Prohibitionists continue to shout whatever they can to frighten voters. As more and more U.S. citizens realize that current marijuana laws do more harm than good, the misinformation is going to get stranger and stranger. Just watch.
One classic cry is that marijuana might cause cancer. Recent work out of Brown University actually reveals quite the opposite. Researchers gathered hundreds of people from Massachusetts who had head or neck cancers and compared them to similar people from the same neighborhoods who had no cancer. Despite the reefer-madness rants, those who had used marijuana for a decade or two were significantly less likely to develop these cancers than those who did not use marijuana. In fact, their rates of cancer were less than half the rate among non-users. Anything else that cut the rates of cancer in half would be hailed as the newest wonder drug for tumor prevention.
As Dr. Bob Melamede explained almost five years ago in a delightful article from Harm Reduction Journal, cannabinoids inhibit tumor growth, so marijuana can’t cause cancer. Cannabinoids show promise for battling cancer, not creating it.
So the next time you meet another misinformed prohibitionist squealing about marijuana causing cancer, feel free to spread the word.
Dr. Mitch Earleywine is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where he teaches drugs and human behavior, substance abuse treatment and clinical research methods. He is the author of more than 100 publications on drug use and abuse, including “Understanding Marijuana” and “The Parents’ Guide to Marijuana.” He is the only person to publish with both Oxford University and High Times.