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New Study Links Marijuana Use to Testicular Cancer

Is this surprising?

Image: via Pexels

Frequent marijuana smoking has been linked to an increased risk of developing testicular cancer, according to a recent study published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

The study was a systematic literature review consisting of a meta-analysis of 25 different studies on marijuana usage, covering a fifty-year data span. It explored marijuana’s potential links to dozens of cancer types, with researchers discovering that heavy weed smokers had a 36 percent higher chance of developing testicular cancer than non-weed smokers. 

This heavy marijuana usage analysed in the study was smoking a joint daily for a decade, but the co-author of the study, Deborah Korenstein, told Inverse that currently, her team do not know how these results are influenced by dose or duration, so this will be determined in future studies. 

The review also suggested an increased risk in lung and other types of cancer. This is because weed smoke contains carcinogens (substances which can cause cancer in living tissue), and also causes the smoker to be exposed to harmful properties such as tar and carbon monoxide when smoked. Korenstein said that inadequate evidence and limited data prevented any firm conclusions from being drawn. 

However, this does not mitigate the dangers of smoking marijuana, with Korenstein emphasising:

I’d hate for people to interpret that to mean that marijuana use is completely safe. The fact is that we don’t know much about the impact of heavy use, use at a very young age, or about non-smoking use.

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer which affects men aged 20-40, so young marijuana smokers could potentially be at a higher risk. But, overall the results of the review are in no way definite or conclusive, with the area of study being uncertain.

Some people might see this as all-clear to smoke marijuana unconcerned and unbridled. Nevertheless, marijuana is a drug which is illegal in many countries around the world. Although a seemingly natural herbal remedy linked to relaxation and counter-cultures, smoking it is still smoking. I don’t think it is ever ‘healthy’ to inhale large amounts of carbon monoxide and other toxic gases from a substance which contains tar and carcinogens, all the while increasing one’s susceptibility to mental health problems, so maybe don’t smoke marijuana at all. Better safe than sorry. 

To read about marijuana’s potential to cause addiction, click here

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