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WorthRepeatingLogoSmoking Marijuana Does Not Cause Lung Cancer
(and may even offer some protection against cancer!)

(As reported by Fred Gardner on AlterNet, August 28, 2009)

Conclusion/findings from “Marijuana Use and the Risk of Upper Aerodigestive Tract Cancers: Results of a Population-Based Case-Control” by Prof. Donald Tashkin, University of California at Los Angeles

You’d think it would have been very big news in June 2005 when UCLA medical school professor Donald Tashkin reported that components of marijuana smoke — although they damage cells in respiratory tissue — somehow prevent them from becoming malignant.

In other words, something in marijuana exerts an anti-cancer effect!

Tashkin has special credibility. He was the lead investigator on studies dating back to the 1970s that identified the components in marijuana smoke that are toxic.

It was Tashkin, et. al., who published photomicrographs showing that marijuana smoke damages cells lining the upper airways. It was the Tashkin lab’s finding that benzpyrene — a component of tobacco smoke that plays a role in most lung cancers — is especially prevalent in marijuana smoke.

Dr. Donald Tashkin [NORML ZA]

Dr. Donald Tashkin, UCLA

It was Tashkin’s data showing that marijuana smokers are more likely than non-smokers to cough, wheeze, and produce sputum.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which supported Tashkin’s marijuana-related research over the decades, readily gave him a grant in 2002 to conduct a large, population-based, case-controlled study that would prove definitively that heavy, long-term marijuana use increases the risk of lung and upper-airways cancers.

What Tashkin and his colleagues unexpectedly found, however, disproved their hypothesis.

Tashkin’s team interviewed 1,212 cancer patients from the Los Angeles County Cancer Surveillance program, matched for age, gender, and neighborhood with 1,040 cancer-free controls. Marijuana use was measured in “joint years” (number of years smoked times number of joints per day).

It turned out that increased marijuana use did not result in higher rates of lung and pharyngeal cancer, whereas tobacco smokers were at greater risk the more they smoked. Tobacco smokers who also smoked marijuana were at slightly lower risk of getting lung cancer than tobacco-only smokers.

url-7These findings were not deemed worthy of publication in “NIDA Notes,” which had apparently been counting on results proving marijuana’s harmfulness.

Without a NIDA press release calling attention to its significance, the editors of America had no idea that “Marijuana Use and the Risk of Lung and Upper Aerodigestive Tract Cancers: Results of a Population-Based Case-Control Study” was a blockbuster story.

Marijuana Doesn’t Cause COPD, Either

The accelerated development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — COPD — is another condition prevalent among tobacco smokers. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are two forms of COPD, which is the fourth-leading cause of death in the U.S. Air pollution and tobacco smoke are known culprits.

Tashkin and his UCLA colleagues conducted a major study in which they measured the lung function of various cohorts over eight years and found that tobacco-only smokers had an accelerated level of decline, but marijuana smokers — even if they smoked tobacco as well — experienced the same rate of decline as non-smokers.

“The more tobacco smoked, the greater the rate of decline,” Tashkin said. “In contrast, no matter how much marijuana was smoked, the rate of decline was similar to normal.”

Tashkin concluded that his and other studies “do not support the concept that regular smoking of marijuana leads to COPD.”

Mr. Worth Repeating: former NYPD cop, former high school health teacher, the unstoppable Ron Marczyk, R.N., Toke Signals columnist

Mr. Worth Repeating: former NYPD cop, former high school health teacher, the unstoppable Ron Marczyk, R.N.,
Toke Signals columnist

Editor’s note: Ron Marczyk is a retired high school health education teacher who taught Wellness and Disease Prevention, Drug and Sex Ed, and AIDS educaiton to teens aged 13-17.

He also taught a high school International Baccalaureate psychology course. He taught in a New York City public school as a Drug Prevention Specialist. He is a Registered Nurse with six years of ER/Critical Care experience in NYC hospitals, earned an M.S. in cardiac rehabilitation and exercise physiology, and worked as a New York City police officer for two years.

Currently he is focused on how evolutionary psychology explains human behavior.


  • http://gplus.to/novenator novenator

    It’s good to remember that people often forget this is one of the big misconceptions about cannabis. Thanks for the well timed reminder, and I have a feeling folks will need to be reminded of things like this every once in a while.

  • http://MSN.com Charles Queen

    Marijuana is totaly harmless if used with a vaporiser and or in baking or cooking,it eliminates the only thing in it that could cause possible harm which are the tars,other than that it is totaly harmless,and it is more mentally adictive than it is physically so

  • http://www.facebook.com/brad.wiens.7 Brad Wiens

    marijuana isnt addicive at all, mental or otherwise. i can go without smoking pot for a long while (2 months was the longest) i couldnt go more than 4 or 5 hours without a cigarette, and its hard to not have coffe for that long as well, those are addictions. i beleive that if someo is claiming their adicted to marijuana, they are just weak willed. i enjoy marijuana, and am stoned at all waking points of the day, at work, at home, there is nothing i can do sober, that i cant do stoned.

  • http://MSN.com Charles Queen

    I agree 100 percent,but there are those that seem to believe that it is so I usually throw this in

  • http://www.facebook.com/dsilverblatt Deborah Silverblatt

    I would agree that marijuana is mentally addictive, but I prefer to use the term “habituation” when referring to marijuana use. I would go as far to say that it is our emotions and thoughts that create this habitual use of marijuana.

  • iStudyMarijuana.

    Also another common belief is that marijuana is a gateway drug but in fact there is no inherent psycho-pharmacological property of the drug that makes it a gate way drug. oh and guess our kids are getting smarter because this is coming from a 15 year old. and I’ve been studying the prohibition of marijuana and the pharmaceutical uses of cannabis for about 2 months now and I just cant believe the uses of the plant especially hemp I mean come on this was once one of the most grown agricultural crops grown worldwide. with 1,000′s of uses, lighting oils, medicines fabrics fiber even paper I mean come on the first two copies of the declaration of independence were made from cannabis hemp paper.

  • Renee

    I have been smoking cannabis for 30 years now. I started with every weekend when I was 14 and graduated to sharing a joint a day with my 2 roommates in my 20′s. When our house caught fire we were forced to split to find temporary living arrangements elsewhere for a few months. I ended up moving in with someone who smoked about 9 joints per day! At first I could not hang but after a couple of months I was just like him and have totally ruined my tolerance level. Since then I have quit a couple times, 5 months being the longest. I just quit again 4 days ago. I find I miss the activity of smoking more than I miss being high. I am not having any withdrawals at all as far as the marijuana itself goes. It has always been my social group – non-tobacco smoking, non-drinking, weed smokers. Harmless and fun. No one ever slurs their words, spits on you while talking, talking louder and louder or making sexual advances they would not make when ‘sober’ nor drive like idiots as all drunks do. Thanks for the post.

  • laithalharahsheh

    Good article, there is a method used by the and many Nftna which

    When you are at least thinking of taking that all important decision to stop this filthy

    habit called smoking, you need to write yourself a list. Write down yourself a list of WHY

    you should stop smoking and why you have decided to stop smoking.

    While you write down your list of your “Why’s”, I will give you another 2 lists for you to

    think about. Here’s the first one:

    • Straight after the decision to stop smoking, only just 20 minutes after your last

    cigarette, your heart rate falls and your blood pressure decreases.

    • After the first 8 hours of your last cigarette, the levels of nicotine and carbon

    monoxide in your body are reduced by at least half, and oxygen levels return to normal.

    • At 24 hours the carbon monoxide is totally discharged from the body.

    • 48 hours and there is no more nicotine in your body.

    Article source : http://1betteroff.blogspot.com/2013/06/what-are-damages-of-smoking-most-facts.html

  • http://dodatkidodomu.business-is-business.pl lampy

    Aw, this really is quite a fine content. In approach I would like to installed formulating similar to this on top of that – spending time and legitimate effort to have a nice article… but exactly what can I say… I waste time alot and by no means seemingly get a thing accomplished.

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