Heavy weed smoking may promote testicular cancer
Heavy use of the cannabis sativa may contribute to the development of testicular cancer, a recent study suggests.
The study included 49,343 young men aged 18 to 21 years who underwent conscription assessment for Swedish military service from 1969 to 1970. They completed a nonanonymous questionnaire to provide information regarding drug use. Testicular cancer diagnoses between 1970 and 2011 were identified via the Swedish National Patient Register, the Cancer Register or the Cause of Death Register.
A total of 135 testicular cancer cases were reported during the follow-up, with more than 50 percent occurring between 25 and 40 years of age.
Cox regression models found no evidence of a significant association between lifetime “ever” cannabis use and the subsequent development of testicular cancer (n=45,250; 119 testicular cancer cases; adjusted HR [aHR], 1.42; 95 percent CI, 0.83 to 2.45). Lifetime “ever” use was defined as having used cannabis, regardless of the frequency.
However, when the frequency of usage was analysed, heavy cannabis use (defined as use of >50 times in lifetime) increased the risk of incident testicular cancer by more than twofold (n= 45,250; 119 testicular cancer cases; aHR 2.57; 1.02 to 6.50).
Tobacco use and alcohol consumption were not related to testicular cancer risk.
While unknown, the mechanism by which cannabis promotes the development of testicular cancer may pertain to the active compounds in phytocannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. These compounds have been reported to bind to cannabinoid receptors in many human organs, including the testes.
In light of the present data and available evidence, researchers pointed out that “emerging changes to cannabis drug policy should consider the potential role of cannabis use in the development of testicular cancer.”