A prominent UCLA professor is speaking up about the safety of marijuana and what he has to say may be surprising to many naysayers of marijuana legalization – particularly the anti-medicinal marijuana crowd. Dr. Donald Tashkin, professor emeritus of medicine at UCLA, has been studying marijuana, its effects and its safety for over 30 years.
Through his studies, Dr. Tashkin found that while “the smoke content of marijuana is very similar to that of tobacco…the association would be negative, between lung cancer and the use of marijuana. The likelihood is that despite that marijuana smoke contains carcinogens, we don’t see the same heightened risks of cancer that we see in tobacco.”
Dr. Tashkin goes on to say that smoking marijuana does not cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as tobacco does. “Reasoning for this may be that marijuana is a potent anti-inflammatory and suppressive. COPD is activated by tobacco smoke and other toxic substances.” COPD is the third leading cause of death in Americans.
These findings came as a surprise. Dr. Tashkin was given a grant by the National Institute of Drug Abuse to document the connection between lung cancer and marijuana smoking. Dr. Tashkin and his research team evaluated 2,200 subjects, making it the largest control study of its kind. When the study was over, Dr. Tashkin and his team found that there was no link whatsoever between marijuana and lung cancer. In fact, in all but one of the control groups, a smoker of marijuana was no more likely to develop lung cancer than a non smoker – except for one group. That group was subjects who only smoked marijuana. Shockingly, they had a lower incidence of developing lung cancer than any every other group, including those who did not smoke anything at all. This breakthrough proves that not only is marijuana safer then tobacco, but marijuana’s unique properties are actually able to suppress most carcinogenic agents in the body.
As medicinal marijuana use continues to spread throughout the United States, more funding for research on it’s effects will be done, and we will continue to see the helpful attributes of the plant. The medical community may continue to surprise the naysayers – and the general public – with their findings.
For more information on Dr. Tashkin’s groundbreaking marijuana and tobacco study, check out the following video: