Is There a Link Between Weed and Cancer?

Is There a Link Between Weed and Cancer?

The link between marijuana and cancer is basically a causal relationship in that there is a cause and effect. One action (smoking marijuana) may cause another (cancer). Looking at the causality between marijuana and cancer can help provide space to examine the relationship between the two in deciphering whether a link exists.


Marijuana smoke and tobacco smoke are similar in composition chemically as well as toxicological properties. Nearly 33 components both present in marijuana smoke and tobacco smoke are listed as known carcinogens. It may be surprising the number of carcinogens in marijuana smoke, nearly 50-70% more than in tobacco smoke.

Linking Marijuana Smoke with Types of Cancer

Among 19 categories of cancer reviewed, nearly five came up with associations to cancer causing agents in marijuana smoke. Head and neck cancer are the most prominent where evidence suggests lung, bladder and also brain cancer can be linked to marijuana.

Indirect Smoke and Cancer Links

Some causality exists between smoking marijuana and children who develop cancer. Childhood cancers associated with maternal marijuana smoking include:

Acute myeloid leukemia



Infant leukemia

More research is needed in this area to develop causality between potential linkages of marijuana smoke and types of cancer. More research can help highlight what the points of causality are and just how prevalent the issue has become.

THC and Cancer Treatment

Marijuana is thought to have negative ramifications for people who smoke or experience second hand smoke but THC may also be used to some benefit. Some people think THC can help people with cancer. The basic science of cancer treatment and marijuana demonstrates that THC can help first care for symptoms of nausea, vomiting and pain due to cancer. It may also stimulate appetite in cancer treatments. THC may actually slow the growth of some tumors by inhibiting the genes which make a certain protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This anticancer alternative is being explored further as individuals seek other forms of treatment to chemotherapy or in addition to existing treatment modalities.

Blueprints provides support for individuals struggling with addiction to marijuana or other substances. Contact us to find out what our programs provide for support in helping you or your loved one kick the habit for good.


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