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Marijuana Use Linked To Decreased Prostate Cancer Risk, But …

A study involving thousands of U.S. seniors observed those who were current or former marijuana users had a lower rate of self-reports of having prostate cancer. However, there are a number of acknowledged limitations in the study.

Prostate cancer (PC) is the second most commonly occurring cancer in men and the fourth most common cancer overall according to World Cancer Research Fund International. While survival rates are high, treatment can be gruelling and expensive; so an ounce of prevention is certainly worth a pound of cure. Avoiding obesity is among risk-reduction measures.

But it seems cannabis use might also provide some protection – although there are plenty of ifs, buts and maybes.

Researchers from H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute and University of Connecticut School of Medicine undertook a cross-sectional study using National Survey on Drug Use and Health data from 2002 to 2020. The study, which to the researchers’ knowledge was the first of its kind, involved 2503 male participants aged fifty years or older in the USA.

The study found prostate cancer prevalence was lower among current marijuana users (31.7%) and former users (31.6%) compared to non-users (39.9%).  Prevalence was significantly lower among users versus non-users in the ≥65 age group and non-Hispanic white subgroups. But there were no significant PC prevalence differences between users and non-users in the younger population in the 50–64 age range, or other race/ethnicity. However, the respondents were largely non-Hispanic white participants, with few from other ethnicities.

Among several other limitations, the researchers point out general prevalence in the study was significantly higher than that of the general male elderly population, potentially implying selection bias of the study group.

All the limitations taken into account, the researchers state:

“Our findings can serve as hypothesis-generating for future prospective studies to further evaluate the role of cannabinoids (using medical marijuana) in PC prevention.”

The study was published in the journal Biomedicine last month.

Studies such as these shouldn’t form a recommendation for a particular course of action, but it is interesting watching research pick up pace as the world slowly shakes off the stigma of cannabis use for medicinal purposes.

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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