Cannabis damages human DNA

  • Olivia Fens

Scientists have found evidence that cannabis smoking damages DNA and may increase the risk of cancer development.

Tobacco smoke contains 4000 chemicals of which 60 are classed as carcinogens (cancer causing).

Cannabis smoke contains 400 compounds, but because of its lower combustibility it contains 50% more carcinogenic chemicals than tobacco smoke, the researchers from the University of Leicester in the UK found.

They added that the ability of cannabis smoke to damage DNA had significant human health implications especially as users tend to inhale more deeply than cigarette smokers, which increases respiratory burden.

“The smoking of three to four cannabis cigarettes a day is associated with the same degree of damage to bronchial mucus membranes as 20 or more tobacco cigarettes a day,” the researchers said.

“These results provide evidence for the DNA damaging potential of cannabis smoke, and imply that the consumption of cannabis cigarettes may be detrimental to human health with the possibility to initiate cancer development.”

The study was published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

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