Marijuana Use Associated With a “Significantly Reduced Risk” of Head and Neck Cancers — Will The Mainstream Media Care?

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 30, 2009

    For some 35 years the United States federal government has been well aware that cannabis possesses potent anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. And for the past three years, government-funded researchers have speculated that these qualities may offer “protective” effects against the onset of various types of cancer in humans, including lung cancer.

    Yet to date, virtually no investigators have taken the time to assess marijuana’s potential anti-cancer effects in humans — until now.

    In a clinical abstract just published online on the Cancer Prevention Research website, a team of U.S. investigators report that marijuana use, even long-term, is associated with a “significantly reduced risk” of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

    A Population-Based Case-Control Study of Marijuana Use and Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma
    via nih.gov

    Cannabinoids, constituents of marijuana smoke, have been recognized to have potential anti-tumor properties. However, the epidemiologic evidence addressing the relationship between marijuana use and the induction of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is inconsistent and conflicting. Cases (n = 434) were patients with incident HNSCC disease from nine medical facilities in the Greater Boston, MA area between December 1999 and December 2003. Controls (n = 547) were frequency matched to cases on age (+/-3 years), gender, and town of residence, randomly selected from Massachusetts town books.

    … After adjusting for potential confounders (including smoking and alcohol drinking), 10 to 20 years of marijuana use was associated with a significantly reduced risk of HNSCC [odds ratio (OR)(10-<20 years versus never users), 0.38; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.22-0.67]. Among marijuana users moderate weekly use was associated with reduced risk (OR(0.5-<1.5 times versus <0.5 time), 0.52; 95% CI, 0.32-0.85). The magnitude of reduced risk was more pronounced for those who started use at an older age (OR(15-<20 years versus never users), 0.53; 95% CI, 0.30-0.95; OR(>/=20 years versus never users), 0.39; 95% CI, 0.17-0.90; P(trend) < 0.001).

    Our study suggests that moderate marijuana use is associated with reduced risk of HNSCC.

    I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. What possible advancements in the treatment of cancer could have been achieved over the past 35 years had U.S. government officials, or for that matter members of the mainstream media, chosen to advance — rather than to suppress — clinical research into the anti-cancer effects of cannabis? It’s a shame we have to speculate; it’s even more tragic that tens of thousands of families must needlessly suffer while we do.

    78 responses to “Marijuana Use Associated With a “Significantly Reduced Risk” of Head and Neck Cancers — Will The Mainstream Media Care?”

    1. Bynx says:

      Amazing, something to smoke that could actually PREVENT lung cancer!! To bad our government thinks that tobacco is “safer” than marijuana.

      Keep it up NORML, I check your site daily with the anticipation that the headline will say, “MARIJUANA NOW LEGAL”

      DO A BARREL ROLL!!!!

    2. The Oracle says:

      The common people, and I include myself in that category, exist solely to serve the rich and powerful. We are to be exploited, and as far as they are concerned are expendable. In fact, we breed like rats, and we need to be exploited in a way that enriches the power elite and kills us off. Many of America’s power elite act according to these tenets espoused by Thomas Robert Malthus, which you can read about under “Proposed solutions” at this link.


      Pigs at the Trough, a book written by Arianna Huffington, amply illustrates this attitude among U.S. corporate and political elite, and it basically explains how we have veered off course of things espoused by Ayn Rand in the business world and quietly embraced corporate welfare, with companies failing and stock values in decline despite short-term rallies while CEOs and their cronies are legally allowed to enrich themselves by feeding the government and media watchdogs snacks and perks out of sight under the table–under the radar.

      Love her or loathe her, it’s a great book. Here’s the link to its site.


      Arianna has addressed ending the war on drugs and racial profiling on Joe Scarborough’s show, as well as on Dylan Ratigan’s show and elsewhere. The Huffington Post has been very favorable to cannabis legalization.

      Having prefaced my conclusion to the question in the article’s title “Will the Mainstream Media Care?” with that, my answer must, unfortunately be no. The media are lapdogs of the power elite, figuratively fed under the table.

      In the eyes of the elite, marijuana is the perfect gateway drug because it is so comparatively harmless, and can be used to lull people into thinking that because the government is lying about cannabis that it is also lying about heroin and crack. They covertly fund infesting undesirable areas with hard drugs, as poor people in ghettos lack the network and financial means, and destroy lives and reduce the excess population of human rats, all the while filling their pockets.

    3. Mark, Glenolden, PA says:

      This is great news. As a 37 year toker, I am (always have been) convinced that I will never get cancer. So, to all my friends and family who believe I am wrong for using God’s plant all of my life in spite of the BIG LIE that has been perpetrated by BIG PHARMA and her watchdog the DEA, while you all rideculed and treated me as an outcast, when I die of something else, remember this fact: Cannabis saved me from cancer and perhaps the guilt manifested will turn you into belated activists for legalization too.

    4. Jerry D. Moler says:

      The question “what possible advancements in the treatment of cancer could have been achieved” is a very troubling thing. Due to the prohibition of cannabis we as a society have lost in so many ways it is hard to count. Advancement in medical uses, fiber production for clothing and paper, energy in the form of hemp oil, food production and on and on. Those of us that have defied this terrible policy have been able to reap some of the benefits of this plant, but we all have been cheated by our government of many others. Make a donation today to NORML and help change this law.

    5. steveyboy says:

      If you take a ciggarete and place its contents on a piece of white paper and inspect what you acually smoke with a magnifier you would be shocked to see little colored specs (the drugs that keep ya addicted ,and re-constituted tobacco (sticks, stems, bugs ,dirt , rocks, floor sweepings ,whatever they can pack in for your smoking pleasure ) ! And they keep this shit legal ? No wonder ppl get cancer ! Wake up America cannabis taken in moderation has’nt harmed me in any way shape or form in my 40 yrs of using this GOD given herb ! You prohabitionists may change you attitude when you start to realize Obammy care and get denied pain meds !

    6. Rob says:

      In response to Bynx,

      Each time i log onto this site i say to myself, “Hey maybe pot’s legal today.” haha. we can only hope my friend. =] The day is coming.

    7. Anon says:

      @The Oracle

      Oh, come on. I love to smoke ganj, I use it medicinally, blah blah blah, but that doesn’t make this necessarily part of a bigger struggle. Rather, it is one of many loosely associated injustices, all of which we must fight to overcome a government that *American citizens* have empowered to bully us.

      I don’t deny for an instant that there are schemers throughout the elite who would love to keep their positions indefinately. Luckily, we live in a capitalist system that permits anybody to attain this status should they desire. This is not to say that equal opportunity is available to all economically, but the fact remains that there are countless cases of poor folks hitting it big. To demonize an anonymous, almost phantasmal “elite” in your diatribe is flat-footed and simply unconvincing.

      I’m happy we’re on the same side of this particular debate, but going off on odd class-motivated tangents can only distract us from our common goal.

    8. […] posted here:  Marijuana Use Associated With a “Significantly Reduced Risk” of Head and Neck Cancers — Will T… Share and […]

    9. Nick says:

      Nice, another Great Study =) we rly need to show this off to the media or something, one of the medias will prolly bring it up =)

    10. The goal of the power elite is to reduce the population of planet earth by 90%. They aim to kill off the “sheeple” and keep their own clans intact. The elite are the international bankers, financiers, political families and owners of the controlled media. We The People need to stand up to this tyranny or else be trampled on by the “powers that be”. Why is it that Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama could smoke weed and become President and Commander in Chief of the most powerful military in the world, but if you or I smoke it, we go to jail?
      These tyrants operate under a very different set of laws than do we.
      It’s time for the people of the world to wake up!