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Marijuana and Cancer: A World of Controversy

            If you spend any amount of time on Twitter, Facebook, or just researching cancer treatments on the internet, you will find something about marijuana and cancer. Marijuana is a forbidden controlled substance in most states. The American Lung Association (ALA), the American Cancer Society (ACS), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have different views on marijuana use for the treatment of cancer. In discussions of marijuana use, one controversial issue has been whether it is harmful or helpful in cancer treatments. On the one hand, the American Lung Association argues that smoking marijuana causes cancer. On the other hand, the American Cancer Society contends smoking marijuana cures cancer. The National Cancer Institute maintains that there is not enough evidence to prove that marijuana use is harmful or helpful in the treatment of cancer. .
             The American Lung Association is concerned about the health impacts of marijuana use in the treatment of cancer. "Marijuana is most commonly smoked, and our research has shown that smoke causes cancer" (ALA). Toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials, and smoke from marijuana combustion has been shown to contain many of the same toxins and carcinogens as tobacco smoke. "Marijuana smokers tend to inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than cigarette smokers, which leads to greater exposure per breath to tar" (ALA). The American Lung Association also believes that there are other health concerns outside the lungs attributed to marijuana use. "Research shows that using marijuana for the treatment of cancer injured the cell linings of the large airways" (ALA). These injuries lead to a chronic cough, phlegm production, and acute bronchitis. In addition to lung and respiratory system injuries, marijuana use affects the body's ability to fight the disease. According to the American Lung Association, smoking marijuana clearly damages the human lungs and other vital organs, creating a higher risk of developing cancer.

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