While the science behind links between cancer and lighting up a cigarette has been well-established for decades now, not much is known about what happens to people who like to regularly smoke marijuana. However, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association could have some guys rethinking their daily weed habits.
According to the meta-analysis of 25 studies, men who smoked at least one marijuana cigarette every day had a 36% increase in the risk of developing testicular cancer as compared to men who'd never toked up before.
Researches came to that conclusion after examining 25 studies that examined the links between marijuana use and testicular cancer, lung cancer, oral cancer, and head and neck cancer. One bit of good news, the study's authors said they found "insufficient evidence on the association between marijuana use and the development of lung cancer," however they warned that there were "biological reasons for concern about marijuana use and lung cancer."
Cigarettes and marijuana are similar in that when smoked, they both release carcinogens, or substances that could increase a person's risk of developing cancer.
The study authors cautioned that the issue needed more study as the data they looked at was published between 1973 and 2018, and the older studies may not reflect the current strength of marijuana, or people's habits. The study also does not prove a causal link between testicular cancer and heavy marijuana use.
"Low-strength evidence suggests that smoking marijuana is associated with the development of TGCT; evidence of an association between marijuana use and incident lung cancer is of poor quality and inconclusive," the study said.
While testicular cancer accounts for about 1% of diagnosis for men, it's the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men between 15 and 35 years old. Nearly 9,000 men in the U.S. every year are diagnosed with the disease. According to Cancer.gov, symptoms of testicular cancer include a firm, but painless bump, located on the testicle. Swelling can also be indicative of the disease.
The study authors note that their findings are notable at a time when marijuana has become more accepted across the country and recreational use is legalized in many states.
"Our findings are notable in a time of increasing marijuana use in the United States, with novel drug delivery methods, including vaping and edibles, becoming more popular, particularly in states that have legalized recreational use and among adolescents," the study's authors wrote.
Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer with surgery and occasionally radiation or chemotherapy needed.
"As marijuana smoking and other forms of marijuana use increase and evolve, it will be critical to develop a better understanding of the association of these different use behaviors with the development of cancers and other chronic conditions and to ensure accurate messaging to the public," the study concluded.
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