy cannabis use is tied to testicular cancer. Researchers defined “heavy” as using marijuana more than 50 times over a period of years. The study looked at more than 45,000 men over a period of years and found that men who were heavy users of the drug had a higher cancer rate.
As more states legalize pot, it is expected that the long-term effects of cannabis will become clearer. However, there is sufficient evidence currently to create concern about marijuana use and cancer.
Marijuana and Addiction Risk
Beyond these health risks for men, marijuana use carries with it the potential for misuse and addiction. If you are currently battling an addiction to marijuana, help is available. Contact us today to speak confidentially with one of our addiction treatment professionals about your treatment options.