BBC: Cannabis cancer risk played down

Discussion in 'Cannabis & Health' started by Prince_Charles, Oct 18, 2005.

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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4350642.stm



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    Cannabis cancer risk played down
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    anewsimg.bbc.co.uk_media_images_40937000_jpg__40937669_cannabis_bundle203.jpg
    <div ="cap">THC is one of 60 cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant</div>
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    Cannabis smoke is less likely to cause cancer than tobacco smoke, a leading US expert says.
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    Dr Robert Melamede, of the University of Colorado, said
    that, while chemically the two were similar, tobacco was more
    carcinogenic.
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    He said the difference was mainly due to nicotine in
    tobacco, whereas cannabis may inhibit cancer because of the presence of
    the chemical THC.
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    But health campaigners warned against complacency.

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    Cannabis remains the most commonly-used drug in the UK
    with one in 10 people using it in the last year, according to the
    British Crime Survey.
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    Smoke
    from tobacco and cannabis contains many of the same carcinogens, and
    cell damage linked to lung cancer has been found in the lungs of
    chronic cannabis smokers

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    <div ="mva">
    <div>Jean King, of Cancer Research UK</div>


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    The Class C drug, which was downgraded in 2004, has already been linked to mental health problems and breathing difficulties.
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    But scientists are also exploring whether it can be used
    to treat a range of conditions, including multiple sclerosis and
    Alzheimer's disease.
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    Dr Melamede said whereas nicotine activated carcinogenic
    compounds, THC - one of 60 cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant
    - had been shown to inhibit them in mice cells.
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    "Compounds found in cannabis have been shown to kill
    numerous cancer types including lung, breast, prostate, leukaemia,
    lymphoma and skin cancer."
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    But he said the effects of cannabis were complex as
    evidence also suggested low doses of THC could stimulate growth of lung
    cancer cells.
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    Smoking
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    And he added the two could interact as cannabis was often smoked with tobacco.
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    "It is possible that as the cannabis-consuming
    population ages, the long-term consequences of smoking cannabis may
    become more similar to what is observed with tobacco.
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    "However, current knowledge does not suggest that
    cannabis smoke will have a carcinogenic potential comparable to that
    resulting from exposure to tobacco smoke."
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    Jean King, director of tobacco control at Cancer
    Research UK, said many of the studies that had looked at the link
    between cancer and cannabis had used purified cannabinoids. </font>



    "Results from such studies may not represent the overall effects of cannabis smoke, which contains more than 400 chemicals.
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    "Smoke from tobacco and cannabis contains many of the
    same carcinogens, and cell damage linked to lung cancer has been found
    in the lungs of chronic cannabis smokers."
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    And she added there should be no complacency as cannabis
    was often smoked with tobacco, which is responsible for a quarter of
    all cancer deaths in the UK.

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