Seattle, WA: The use of marijuana, even long term, is not associated with an increased risk of developing oral cancer, according to the results of a large, population-based study published in the June issue of the journal Cancer Research.
Researchers found "no association" between marijuana use and the incidence of oral squamous-cell carcinoma, "regardless of how long, how much or how often a person has used marijuana," according to a press release issued this week by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, which conducted the study.
The results counter findings from a smaller, previous study published in 1999 suggesting that marijuana smokers had an increased risk of contracting head-and-neck squamous-cell carcinoma as compared to non-users.
More than 1,000 volunteers participated in the Fred Hutchinson study. Among those who reported smoking marijuana, an estimated 11 percent said they had used it for more than five years as compared to 3.5 percent of participants in the previous study.
"When asked whether any marijuana use puts you at increased risk for oral cancer, our study is pretty solid in saying there's nothing going on there," concluded lead author Stephen Schwartz of Fred Hutchinson's Public Health Sciences Division, who noted that it's the "most comprehensive evaluation to date" regarding the association between marijuana use and oral cancers.
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500 or visit the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center website at: