Does smoking Marijuana cause Lung Cancer?


Many people feel that if you research this topic you either have a connection to Marijuana or a connection to Cancer. I have a connection to neither. What helped pushed me towards this topic and want to learn more about marijuana affecting the body was the Tobacco lecture we had in class. Understanding the human body and knowing what affects you is an amazing thing to me. We basically learned that any type of smoke you put into your body is very harmful and has negative affects. We know there is a direct link to tobacco causing cancer. But can Marijuana smoke cause cancer?

Marijuana is the second most common smoked substance in the U.S. after tobacco. Marijuana smoke is composed of the same ingredients that are in tobacco. You would think if they’re composed of the same ingredients and one causes cancer so would the other. But with the case of Marijuana this is still hard to determine. There are also no deaths reported due to marijuana, so it’s hard to portray the affect it has. Studies have just recently proved that tobacco causes cancer so the same precaution has to be taken for Marijuana. We would have to do a numerous amount of research for basically the same period of time. When it comes to smoking marijuana people inhale the cannabis smoke for longer than cigarette smoke. This is to get the full effect of the cannabis. But it means that the smoke is in contact with the lungs for longer.

Smoking marijuana clearly damages the human lung. Research shows that smoking marijuana causes chronic bronchitis and marijuana smoke has been shown to injure the cell linings of the large airways, which could explain why smoking marijuana leads to symptoms such as chronic cough, phlegm production, wheeze and acute bronchitis. Smoking marijuana hurts the lungs’ first line of defense against infection by killing cells that help remove dust and germs as well as causing more mucus to be formed. In addition, it also suppresses the immune system. These effects could lead to an increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections among marijuana smokers, although there is no clear evidence of such actual infections being more common among marijuana smokers.”

I reviewed a study that was conducted in 2006, and a researchers looked at marijuana use and lung cancer risk. In the study they could not find a significant link between marijuana and cancer, the reviewers reported that smoking marijuana increased tar exposure and caused changes to the lining of the small tubes in the lungs. Researches recommended that, until we have more definite evidence, doctors should warn people of the possible harmful effects of marijuana smoking.

There are difficulties in researching the effects of cannabis. Many people who smoke cannabis also smoke tobacco. And users of cannabis often mix it with tobacco. This can make it difficult to know whether it is the tobacco, the cannabis, or both that has caused a cancer. This shows that although marijuana can play a role in causing cancer there are third variables that can also play a role. Knowing that it affects your learn it just makes you think what else could marijuana affect. Could it affect memory? Could marijuana affect cognitive performance, or business/social life? It’s such an interesting topic that can branch out to anything.

Therefore, we can say that we don’t know if marijuana can cause lung cancer. I agree with the study and finding out the side effects of smoking marijuana but I don’t know if I can trust it because there is no general conclusion and the sample size needs to be much larger. In order to determine if marijuana causes lung cancer we need to conduct a long observational study. And in that study we would need a huge sample size and take into encounter the different forms of smoking marijuana.

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  1. Pingback: Lung Diseases and Infections | National Marijuana Initiative

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