« Real Men Prescreen | Main | Lad Lit »

May 26, 2006

Potsmokers Rejoice

The largest study ever conducted has concluded that pot smoking, even constant pot smoking, does not increase your risk of lung cancer. "We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, said Donald Tashkin, a UCLA pulmonologist involved in the study, "and that the association would be more positive with heavier use. What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect."

Yes, a protective effect. It turns out that THC, the active component in pot, might encourage healthy cell death, knocking off the aged and deformed cells that can trip into the mutating feedback cycle that creates cancer. And just to be sure the study was correctly carried out, they also asked respondents about cigarette smoking, finding that two packs a day created a 20-fold increase in lung cancer.

Quick thought experiment: if a martian landed on this planet, and you explained to him that there were these two types of cigarettes, one that was violently addictive and increased your susceptibility to a deadly disease by 2000%, and another that was pleasant, non-addictive, and protective against the killer ailment, which do you think our friendly neighborhood martian would theorize we keep legal?

May 26, 2006 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Potsmokers Rejoice:

» Marijuana May Ward Off Lung Cancer from Outside The Beltway | OTB
Ezra Klein, reflecting on a new study finding that, smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer and even a suggestion of some protective effect, observes: Quick thought experiment: if a martia... [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2006 4:37:42 PM


The friendly neighborhood martian probably wouldn't know about the marijuana madness that magicly afflicts nearly all that are elected to office. With the certification of election comes a paid-up membership in the Addicted to Nonsense club, largely a bi-partisan multi-national. Somehow the Dutch are addiction-free of weed madness, however, which is very curious.

This is called 'drawing the line'. We chose to draw it with gambling, alcohol and tobacco legal (go to Vegas and you get all three in abundance, plus some paid-sex bonus coupons).

The problem is that marijuana just wants to grow about anywhere and be free for the taking - without patents, trademarks, marketing hype or other corporate profit-protecting meaasures. That is deeply subversive and must be eliminated forthwith.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | May 26, 2006 11:46:00 AM

The Martian would of course recommend the one with the best lobbying representation. Silly Ezra, joints are for kids...

Posted by: Pooh | May 26, 2006 11:59:09 AM

Retrospective, case-control, excluded all subjects over 60....not a strong basis for drawing conclusions.

Posted by: quietstorm | May 26, 2006 12:07:45 PM

And here is another question the martian might ask: Why is it acceptable to use opium-derived compounds in hospitals as pain killers, even though they are highly addictive, but to forbid ALL research on the medical effects of THC and its derivatives?

Posted by: meander | May 26, 2006 12:17:15 PM

Depends on whether or not we discussed market economy with the Martians as well. It would be harder to make money off a weed that can (and does) grow anywhere than to grow a crop that is vastly more labor intensive but also more difficult to sustain, therefore limiting the ability of just anyone to do it. Silly Martians, we'll kill ourselves if it will make someone rich - it's the American way.

Posted by: Reba | May 26, 2006 12:29:14 PM

that depends on how long the martian's watched c-span for doesn't it?

Posted by: almostinfamous | May 26, 2006 1:06:26 PM

Subjects over 60 generally didn't smoke much pot. And the fact that the cigarettes showed their normal correlation should alleviate fears that the remembrances were off. Indeed, biases from the retrospective would be expected to favor a pot-cancer correlation, not deny one.

Posted by: Ezra | May 26, 2006 1:06:43 PM

Thanks for posting this -- I was thinking that I might link to the article about the study over the weekend if you didn't.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | May 26, 2006 1:57:22 PM

The biases could work in either direction. Either way, case-control studies are pretty low in the hierarchy of evidence, especially when the results are negative. We don't, based on the WaPo article, even know how many potsmokers were questioned. I'd agree with the statement that marijuana is less carcinogenic than cigarettes but to conclude that it carries no increased risk of lung cancer from this study alone seems a stretch.

Posted by: quietstorm | May 26, 2006 2:21:22 PM

Alright, that does it. First your proposal to have Tommy Thompson raise premiums on smokers and now all these sinister insinuations that cigarettes should be made illegal. It's clear you must be stopped.

Posted by: Brad Plumer | May 26, 2006 2:22:04 PM

quietstorm: maybe that would matter if we placed the burden of proof on the people who want to stop arresting others.

Posted by: Omar K. Ravenhurst | May 26, 2006 4:23:11 PM

The one raised by big agribusiness in electorally important red states?

Posted by: Cal Gal | May 26, 2006 4:24:30 PM

As if *European* law weren't bad enough, and now you want us to rely on what *Martians* think?

Scalia would have a coronary. --Hmmm ....

Posted by: Anderson | May 26, 2006 4:49:01 PM

Omar, agreed. I'm all for legalisation, I was just urging some caution with respect to the study's conclusions.

Posted by: quietstorm | May 26, 2006 5:32:05 PM

The Martian must also be told that the more benign one often causes introspective thought that leads to questioning authority. If the Martian government were anything like ours, he/she would figure it out.

Posted by: Jeff | May 26, 2006 9:04:52 PM

"not addictive"

Let's get this straight: A substance, in and of itself, is not "addictive." It's the behavior that is addictive.

It's long been recognized that pot is "psychologically" addictive, which means it's just the same as, say, gambling or sex addiction. It's a maladaptive way of dealing with stress.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti, but I think when you put something in your post like "it's not addictive" you need to get a bit more educated about what addiction really is.

Posted by: ex-smoker | May 29, 2006 3:53:02 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.