Smoking cannabis can help slow at least one type of cancer

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While not an all-encompassing cancer killer, marijuana can deliver relief for the disease

Consistent cannabis users would be 55% less likely to develop one of the most common types of cancer in the world, known as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The information was confirmed by a study published this year in the medical journal Cureus.

HCC is the most common type of primary liver cancer. It most commonly develops in people with chronic liver disease, such as cirrhosis caused by hepatitis B or C. Its mortality rate has made it the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the world.

The research published a few months ago analyzed the data of millions of people in the National Patient Sample (NIS) database. Through it, the authors noted that marijuana smokers have a much lower chance of developing this disease.

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic and Georgetown University Hospital joined forces to conduct this research process. In the document, they noted that the link between HCC and cannabis had already been observed in animals. However, to their knowledge, it had not yet been confirmed in humans.

The research was given the task of analyzing data from the NIS database between 2002 and 2014 and included a total of 101.23 million patients. More than 996,000 of them were medical cannabis patients.

“We noticed that patients with cannabis abuse were younger (34 vs 48 years), had more males (61.7% vs 41.4%) and more African Americans (29.9% vs 14.2%) compared with the control group (P<0.001 for all). Besides, patients with cannabis use had more hepatitis B, hepatitis C, liver cirrhosis, and smoking, but had less obesity and gallstones,” the study authors said.

Furthermore, the study revealed that “patients with cannabis abuse were 55% less likely to have HCC compared to patients without cannabis abuse.” Even though the results appear to be encouraging, it was stressed that this only confirms a correlation and that they could not definitively confirm direct causality.