Lung Cancer Marijuana Studies

WSJ Team September 17, 2010 1

A study led by physician Donald Tashkin of the University of California Los Angeles was conducted on 611 lung cancer patients and 1,040 healthy controls along with 601 patients with cancer in their head or neck areas.  The scientists expected that patients with more than 500 to 1,000 uses of marijuana would have an increased risk of cancer several years after exposure to marijuana.  The study also focused on past tobacco use stating that the more tobacco a person smoked, the greater the risk of developing cancer.  After controlling for tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs scientists concluded that marijuana did not seem to have an effect on patient’s development of lung cancer.  The study does not reveal how or if marijuana avoids causing lung cancer, but speculates that perhaps the THC in marijuana causes aging cancerous cells to die before becoming harmful.

For further reading on this study please visit:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=large-study-finds-no-link

A study led by researchers at Harvard University was conducted in 2007 on both lab and mouse studies.  The study shows that the active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread.  In the study researchers first proves that two different lung cancer cell lines express CB1 and CB2, and that doses of THC inhibited growth in the cell lines.  Two weeks later they injected standard doses of THC into mice that had been infected with lung cancer cells.  The study suggested that the tumors decreased in size and weight by over 50% and significantly reduced protein markers associated with cancer progression.  They speculate that the processes of angiogenesis and vascularization may be positively interfered with, which prevents cancer growth.

For further reading on this study please visit:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070417193338.htm

A study led by physician Donald Tashkin of the University of California Los Angeles was conducted on 1,209 L.A. residents aged 59 or younger with cancer.  The team measured exposure to marijuana in “joint years” which is equivalent to how many joints were smoked daily multiplied by the number of years of habitual smoking.  Controls were found based on age, gender and neighborhood.  The estimated odds ratios for lung cancer were .78 for 1-10 joint years, .74 for 10-30 joint years; .85 for 30-60 joint years; and 0.81 for more than 60 joint years.  However, the effects of marijuana did seem to be positive in some certain categories.  Tashkin concluded that it would be difficult to extract from these data the conclusion that marijuana is protective against lung cancer so further research must be done.

For further reading on this study please visit:

http://ccrmg.org/journal/05aut/nocancer.html

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