Kenya

Bhang speeds up growth of tumours, new study shows

Bhang speeds up growth of tumours, new study shows
  • The worrying new findings were published on January 13, 2020 in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, even as efforts to legalise marijuana for medical and recreational use gain momentum around the world.

Using marijuana (bhang) can accelerate the growth of head and neck tumours in patients with infections related to the human papilloma virus (HPV), a new study shows.

Researchers at the University of California’s San Diego School of Medicine found that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main ingredient that causes euphoria and changed behaviour in users, can speed up the growth of tumours in patients with infections related to HPV.

THC is one of at least 113 cannabinoids identified in marijuana — scientific name cannabis sativa — which can cause changes in users including euphoria, appetite, heightened sensory perception, relaxation, impaired memory, blood pressure as well as impaired concentration and coordination.

“We now have convincing scientific evidence that daily marijuana use can drive tumour growth in HPV-related head and neck cancer,” said Prof Joseph Califano, a co-author, in a press statement.

The worrying new findings were published on January 13, 2020 in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, even as efforts to legalise marijuana for medical and recreational use gain momentum around the world.

There are several vaccines that can prevent most HPV-related cancers, including the vaccine targeting girls between the ages of 9 and 14 that was launched in Kenya on October 18, 2019.

The San Diego research team says head and neck squamous cell carcinoma is the sixth most common cancer in the world.​