Mainstream Media Finally Does Its Job (Sort Of) — It Only Took Four Weeks!

Well, that only took a month.
Earlier today Reuters News Wire finally took the time to report that lifetime marijuana use is associated with a reduced risk of head and neck cancer. That’s according to the findings of a population-based case control study of some 1,000 subjects, published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.
But you already know this because NORML initially posted the news in July.
To review, here is what the study found:

Authors reported, “After adjusting for potential confounders (including smoking and alcohol drinking), 10 to 20 years of marijuana use was associated with a significantly reduced risk of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma … [as was] moderate weekly use.”
Subjects who smoked marijuana and consumed alcohol and tobacco (two known high risk factors for head and neck cancers) also experienced a reduced risk of cancer, the study found.
“This association was consistent across different measures of marijuana use (marijuana use status, duration, and frequency of use). … Further, we observed that marijuana use modified the interaction between alcohol and cigarette smoking, resulting in a decreased HNSCC risk among moderate smokers and light drinkers, and attenuated risk among the heaviest smokers and drinkers.

Notably, Reuters‘ writers took a much more skeptical view of the study’s findings, as evident by the headline:
Could smoking pot cut risk of head, neck cancer?
via Reuters Health
Strange that Reuters would frame their headline in the form of a question. After all, the study’s authors expressed no such reservations, concluding in the final line of their abstract, “Our study suggests that moderate marijuana use is associated with reduced risk of HNSCC (head and neck cancer).”
Reuters skepticism continues:

It’s unclear why marijuana would prevent cancer, if in fact the study is borne out by others, but the authors note that chemicals in pot called cannabinoids have been shown to have potential antitumor effects. Other studies have linked marijuana use to a reduced risk of some cancers, such as cancer of the prostate, and now head and neck cancer.
… Overall, however, research on the effects of marijuana on human health is mixed. Some studies have suggested the drug can increase a person’s risk of heart attack or stroke and cause some cancers such as lung cancer.

Let’s take things one at a time, shall we. First, it’s hardly ‘unclear’ as to why marijuana would be cancer-preventive. To quote the scientific journal Nature Reviews Cancer from 2003:

Cannabinoids: potential anticancer agents
via Nature Reviews Cancer
Cannabinoids inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animals. They do so by modulating key cell-signaling pathways, thereby inducing direct growth arrest and death of tumor cells, as well as by inhibiting tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Cannabinoids are selective anti-tumor compounds, as they can kill tumor cells without affecting their non-transformed counterparts.

Reuters unnamed author(s) further add the caveat: “if in fact the study is borne out by others.” News flash: this study was performed precisely because pot’s cancer preventive effects had been “borne out in others,” such as this:

Study finds no cancer-marijuana connection
via The Washington Post
The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer. … “We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,” he said. “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.”

Reuters further states: “Other studies have linked marijuana use to a reduced risk of some cancers, such as cancer of the prostate, and now head and neck cancer.” Notably, the wire service failed to include that cannabinoids also have documented anti-cancer fighting abilities in the treatment of: brain cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, and pancreatic cancer — just to name a few.
And finally, Reuters obligatorily adds that pot’s effects on health are ‘mixed,’ alleging that “some studies have suggested the drug can increase a person’s risk of heart attack or stroke and cause some cancers such as lung cancer.” Ah yes, the ever elusive “some studies.”
Well, as for cannabis smoking and lung cancer, that claim was rebutted by the largest study of its kind, profiled above. As for the alleged risk of “heart attack or stroke,” a large-scale population study by Kaiser Permanente reportedno association of marijuana use with cardiovascular disease hospitalization or mortality.”
That said, I’m all for the media espousing skepticism regarding claims about cannabis. Of course, were the MSM to apply this same attitude to the federal government’s claims about marijuana and pot prohibition, we wouldn’t have to suffer through stories like these, now would we?

0 thoughts

  1. No wonder my health is doing so well at the age of 55. I’ve been using since 1968 on almost a daily basis. It’s about time the msm started paying attention. If smoking cannabis were harmful to us don’t you think all of us old hippies would have died from the effects by now? When I go see my doctor for my yearly physical he says whatever you’re doing keep doing it. I don’t use tobacco and I consume alcohol in moderation (a beer or two). I try to eat well and work hard and get lots of time relaxing while I smoke pot. I like my life style and I only hope it keeps working for me. Maybe someday a MSM reporter will do a story about how all of us old pot takers have avoided all of those terrible health problems while enjoying life. It seems so natural doesn’t it.

  2. I followed the link to reuters, and was wondering how deeply the story was buried. I saw that it was in the health section so I clicked on the health menu choice and the story was the second story down which is fine because the top story was “Tobacco seen killing 6 million people next year”. Those 2 articles look really nice next to each other like that.
    Smoke on!

  3. Like #1 posted, I’m 51 years old and when people find out my age I get looks of honest disbelief. (Quite frankly I don’t think I look THAT much younger than my age but I almost invariably get that kind of reaction) I’ve been smoking pot for 36 years. My resting pulse rate is below 70, I can hop on a bike and do a good 80 miles or more in a day. I take no prescription medications, have no health problems and unlike the majority of American adults, I’m not overweight. Pot makes me work out harder, stay with it longer and have more fun with it.
    But society would rather have me prefer me taking an antidepressant than smoking pot, even if it means it costs the HMO giants some $1200 a month and it causes me to gain weight and develop diabetes, all for the pleasure of eventually building tolerance to the dcug and winding up even more depressed but then with chronic health problems. Oh, wait, I’m sure they’ll offer a prescription for those health problems then.

  4. so to add to that, I doubt if Obama will read this or buy into this if it were pointed out to him, but doesn’t it seem that, between the medical marijuana applications (which contrary to prohibitionist popular belief are NOT anecdotal), and this news about reduced risk of many cancers, and yet undiscovered other health beneifts, wouldn’t it make sense that legalizing pot would help reduce health care costs?

  5. Beautifully written. Documented with sources throughout the article. There’s no denying it. I’m a daily reader. Keep up the great work.
    Kyle

  6. I hate the fact that they always have to put “further research from larger studies is needed to verify this link“ what the fuc*.else do they need to research!!¡¡ I mean haven’t this shit been research for the past 70 so years an trought out acient history! An so many ppl that have smoking for years an yet still in good conditions. Way would take to make this fool understand them self…. Have they been listening to them self? (added by Mobile using Mippin)

  7. YEAH, I JUST HAVE ONE QUESTION. Why isn’t the President and Congress not rescheduling Marijuana as a Schedule 4? Hell, oxycodone is a schedule 2 and I take that along with the sweats, drunk feeling, and constipation that comes with the Percocets. NORML and MPP, this is a challenge to you. I will email my President and Congressmen and ask them that but couldnt you get all the tests together that have been done to prove that Marijuana is in fact a medicine and hand it to the President and ask him why WE THE PEOPLE THAT VOTED HIM IN CANT GET A LITTLE BIT OF HONESTY AND GET A PLANT LEGAL THAT HELPS PEOPLE INSTEAD OF KILLS PEOPLE. I just dont understand how our government, ney our UN, can still sit there and say that Marijuana is a Schedule 1 cause no medical benefits when in fact if pot helped ONE person medically, then that would mean it does in fact have medical value. Ya know I want it legalized as well as the next person, but I think that we need to get Obama to reschedule it first. If he refuses, impeachment!!

  8. to #1,jed the head,hey, i smell your cookin! im in about the same boat dude. as, probably millions of us are ,waiting for big government to get big pharm out of their beds.im actually nervous now because my company of thirty years started drug testing. im hoping they will see their is benefit where health is concerned. employer sighting health concerns through ins company…..bad deal. im a firm believer that cannabis is a health benefit. pack one for me folks!

  9. As James said earlier, and is absolutely right, to find these stories on the mainstream sites, you still have to search for them, as they are not found on the front pages. Especially now that Sen. Kennedy has died, may he be at peace, this news will be buried. If you just search on ‘cannabis’ or ‘marijuana’, you’ll actually find a surprising number of stories upon which to drop comment swarms…(wink wink, hint, hint) ;p

  10. Another great article that speaks the truth. However, the question still remains…Is anyone in a position of power listening?

  11. I’m tired of either side wielding studies that “suggest” anything, especially when they are mixed with words like “may” or “can” as in heavy marijuana use “may” cause damage.
    Instead of countering suggestive studies with other suggestive studies, how about strongly and publicly pointing out the word “suggests” in opponents’ ‘evidence’ and how such a word logically means nothing when put in the context of unalienable rights.
    I’ve gotten 100% (no exaggeration) silence when I point out to prohibitionists (many who are so-called conservatives) that the U.S. Supreme Court concludes (not suggests) that the Commerce Clause is the constitutional basis for drug prohibition (see decision of Gonzales v. Raich), an outrageously irrational interpretation exemplifying the defeat of the “supreme law of the land” by the whims of powerful people.
    Drug prohibition will promptly end when we focus on putting those powerful people in the national spotlight to constantly remind America that the Commerce Clause authorizes drug prohibition, again an outrageous interpretation that should be an unimaginable embarassment to those who support it.

  12. I’d like to add to the testimonials of older cannabis users. I’m 61 and have been smoking pot more or less regularly since college days. It’s my observation that this herb is even more helpful as we age. As many regular users can attest, it’s not about getting high so much as it’s simply feeling fine. When I have a few tokes after a period of no pot, the first sensation is, “Ahh, I feel right. I feel in balance and at ease.” It gives me renewed enthusiasm for dealing with whatever the day brings.
    The biggest problem with cannabis, especially for older folks, is affordability and availability. I don’t have the connections I once had, and the cost is outrageous…especially considering that I could easily grow all I need in a legal world and it would be virtually free. Even home-growing might not be necessary after legalization since prices should eventually plummet as the product becomes abundant.
    I have been looking forward to that happy day for over 40 years. For me, legalization is the sign that we have evolved in consciousness as a species.

  13. Until we can expose the graft and corruption in our government,we will always be short on the money for out paying some of the richest corporations in our country,and anyone that can’t see the damage that will be done to the pharmaceutical companies has blinders on.
    The pharmaceutical companies want to treat cancer,not cure it,and especially with something we can grow in our yards. And the losses incurred from the different pills
    that will be obsolete is staggering,because of all the medical conditions marijuana treats.
    I believe the reason our society has so many cancer problems is because our government outlawed an essential plant,that had we continued using leagaly,
    would have reduced the numbers of cancer patients drastically.

  14. So what you’re saying, NORML, is that we should be inundating the inboxes at Reuters with messages that state the facts backed by numerous studies? And that we should also be messaging our government representatives with the same facts while asking how they justify spending billions trying to eradicate a plant that causes far less harm and has MANY more benefits than most pharmaceuticals? And we should also ask our representatives, when presented with scientific FACT, how they justify denying the sick and dieing the respite from their illnesses that can be gained from a simple plant that would make their lives much more bearable? And we should ask our representatives when presented with the facts how they can allow the DEA to deny the scientific and medical community the ability to study a plant that, based on the evidence of smoked cannabis on cancer rate, could lead to breakthroughs of unprecedented importance in the treatment of cancer and other disease and disorders?
    No problem.
    What absolutely disgusts me, is that for every argument the prohibitionists use there is a scientific study, a government funded survey, or anecdotal evidence from other countries to disprove it and the evidence often falls on deaf ears. I guess that’s what happens when you’re fighting against 70+ years of government propaganda and corporate lies and misinformation.
    Sorry for the rant. Keep doing what you do NORML and I’ll keep doing what I can to help.

  15. In an effort to become more proactive, we can all add this signature to our emails:
    The Netherlands – 1976
    Portugal -2001
    Mexico – 2009
    Argentina – 2009
    USA – ??????

  16. Im wondering how 2030 or 2050 is a good thing? In know its the time it will take for the Dumb asses to get there crap together. But Ill be dead and gone by 2050, I cant wait another day, so everybody better get off their hind ends and get active and change this crap now!
    I too have smoked for quite some time and have to say withmy medical issues i wouldnt be here today if it wasnt for marijuana. So keep fighting the time is now, the air is ripe for change and we are becoming majority.

  17. Thanks for the expose on how MSM slants are being made part of the story. What kind of journalism school do these kinds of reporters go to?
    “You too can make $100K a year in the booming field of BS and Propaganda thanks to our off-shore college diploma mills!”
    Now if NORML could get a condensed version of this article to appear in the editorial sections of papers, that would be a public service to those who still read such things but who need brushing up on their critical reading skills.

  18. Smoking since 1971 have not been to a doctor since 1972. Our lawmakers want to put me in jail at 60. For making a personal choice based on 40 years of positive use????? I think we should put them in jail for not recognizing our rights. And taking millions in PAC money from corporations that profit from our destruction!!!
    CFHJ

  19. Scott Says: August 26th, 2009 at 6:24 am
    “that the U.S. Supreme Court concludes (not suggests) that the Commerce Clause is the constitutional basis for drug prohibition (see decision of Gonzales v. Raich),”
    Law is the way to go. If we can string the “Lairs” up in their own bull-shit while playing by their rules…then we’ll have a chance at really changing the world.

  20. I was always led to believe that smoking pot was even worse for you than smoking tobacco. I have never smoked anything and I have met many people in waiting rooms who have never smoked anything but we still got oral cancer. Now it looks like we may have gotten it from NOT smoking.

  21. FYI: Not only will cannabis reduce your risk of head,and neck squamous cell carcinoma, but with the topical application of cannabis oil, you can cure basal cell carcinoma. I know, I have done it.

  22. Too Bad Ted Kennedy didn’t see the light. He might still be with us if he did. I’m sure cannabis could have helped him live longer if nothing else.

  23. #21 claygooding Says:
    August 26th, 2009 at 10:45 am

    “…I believe the reason our society
    has so many cancer problems
    is because our government outlawed
    an essential plant,

    that had we continued using leagaly,
    would have reduced the numbers of cancer
    patients drastically.”
    RE: claygooding,
    I know this all too well…
    …and cannabis isn’t the only outlawed
    essential-plant,
    (also having cancer-PREVENTATIVE properties),
    just the most well-known.

    (…and also outlawed under the
    supposed-pretext of being “hallucinogenic”,
    whatever that REALLY means…) 🙄
    See…
    Louisiana State Act 159
    Catharanthus roseus (vinca)
    Commercialization of tradtional medicines
    (Biopiracy)

  24. Keeping in mind that our government has known or had reason to test marijuana as a cancer preventative since 1985,but since marijuana is so dangerous a drug,that they have judged that people should die because of cancer,rather than reschedule marijuana so the studies could be done to establish its attributes. The pharmaceutical companies want to synthesize the exact drugs and compounds from marijuana that will prevent cancer or treat it,so that they can patent it and produce a pill, for
    the money.
    One of the problems they are having is that the drugs and compounds in marijuana
    all interact and counteract with each other in ways they cannot copy or synthesize.
    Their attempt at copying marijuana for nausea,Marinol,is a perfect example of what happens when you don’t have all the necessary componds and drugs,and only try to use one compound from the plant. Marinol has killed four people. With a very limited
    user base. Marijuana has never killed anyone,with a user base in the billions.

  25. I’m female,51–turning 52 next month.Yesterday I was signing up for a town activity(AT the senior center) and the woman tried to charge me full price—had to point out that I qualify for the “over 50” price.People were shocked I was “so old”. No surgery or any of that,just a daily weed smoker for most of my adult years.
    Sorry to hear about Ted Kennedy;but does it not seem like the “elders” are almost gone? I live in one of the 2 states in the union that doesn’t have a budget,talk is “cut vision and dental from Medicaid”.LEGALIZE MY SMOKE PLEASE!!!!Tax me….

  26. I’ve enjoyed the comments here more than the article itself. Look all these people, many admitting to smoking for 30+ years. Nearly all of us are intelligent, well-spoken folks who just want – nay, DESERVE – the basic human freedom to choose what we do and don’t put into OUR OWN bodies. We do OWN our bodies, do we not? Or does the State?
    As long as one is not hurting someone else, there is no harm – and there should be no law. Isn’t it time We the People remind the government who’s actually boss here? THEY work for US, not the reverse. But “public servant” means little to nothing today.
    Producing hemp alone would do HUGE things for the economy, and it has so many uses that have been suppressed for far too long..

  27. I cannot believe marijuana in any way causes heart-attacks. My father-in-law had a heart-attack about 20 years ago, while smoking marijuana in the bath. He was told by his doctor that the reason he was still alive was that he was smoking. If not for marijuana, he might not be with us today.

  28. HOW TO HAVE ALL MEN AGAINST YOU:
    If anyone dared to say “WHO EVER IS NOT WITH ME, IS AGAINST ME,” he would immediately have all men against him. This does our time honor. Nietzsche
    Perhaps the greatest factor we as hard working American anti-prohibs are faced with in our trek to defeat prohibitionists in a free society is the raging war between secular humanists and radical religious fundamentalism. However, if we are neither, we should understand that we are caught in the cross fire of this “EMOTIONAL BLOOD BATH.”
    We cannot simply “REJECT” the moral majority or secular humanism. They both have valid points. Neither is it appropriate to say that Individualism is a perfect idiology. We are all human, and “WHEN YOU DEAL WITH HUMAN BEINGS, YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH HUMAN BEING PROBLEMS.” As human beings, we all know that bad points are an element of human nature. “LET HE WHO IS FREE OF SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE.” As humans, we are bound to the reality that we learn from our mitakes…”BEEN THERE…DONE THAT.” So!…whether we like it or not, we must deal with each other’s mistakes. It’s a learning process, unavoidably so.
    But, when it comes to belief systems, it is our duty, as human beings to respect the other’s right to rligious beliefs, not attck them, lest ye be attacked. In plain and simple terms, more easily understood, “YOU DO YOUR THING…AND…I’LL DO MINE. i WON’T FUCK WITH YOU…AND…YOU DON’T FUCK WITH ME.” In shorter terms, “I’LL BE ME…AND…YOU BE YOU…AND…NEITHER OF US NEED BE IN DENIAL.” To an Individualist, that’s an exemplary concept. Unfortunately, because the radical religious fundamentalist and the secular humanist are at such ends to eliminate each other, the Individualist must either stand against both, or get trampled on the field of battle. So!…to both secular humanists and radical religious fundamentalists alike, as fellow Americans, Individualists say this: “WHAT GOD HATH GIVEN…LET NO MAN PUT US UNDER.” Genesis I:11,12 Genesis I:29,30,31 Genesis IX:3. Cannabis belongs to man, GOD’S CREATION, as a “GIFT FROM GOD.” Your laws prohibiting its use are unjust and voidable. Your laws prohibiting cannabis were created out of greed, a deadly sin that will,in the end, bite you dead in the ass, as it doing right now. All good things must come to an end…and…the prohibitonist’s end is now.
    Tyrrany over the minds of American men and women must come to an end. I shall enumerate the reason(s) why, and without discussion, lay it out for your acceptance or rejection. Individualists take the posititon that,
    safeguarded by the Constitution, the Individualist can “BELIVE IN” anything, or anyone they want to, without undue influence or obstruction…and…it’s none of the other’s business what or who they “BELIVE IN.” “DON’T TREAD ON ME.” Is it not an old adage to never argue about politics and religion? Neither secular humanists or radical religious fundamentalists cast your shadow over the Individualist, especially when your moral values become the law(s) we must abide by. “NO CAN DO.” In the most plain and simple, unambiguous terms we can express…”WE REJECT YOUR ABOMINABLE PROHIBITION.” To the secular humanist, and the radical religious fundamentalist…neither of you will subdue and dominate the sufferage of the world…at least my world. I am a free man…and…I intend to stay a free man…at all costs. So!…if that interfers with a tyrants motives…”TOO FUCKIN’ BAD.”

  29. I think one of the important things to note about this is that the study states that SMOKING marijuana has preventative medicinal benifits. I seem to remember that our drug czar recently stated that marijuana has no medicinal benefit. When called to the carpet on this statement, he corrected himself by saying that there is no proof that “smoked” marijuana has medicinal benefit. Maybe he’d like to re – correct himself, or something like that…

  30. Those with skills on the internet might look for and post some of the Israeli studies.They have been investigating MJ for years and their research may go beyond the “suggests” stage.

  31. to number 15…. ive found it takes round 3 months to get it out of ur system but if u start religiously drinking CRANBERRY juice prolly somethin like wen ya hve a snack and with lunch and drink lots of it i had it out of my system in less than a month

  32. I had the unique oppertunity to speak with 2 DEA (Drug enforcement Agents) from Fort Lauderdale, and Miami at my job. I was taking care of there loved one and I had to ask them this question. Why is it that Cannabis,a herb that has been around for centuries classified with the addictives as Heroin, and other highly toxic drugs ? “Well, we bascially receive our direction from the FDA. They the FDA would rather have doctors despense Marinol and maintain control over the use of cannabis that way, we (DEA) on the other hand would rather concentrate our resorces on the harmful drugs such as Heroin”. I explained to them that this sounds to me like monetary montovation by the drug companies to maintain a control over the Cannabis industry for there own self interests. They laughed and walked away. Shame on the mess, Support NORML and stop this nonsense now!

  33. Hey been smokin for almost a year now…. Im dyslexic but only with math and numbers and shit like that.. I overcame the literary part in 7th grade entirely but wen i started smoking weed after 4 months my memory got sketchy but then i got started on an interesting vitamin regimen which improves energy and memory made a huge difference and works in conjunction with pot.. I also had the oppurtunity to try medical marijuana and i highly recommend it over regular bud… Preferable from a bong or bowl but vaporizer also works incredibly also mixing bowl packs with 2/3 medical and 1/3 regular but has astounding results not just in the high but my long capacity improved and helped with my asthma (stamina related dont normally use inhaler).

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