Marijuana Smoking Leads to Lung Cancer? Maybe Not

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Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 8:11 AM
click to enlarge CHUCK GRIMMETT / FLICKR
  • Chuck Grimmett / Flickr

Lung cancer is, well, serious as cancer. It's the winner for cancer-related deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2009, 205,974 American residents were diagnosed with it, and many of them will die: It can kill more than 150,000 people a year stateside.

It's caused mainly by the unnatural phenomenon of putting smoke fumes in our lungs, mostly via cigarettes. But shouldn't medical marijuana users in L.A. be a little concerned?

After all, smoke is smoke, right?

Well, maybe not. Big Tobacco products are known for their pesticides and chemicals, though there's often no guarantee that your neighborhood dispensary is peddling organic weed.

A study by Donald P. Tashkin, medical director of the Pulmonary Function Laboratory at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, says, "The evidence does not indicate that habitual use of marijuana leads to significant abnormalities in lung function," according to a summary.

The research is slated for publication in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

The study suggests that lighter, more occasional use of cannabis might not lead to lung cancer. The summary quotes Tashkin, below:

The author finds no clear link between marijuana use and the development of COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease] or lower respiratory tract infections. In addition, "Findings from a limited number of well-designed epidemiological studies do not suggest an increased risk for the development of either lung or upper airway cancer from light or moderate use, although evidence is mixed concerning possible carcinogenic risks of heavy, long-term use."

Sounds like good news for the stoner nation.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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