Marijuana continues to make its case as being more than just something to do while listening to Pink Floyd records. The latest: it may prevent the development of bladder cancer.
A comprehensive study conducted by Kaiser Permanente looked at data of more than 83,000 men ages 45–69 who either smoked marijuana, tobacco or both over an 11-year period and the risk of developing bladder cancer. "Cannabis use only was associated with a 45 percent reduction in bladder cancer incidence, and tobacco use only was associated with a 52 percent increase in bladder cancer," study author Dr. Anil A. Thomas, a fellow in urology at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Los Angeles (USA Today).
While the study doesn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship—and no nonsmokers were included—the researchers do theorize that the bladder may in fact have receptors that can be affected by exposure to chemicals in cannabis.
It's just the latest in the cannabis-cancer connection, reports the Huffington Post: "Kaiser Permanente's research comes on the heels of a September finding by a pair of scientists at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco that a compound derived from marijuana could stop metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer, including cancer in the breast, brain and prostate.
Stigmas (and laws—it's classified as a dangerous Schedule 1 drug) still exist about marijuana's benefits in treating and preventing a number of illnesses and diseases. But as more research proves medical marijuana use has benefits, advocates are hopeful that it can shed its drug culture association and be regarded among one of the planet's most potent healers.
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Image: miss libertine