Does ALL smoking cause cancer?


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We all know that smoking causes cancer. It rips apart your mouth, lungs, and everything in between. How do we know this? Well, aside from all the research that has been drilled into our brains since D.A.R.E., there are warnings on the side of each cigarette box. But here's a question: does marijuana (I know, dangerous topic) have the same kind of adverse affects on our lungs? Since it's not legal, there are no government-regulated boxes with government-regulated messages telling the smoker how bad it is. We've all met the people who won't smoke cigarettes because of "how bad they are", but who are more than willing to smoke marijuana because they've heard it's not as bad for their health as alcohol is.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abus, marijuana contains 50-70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke, and since marijuana smokers tend to inhale more deeply than cigarette smokers, this seems dangerous. Often times, regular marijuana smokers' lungs look just as bad as smokers' lungs, but a recent study shows there are no positive associations between marijuana use and lung, upper respiratory, or upper digestive tract cancers.


However, there is a study that shows that marijuana smokers are almost 5 times more likely to have a heart attack in the first hour after smoking. It's noted that this study is probably more related to older users or users with existing cardiac problems.


Source after source has said that while a study here and there will show an increased risk of cancer in marijuana use, there are no confirmed statistics about marijuana causing cancer. It seems like it would be very tricky to do a solid experiment, since most of the people in America who are legally smoking weed are ill, or at least claiming to be ill for purposes of using medicinal marijuana. And by accident, I have stumbled upon another interesting science and ethics question: can you ask people to do something illegal for purposes of a scientific study?

2 Comments

Judith, I'm not sure if you stumbled across this article in your research but it's associated with Harvard and has a .edu url so it seems reputable. I know that your specific blog post was about simply the cancer causing aspect of smoking weed (and this article does say that there have been links between the two but nothing conclusive) BUT what fascinated me was all the other adverse affects of marijuana! The article explains how it suppresses your immune system and accelerates the process of AIDs. It explains how medical marijuana use may actually be hurting the patients who use it more than helping them! I have always been told by users that it's a harmless social activity- from now on I'll refer them to this site!

For many years I heard people say marijuana isn't as bad as cigarette's and they can stop whenever they want. They would continue to preach about if it was legal then America would be able to keep so many people out of jail and make astounding profits. I've also heard there are no real effects on the body, and whenever I heard that I knew that person had to be delusional. Anything that is smoked continuously will have an effect on your body somehow. I wasn't aware that marijuana had THAT many effects. Now I have a case if I hear anyone say it again.

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