Does Marijuana Cause Lung Cancer?

Does Marijuana Cause Lung Cancer?

It is not known whether or not marijuana causes lung cancer. Some studies provide differing conclusions about the relationship between marijuana and cancer. One study indicates long-term use of cannabis increases the risk while others suggest it is not as big an issue as previously thought. Learn about the issues marijuana raises for a person’s health and whether it can possibly cause lung cancer.

Role of Carcinogens

Marijuana is carcinogenic with the potential to cause cancer. Marijuana smoke contains 50-75% more cancer causing compounds than tobacco smoke. Because marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold breath longer than tobacco smokers, the lungs are at an increased risk of exposure to carcinogenic smoke.


Marijuana by itself does not have a direct association with development and outcome of lung cancer. Not enough people who smoke marijuana have developed lung cancer for experts to define the relationship as causal but the drug does affect the immune system which has implications for the impact of cancer but has yet to be proven.

Effect on the Lungs

Smoke from marijuana irritates the lungs. Smoking can increase the risk of respiratory problems. As a person smokes and inhales weed, it goes into the lungs. This is inhaled with other toxins. Frequent use has shown people to have increasing health problems. Repeated exposure to the drug’s smoke can lead to a number of medical conditions including:

Excess phlegm production

Lung infections

More frequent acute chest illnesses

Repetitive, chronic cough

Avoiding Marijuana

Some people are touting the great medical intervention that weed is, as it is good for headaches and other conditions. It may be helpful as prescribed for different medical conditions. However, experts recommend smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes by using synthetic versions of the drug. Synthetic THC compounds taken orally for pain relief, nausea control and appetite stimulation can be helpful along with decreased ocular pressure.

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