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Sunny2's avatar

Does smoking pot cause cancer?

Asked by Sunny2 (18817points) June 4th, 2011

When smoking pot became prevalent, some people wondered if this was going to be as injurious as smoking cigarettes. Has anyone seen or heard of any studies on the subject?

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24 Answers

Garebo's avatar

I know it has many carcinogenic catalysts, as much as tobacco except most weed is 100% organic unless it is grown by the government. I have heard that cannabis grown in areas with high mercury levels in the soil, where most good weed is grown, can cause a problem to ones mental health.

sakura's avatar

If you are mixing it with tabacoo, sure and I’m guessing if home rolled…no filter? In which case nothing to filter out some of the other nasty stuff you can find in cigerettes? sprinkle it on toast with jam instead!!

Ajulutsikael's avatar

As far as I know, no.less you are mixing it with something that can cause it. I recommend watching documentaries on weed so you can actually learn more about the plant and the history behind it. There is a lot of hatred generated for such a beneficial plant. The problem is that there is no money to be gained by the drug companies if people are using weed instead. Even the drug company’s substitute Marinol is more detrimental to a person’s health than weed.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

All the additives to cigarettes are where most of the carcinogenic stuff comes from. Smoking anything isn’t great for your lung and can cause cancer, but weed has no where near the level of carcinogenic properties that cigarettes have.

Buttonstc's avatar

Obviously smoking anyhing would up your cancer potential.

But that risk would be eliminated if it’s used as a food additive or used with a vaporizer (since that doesn’t heat it up enough to burn and create smoke).

derekfnord's avatar

There hasn’t been adequate study of the question for a definite answer.

brianhite's avatar

I heard the link between cigarettes and cancer is a result of the radioactive fertilizer used to grow tobacco, and I don’t believe they’re used to grow weed. So yeah…. But that’s just what I heard. I’ve never used the stuff.

Facade's avatar

It does quite the opposite from what I’ve read

rooeytoo's avatar

So are you saying smoking cigarettes was not bad for you until they started adding chemicals to the tobacco? If I started growing my own organic tobacco, I could smoke it without any worries?

Lightlyseared's avatar

You can get organic cigarettes and they’ll kill just as fast as any other type.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Lightlyseared – so why would smoking pot not be harmful but smoking organic cigs would? I don’t understand?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@rooeytoo Not without any worries, but significantly less ones, yeah.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@rooeytoo Cannabis leaves contain a lot of the same carcinogens as tobacco leaves so smoking pot is probably as bad for you as smoking toabacco. However, because it’s hard to find enough people who’ve only smoked pot and never tobacco, smoke pot as much as the average cigarette smoker etc. and, due to certain legal issues, you can never be sure that people who say they haven’t smoked pot are telling the truth anyway, that it is impossible to do any sort of meaningful statistical analysis on the subject. The problem is the subject has become very emotive. If a journal article says smoking pot is bad for you the vast majority of pot smokers just assume that the G-man is making it all up to scare them into stopping. Likewise the anti-pot people aided by the media will take a poorly written lazy study and oversell it so it becomes hard for someone to work out whats going on with out digging around in the results section of a load of research papers.

SoupDragon's avatar

I think the evidence is now in regarding smoking tobacco and it would certainly seem that smoking tobacco is a major cancer risk. I can’t think of any good reason why smoking anything at all wouldn’t trigger the same processes in the body. The effect might be more or less than tobacco but spending a lot of time inhaling any kind of smoke doesn’t seem like a good idea at all!

Just stick in a cake.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think lighting something on fire and sucking on it is probably not a good thing no matter what is burning! But booze isn’t good for you either and it doesn’t stop many from drinking so why should it stop anyone from smoking!

And does eating pot create the same sensations as smoking it? I wonder if eating a cigarette would make smoking less desirable, just a different method of obtaining the nicotene hit???

Lightlyseared's avatar

@rooeytoo eating tobacco will make you incredibly sick very quickly.

Buttonstc's avatar


Actually your premise isn’t that far off the mark. Obviously trying to eat the tobacco just to get the nicotine content is too disgusting to be workable.

But some people have successfully quit smoking with the aid of Nicorette Gum :)

WasCy's avatar

Several observations:

1. The effects from smoking tobacco are cumulative. That is, one cigarette is bad for you, two are worse, and so on. If you’re a two-pack-a-day smoker your risk is higher than a one-pack-a-day smoker, whose risk is higher than a person who smokes once or twice a day. Most marijuana smokers (and I was one, once) don’t smoke nearly as much on a daily basis as “a pack” of cigarettes. Even when I “smoked like a chimney”, it was still only a couple of times a day at the most – and usually less than that.

2. On the other hand, cigarette smokers don’t inhale to the depth (and for the length of time) that marijuana smokers do. (Someone offered me a cigarette once when I was stoned, and I smoked it like a joint, inhaling deeply and holding it. It literally knocked me down to do that, the smoke was so intense.) So there may be some added danger from marijuana smoking due to the depth of inhaling and the time held in the lungs. Still, over the course of a day, it seems to me that even a “heavy” marijuana smoker is inhaling less smoke than a regular smoker.

3. Nicotine is addictive (and poisonous) on its own. Nicotine is one of the best natural pesticides around, and is lethal to humans in moderate doses in a pure form – see the link. Marijuana creates a dependency which is much less strong than an addiction to tobacco. If you can create a ‘high’ in other ways or get away from the need for a high, then desire for marijuana is naturally lessened. Most people seem to mature out of a “need” for marijuana, even if a nostalgic urge to re-create the past sometimes occurs.

4. As to whether or not smoking marijuana will cause cancer, a good question, the question can’t even be studied by experimentation (in the USA) without specific permission from the federal government, which is nearly impossible to obtain. My own belief is that the government doesn’t want to find out how relatively harmless (that is, relatively less likely to cause harm) marijuana is than either tobacco or alcohol, because that would inevitably fuel a stronger drive to not only decriminalize it, but to legalize it outright.

HungryGuy's avatar

It’s hard to say. Studies have shown that smoking tobacco causes cancer, but marijuana hasn’t been studied to the extent that tobacco has for carcinogens. My hunch is that inhaling burning hot gasses will cause cancer, regardless the substance being burned. If people smoked joints like they smoke cigarettes, one after another day in and day out, I bet it would cause cancer just as surely as tobacco.

Now, that said, I want to remind everyone that I believe that everyone should have the right to do with their bodies whatever they want that is peaceful and consensual (even if it self-destructive).

Axemusica's avatar

1,000 Lurve to @WasCy. :)

I couldn’t tell you much about this topic, but what I can tell you is about my best friend. He and I started smoking around the same time (both cigarettes and pot) when we were kids. He quit smoking cigarettes about 2006 & started Brazilian Jujitsu a few years ago. He’s always said to me that he feels much better since he quit cigarettes, but smoking pot has no effect on his performance in the gym. He’s one of the healthiest people I know too. Eats right and trains like an MMA fighter.

In fact a lot of the people in his gym smoke pot and it doesn’t seem to phase their cardio at all.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

A lot of doctors say that it doesn’t do any real harm. It temporarily messes with short term memory but that’s during the high. Any effects on the lung are simply because of basic smoke inhalation. You can easily use a vape or just consume it. I’m disturbed by the fact that it’s categorized as the most dangerous drug when advil is more dangerous. You can’t overdose on marijuana and you don’t even become violent. Cops have even mentioned that there hasn’t been any violent crimes associated with it(as in someone high on weed committed a crime, not someone who shot someone for stealing it or something of the sort).

Even America’s history with hemp has been removed from museums. The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.

I don’t smoke pot, to each his own, but I don’t think it should be illegal either. It’s just because there is so much medicinal benefits and it can’t be reproduced in labs. The FDA is thinking of also making other herbal supplements illegal and giving them the classification as illicit drugs. Things like aloe and other herbs. Very sad.

If doctors are prescribing it because there is so much benefits and no drug interactions then there is no reason why you should really worry about cancer risks. There are so many things in this world that we won’t stop fabricating even with the cancer risks. Diapers, shampoos, lotions, etc.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think it is also probably a factor that most people don’t smoke pot as often as they would smoke a cigarette. I have known some pretty heavy users, but none of them carried packs around with them!

Ajulutsikael's avatar

You also have to remember all the additives in cigarettes in general.

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