Studies: Tobacco and Pot Offer Almost Identical 2-Fold Testicular Cancer Risk
September 11, 2012 2:07 PM
Past studies have indicated Cannabis to have anti-carcinogenic properties
Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all used it (although Clinton did not inhale). Over 17 million Americans (appr. 5.5 percent of all Americans) use it a year, including one out of ever five college students [
]. And 50 percent of Americans now think it should be legal, according to Gallup polling [
]. But marijuana, since 1938, has been illegal in the U.S.
I. Marijuana and Tobacco Show Nearly Identical Testicular Cancer Risks
Amid the growing calls to legalize America's favorite
drug, comes a study that's sure to draw mixed reactions. The research -- done by medical researchers at the University of Southern California -- suggests a correlation between smoking marijuana and testicular cancer.
Past studies have indicated there is no real correlation between alcohol -- one of America's most popular legal drugs -- and testicular cancer. However, studies have shown
[abstract] between smoking tobacco -- also a legal drug in the U.S. -- and testicular cancer. Current research has been unable to establish the method of causation for the tobacco-testicular cancer link.
Likewise, the study on marijuana users found a correlation between testicular cancer and use, but did not establish a causative route. The study suggests the body's
-- which is excited by compounds in marijuana -- may be involved in raising risks of this specific cancer.
Studies have shown smoking marijuana [Image Source: AFP]
The current study only examined smoking marijuana.
[abstract] have shown marijuana use (of any kind) lowers the risk of some cancers and
degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer's
. Thus an important question going ahead is to examine whether alternative forms of consumption (e.g.
) offer the same testicular cancer risk.
So how much do marijuana and tobacco appear (correlation) to raise the risk of testicular cancer?
The 2007 study on tobacco reveals, "The synthesis of our results suggests that smoking about a pack a day for ∼20 years increases one’s risk of testicular cancer ∼2-fold."
Likewise, the marijuana study showed nearly identical results when age and ethnicity were held constant. Smokers of marijuana were twice as likely to get a particular kind of testicular cancer -- mixed-germ cell tumors. Mixed-germ cell tumors include the often lethal non-seminona tumors. The marijuana study relied on querying the drug use history of 292 healthy adult men and 163 adult men with cancers.
II. Causation -- as With Tobacco -- is Undetermined
While causation is unclear, the study's lead author Dr. Victoria Cortessis says the risks should be takens seriously. She
, "The group that is at risk for developing these tumors is overwhelmingly young men. They should be looking and paying attention to changes in their testicles anyway. The truth is, the vast majority of men who develop testicular germ-cell tumors survive them. There's still a small proportion that don't. Those guys tend to have non-seminonas, unfortunately. But also, non-seminomas require more extensive treatment, including radiation and chemotherapy."
"We're not concerned only with preventing non-seminomas so that the malignancy doesn't harm the man, but we're also concerned about the later health effects for men that may be related to the more-aggressive therapy."
Gonadoblastoma, a mixed-germ cell testicular tumor [Image Source: Nephron/Wikipedia]
Both the marijuana and tobacco studies have suggested that quitting use did not decrease risks among those who chronically used at some period in their life.
In the study,
[abstract] in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal
, she and her fellow researchers write:
The findings suggest that the potential cancer-causing effects of marijuana on testicular cells should be considered not only in personal decisions regarding recreational drug use, but also when marijuana and its derivatives are used for therapeutic purposes.
Marijuana is legal for medical use in
, including USC's home state of California, despite being illegal for medical use at a federal level.
III. Results are Immaterial to the Legalization Debate, but Are Important
Aside from the lack of understanding regarding the route of causation some marijuana advocates complain the findings are inconsistent with the past studies that showed that marijuana lowers the risk of certain kinds of cancers.
However, advocates need to realize that it is quite possible that marijuana lowers the risk of some cancers, while raising the risk of testicular cancer -- hence is the complex nature of the human body.
And while the study is receiving much scrutiny from the
perspective of legalization
, ultimately the study's impact on that issue should be immaterial. After all, the correlation observed is almost identical to that seen with tobacco smokers, yet tobacco is legal to use among those older than 18 in the U.S.
Smoking marijuana or tobacco likely raise you risk of testicular cancer, though each may provide some other benefits. [Image Source: Universal Pictures]
Part of the confusion with this particular study arises from that
almost entirely ignores the well-known (among researchers) tobacco-testicular cancer correlation, which is eerily similar to the marijuana correlation in terms of risk rate. Thus the media commentary have mistakenly focused heavily on whether this should be an obstacle to legalization, when the tobacco correlation and the legality of tobacco show that to be a debate that's essentially been decided already.
The study -- and two previous studies before it that showed a similar testicular cancer and marijuana correlation -- is important, though as it should help medical professionals, patients, and recreational users
make informed decisions
when choosing to use. The message seems clear -- know there's risks of lighting up your favorite smoke, whether it's legal or illegal.
(Of course past studies have also suggested that
cell phones are correlated
to fast-growing testicular cancers.)
"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
RNP Platform: Ban Marijuana, Embryonic Stem Cells, Morning After Pill
September 2, 2012, 3:48 PM
GeoHot Gets Busted for Weed Possession on His Way to Speak at SXSW
March 15, 2012, 10:37 AM
Cannabinoid-1 Receptor Protects Brain from Rapid Degeneration
July 13, 2011, 11:35 AM
Study: Alcohol is Deadliest Drug, More Dangerous Than Heroin
November 1, 2010, 5:35 PM
Researchers Discover New Marijuana-chemical Receptor
August 9, 2010, 10:39 AM
PIQ ROBOTTM reveals its new artificial intelligence software
November 29, 2016, 12:59 AM
One more time - Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone Around the World
November 24, 2016, 4:00 AM
Google’s Smart Contact Lens Project gets halted for 2016
November 20, 2016, 7:00 AM
Cell Research Study shows African Americans have greater immune response to infection
November 10, 2016, 1:00 AM
UTHealth Clinical Trial Shows Progress Using Stem Cells to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury
November 8, 2016, 1:00 AM
Uber Partners with Circulation to Pilot Program Connecting Transportation and Digital Health Care
November 6, 2016, 5:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
Apple iPad – New Faster Processor and More Fun
March 22, 2017, 7:25 AM
OnePlus 3T – 5.5” Optic AMOLED and Dash Charging Technology
March 23, 2017, 8:45 AM
Comparison – Samsung Galaxy TabPro S Vs Microsoft Surface Pro 4
March 21, 2017, 7:40 AM
Huawei P8 Lite 2017 – Android 7 Nougat Smartphone with Octa-Core Processor
March 8, 2017, 7:03 AM
Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Gaming G1 – Intel Thunderbolt 3 Certified Motherboard
March 9, 2017, 6:25 AM
Latest Blog Posts
More Apps From Google
Mar 28, 2017, 7:15 AM
Are you thinking of performance and speed? Intel claims:
Mar 25, 2017, 7:45 AM
Apple buys an automation app called Workflow. The deal was completed today and brings the app along with its developers.
Mar 23, 2017, 7:35 AM
Apple Announces new color for iPhones and iPads
Mar 22, 2017, 7:45 AM
Instagram: You Can Now Save Live Videos For Later
Mar 21, 2017, 7:49 AM
Samsung Galaxy S8 to Get New Color Scheme
Mar 20, 2017, 7:45 AM
What else to worry about?
Mar 17, 2017, 6:45 AM
Icon of the Day: Intel/ NVIDIA or Mobileye
Mar 16, 2017, 6:15 AM
JUST IN - Twitter Hijacked : High-Profile Account Accesses
Mar 15, 2017, 7:07 AM
Mar 14, 2017, 7:30 AM
News and Tips
Mar 13, 2017, 6:30 AM
iPhone 8 – May Not Get Curved Screen
Mar 11, 2017, 8:00 AM
California paves way to self-driving car tests without humans
Mar 11, 2017, 7:18 AM
Smart Machines V hackers
Mar 10, 2017, 7:00 AM
Uber Can Resume Autonomous Car Testing in California
Mar 9, 2017, 6:50 AM
Mar 8, 2017, 7:09 AM
Mar 7, 2017, 8:45 AM
World news 3-6
Mar 6, 2017, 5:40 AM
Mar 4, 2017, 7:40 AM
Mixed News of the Day
Mar 4, 2017, 6:32 AM
Jaguar Land Rover invests in ride-sharing
Mar 3, 2017, 7:00 AM
Mixed News of The World:
Mar 2, 2017, 7:02 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2017 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information