Marijuana does not cause cancer?
In June 2005, UCLA medical school professor Donald Tashkin reported that some components of marijuana smoke, while damaging cells in the respiratory tract, somehow prevent cancer cells from becoming malignant.
Donald Tashkin has been involved in marijuana research since the 1970s, mostly identifying the toxic elements, the respiratory tract damage caused by marijuana, and identified benzpyrene -- a component of tobacco smoke that plays a role in most lung cancers -- as being especially prevalent in marijuana smoke. It was Tashkin’s data showing that marijuana smokers are more likely than non-smokers to cough, wheeze, and produce sputum.
In a study including 1200 cancer patients and 1000 cancer free controls, it was discovered that increased marijuana use was not connected with increased lung and pharyngeal cancers, while increased tobacco use was. Those who smoked marijuana as well as cigarettes were slightly less likely to get cancer than those who only smoked cigarettes.
There has been lots of media attention given to other research with contradictory results but Tashkin stands by his research, questioning the size of the sample groups (79 in the New Zealand instance, of which 21 smoked cannabis only) and the poor methodology used, [perhaps reflecting a political bias?].
Excerpted from Smoking Marijuana Does Not Cause Lung Cancer by Fred Gardner, August 28, 2009
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