Marijuana May Reduce Risk of Certain Cancers, Study Says

A new study finds that long-term marijuana users have a lower risk of certain head and neck cancers, Reuters reported Aug. 25.

Researchers from Brown University studied patients with head and neck squamous-cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and a control group and found that subjects who had smoked marijuana for 10 to 20 years had a 62-percent reduced risk of getting HNSCC. Those who smoked marijuana 0.5 to 1.5 times per week had a 48-percent reduction in risk.

The study authors, led by Karl T. Kelsey, said that the findings may be linked to the known antitumor action of cannabinoids. However, they cautioned that larger studies are needed to confirm the findings and that the risks of marijuana use may outweigh any health benefits.

The study was published in the August 2009 issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

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