Josh wrote:(1998) "3. The most obvious concern when dealing with drug safety is the possibility of lethal effects. Can the drug cause death?
"4. Nearly all medicines have toxic, potentially lethal effects. But marijuana is not such a substance. There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality.
A 1998 quote? So you think that sticking your head into a campfire or car exhaust is healthy? The evidence reveals otherwise..Smoked marijuana as a cause of lung injury.
Division of Pulmonaiy & Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1690, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
In many societies, marijuana is the second most commonly smoked substance after tobacco. While delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is unique to marijuana and nicotine to tobacco, the smoke of marijuana, like that of tobacco, consists of a toxic mixture of gases and particulates, many of which are known to be harmful to the lung. Although far fewer marijuana than tobacco cigarettes are generally smoked on a daily basis, the pulmonary consequences of marijuana smoking may be magnified by the greater deposition of smoke particulates in the lung due to the differing manner in which marijuana is smoked. Whereas THC causes modest short-term bronchodilation, regular marijuana smoking produces a number of long-term pulmonary consequences, including chronic cough and sputum, histopathologic evidence of widespread airway inflammation and injury and immunohistochemical evidence of dysregulated growth of respiratory epithelial cells, that may be precursors to lung cancer. The THC in marijuana could contribute to some of these injurious changes through its ability to augment oxidative stress, cause mitochondrial dysfunction, and inhibit apoptosis. On the other hand, physiologic, clinical or epidemiologic evidence that marijuana smoking may lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or respiratory cancer is limited and inconsistent. Habitual use of marijuana is also associated with abnormalities in the structure and function of alveolar macrophages, including impairment in microbial phagocytosis and killing that is associated with defective production of immunostimulatory cytokines and nitric oxide, thereby potentially predisposing to pulmonary infection. In view of the growing interest in medicinal marijuana, further epidemiologic studies are needed to clarify the true risks of regular marijuana smoking on respiratory health.
"5. This is a remarkable statement. First, the record on marijuana encompasses 5,000 years of human experience. Second, marijuana is now used daily by enormous numbers of people throughout the world. Estimates suggest that from twenty million to fifty million Americans routinely,
albeit illegally, smoke marijuana without the benefit of direct medical supervision. Yet, despite this long history of use and the extraordinarily high numbers of social smokers, there are simply no credible medical reports to suggest that consuming marijuana has caused a single death.
Source: US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, "In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition" (Docket #86-22), September 6, 1988, p. 56-57.http://druglibrary.net/olsen/MEDICAL/YOUNG/young4.html
This 1988 study is old.. Risk of lung cancer and past use of cannabis in Tunisia.
Voirin N, Berthiller J, Benhaí¯m-Luzon V, Boniol M, Straif K, Ayoub WB, Ayed FB, Sasco AJ.
Tobacco and Cancer Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.
The association between the use of cannabis and the risk of lung cancer is unclear. A hospital-based case-control study was conducted among men in Tunisia and included 149 incident lung cancer cases and 188 controls. Tobacco smoking was significantly associated with an increased risk of lung cancer with odds ratios increasing linearly (p for trend < 0.0001) from 3.9 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4-10.9) for former smokers to 17.1 (95% CI: 6.3-46.3) among current smokers who had smoked for >35 years. The odds ratio for the past use of cannabis and lung cancer was 4.1 (95% CI: 1.9-9.0) after adjustment for age, tobacco use, and occupational exposures. No clear dose-response relationship was observed between the risk of lung cancer and the intensity or duration of cannabis use. This study suggests that smoking cannabis may be a risk factor for lung cancer.