Marijuana May Ward Off Lung Cancer

Ezra Klein, reflecting on a new study finding that, “smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer” and “even a suggestion of some protective effect,” observes:

Quick thought experiment: if a martian landed on this planet, and you explained to him that there were these two types of cigarettes, one that was violently addictive and increased your susceptibility to a deadly disease by 2000%, and another that was pleasant, non-addictive, and protective against the killer ailment, which do you think our friendly neighborhood martian would theorize we keep legal?

Not to mention helping to ease the pain of treating the killer ailment.

This, of course, is a trick question. We really can’t know this without knowing the polling results in the Martian’s home district.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. floyd says:

    i don’t know but i think “my favorite martian” might have had a toke or two!

  2. lily says:

    I wonder what effect potsmoking has on retinas? My eye doc told me not to smoke cigrettes (I don’t anyway) because I had a detached retina. I didn’t think to ask about pot–just assumed it was verboten, too.

  3. Steven Plunk says:

    Dope smoking doesn’t protect you against cancer. It may help alleviate side effects from chemo and some other problems but it will not be “protective against the killer ailment”. That’s an important difference.

    Since when was the issue the health effects of being a pothead? The fact it makes you a lazy, basement dwelling, doofus brain was always the problem.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Steven: The article says, “marijuana also contains the chemical THC, which he said may kill aging cells and keep them from becoming cancerous.”

  5. Jon Henke says:

    Since when was the issue the health effects of being a pothead? The fact it makes you a lazy, basement dwelling, doofus brain was always the problem.

    Yeah, well so does blogging. But you don’t see that being outlawed.

    Yet, anyway.

  6. I saw this the other day, and personally I think it’s a pretty bogus study. I’ve already outlined why back on my own blog.

  7. First beer had health benefits, and now pot. If they can just healthify bacon, the world will be wonderful.

  8. McGehee says:


    Maybe. But I have seen so many pot smokers claim they have to keep doing it to stay alive, that I’m not so sure about this claim.

  9. G A Phillips says:

    Yes these Liberal studies are great, just like the one where they figured that murdering an unborn baby is not really murder cause its not really a human being yet just a slimy little tadpole, the excuses they make up and then call them studies are not but deceptive ways of turning destructive behavior into acceptable ways of living life, got to love donkey logic,(bullsh-ting yourself into becoming an example of bullsh-t that is so disciplined and well lied that you get other Dumb-ss people to think its the truth)got to love it.

  10. TJIT says:

    Reading some of the comments (Steve Plunk and G A Phillips) it is obvious some people rushed to comment without bothering to read the aricle.

    regarding lung cancer and pot

    “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.”

    And what the article said about this guys previous research.

    “Federal health and drug enforcement officials have widely used Tashkin’s previous work on marijuana to make the case that the drug is dangerous.”

  11. Actually, I think this study is bogus precisely because I did read the article, and think their methodology was pure crap for the issue they’re studying. But I don’t particlarly feel like retyping the argument I left on my own blog, and I’ve had problems leaving trackbacks on OTB (and only OTB) for ages.