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The facts about marijuana and cancer

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Updated: May 14, 2012 8:02AM



Dr. Wallace: I’m a regular pot user, and I really enjoy getting high. You’re always telling us that smoking pot can cause the same cancerous effects as smoking tobacco, but I don’t remember you providing any scientific data to back up your statements. So please give us the real facts.

Dave, Santa Fe, N.M.

Dave: According to the Academy of General Dentistry, smoking marijuana may lead to cancer of the tongue and other areas of the mouth and neck, including the larynx and the esophagus.

Researchers at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney have studied patients who smoked marijuana and developed tongue cancer.

Because none of these patients smoked or chewed tobacco or drank alcohol — which could have led to similar consequences — researchers believe that smoking marijuana could have been the sole cause of the disease.

Because of this study, marijuana appears to be linked to cancer of the upper airway and digestive tract.

A previous study was conducted with 200 smokers of hashish, the resin from the cannabis plant. The results showed that 87.5 percent had upper airway complaints.

Dr. Eric Shapira states that a joint not only may deposit its poison faster but also dumps four times more tar in the mouth and upper airway than a cigarette.

Marijuana also contains about 50 percent more cancer-causing organic compounds than tobacco.

I am not trying to scare you. I just want you to know the facts.

Write to Dr. Wallace
at rwallace@galesburg.net



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