Smoking only marijuana does not contribute to head and neck cancers study shows.
Background: Marijuana contains carcinogens similar to tobacco smoke and has been suggested by relatively small studies to increase the risk of head and neck cancer (HNC).
Because tobacco is a major risk factor for HNC, large studies with substantial numbers of never tobacco users could help to clarify whether marijuana smoking is independently associated with HNC risk.
Results: The risk of HNC was not elevated by ever marijuana smoking [odds ratio (OR), 0.88; 95% confidence intervals (95% CI), 0.67-1.16], and there was no increasing risk associated with increasing frequency, duration, or cumulative consumption of marijuana smoking. An increased risk of HNC associated with marijuana use was not detected among never tobacco users (OR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.63-1.37; three studies) nor among individuals who did not drink alcohol and smoke tobacco (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.47-2.38; two studies).
Conclusion: Our results are consistent with the notion that infrequent marijuana smoking does not confer a risk of these malignancies. Nonetheless, because the prevalence of frequent marijuana smoking was low in most of the contributing studies, we could not rule out a moderately increased risk, particularly among subgroups without exposure to tobacco and alcohol. (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009;18(5):1544–51)
OK, now waiting for the mainstream media to plaster the “Marijuana Smoking Does Not Cause Head & Neck Cancer” headline all over the news… in five… four… three… two… one…
Uh… one-half… one-third… one-fourth… any second now, I’m sure this will be all over the airwaves, cyberspace, and newsprint like that Going to Pot: Weed and Testicular Cancer story back in February. You know, the one that cited one small study about a tiny increase in risk for the very rare, almost never-fatal cancer, acknowledges possible self-reporting bias, and concludes at the end of the article, “The bottom line is that I would not start warning my marijuana smokers that they are going to get testicular cancer. I don’t think there’s enough here to go forward with that message, at least not yet.” Yeah, the one that got mentioned in 181 separate news articles, according to Google News.
Let’s just go see what Google News reports on “marijuana +head +neck +cancer” for the week of May 1-7, shall we? Hmm, whaddaya know, the only hit in the past week is NORML Board’s George Rohrbacher’s essay on his experience as a medical marijuana patient. Expand the search to the past month and we find another hit, this time from a 4/20 article on Trans World News stating “Long-term use of marijuana may increase the risk of chronic cough, bronchitis, and emphysema, as well as cancer of the head, neck, and lungs.”
Not only does marijuana not cause cancer, cannabinoids may be the key to curing cancer (and our government’s known that since the 1970s)! Yet seven decades of demonization of marijuana and its users, especially the last four decades of culture wars, have created this bizarre situation where the slightest negative word about cannabis is magnified and amplified, while groudbreaking earth-shattering good news about pot is ignored. If this were a newly discovered plant from the Amazon jungles, it would be hailed as a medical miracle.
By: Radical Russ