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Ok, so I think you can assume that I'm an opponent of the drug war. I feel that people should be able to take whatever substances they want into their bodies. My body, my choice. I don't feel the need to elaborate on that right now.
However, one of the biggest announcements by the scientific community in the last few years, to me, is this study.
Induction of the carcinogen-metabolizing enzyme cytochrome P4501A1 (CYP1A1) is a key step in the development of tobacco-related cancers. To determine if marijuana smoke activates CYP1A1, a murine hepatoma cell line expressing an inducible CYP1A1 gene (Hepa-1) was exposed in vitro to tar extracts prepared from either tobacco, marijuana, or placebo marijuana cigarettes. Marijuana tar induced higher levels of CYP1A1 messenger RNA (mRNA) than did tobacco tar, yet resulted in much lower CYP1A1 enzyme activity. These differences between marijuana and tobacco were primarily due to Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta(9)-THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana. Here we show that Delta(9)-THC acts through the aryl hydrocarbon receptor complex to activate transcription of CYP1A1. A 2-microg/ml concentration of Delta(9)-THC produced an average 2.5-fold induction of CYP1A1 mRNA, whereas a 10- microg/ml concentration of Delta(9)-THC produced a 4.3-fold induction. No induction was observed in Hepa-1 mutants lacking functional aryl-hydrocarbon receptor or aryl-hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator genes. At the same time, Delta(9)-THC competitively inhibited the CYP1A1 enzyme, reducing its ability to metabolize other substrates. Spiking tobacco tar with Delta(9)-THC resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in the ability to generate CYP1A1 enzyme activity as measured by the ethoxyresorufin-o-deethylase (EROD) assay. This inhibitory effect was confirmed by Michaelis-Menton kinetic analyses using recombinant human CYP1A1 enzyme expressed in insect microsomes. This complex regulation of CYP1A1 by marijuana smoke and the Delta(9)-THC that it contains has implications for the role of marijuana as a cancer risk factor.I've heard countless people say "smoking anything will cause lung cancer." Well, actually, I have to object to that. A substance has to contain carcinogens in order to be able to cause cancer, and even carcinogens don't ALWAYS cause cancer. As of yet, there has never been a single case of marijuana causing lung cancer. In fact, people who only smoke marijuana don't get lung cancer from it, and according to this study, people who smoke marijuana AND tobacco typically have less of a chance of getting lung cancer than people who smoke just tobacco.
Marijuana contains more carcinogens per amount than tobacco. That is true. However, carcinogens don't just CAUSE lung cancer. An enzyme of some sort in the body reacts to those carcinogens and causes the cells involved to start growing into cancer. However, THC and maybe some other chemicals in marijuana actually act as some sort of a BLOCKER for the enzyme, thereby rendering the carcinogens less likely to cause cancer.
Also, according to another study, THC can actually shrink tumors. So who knows, these studies could be wrong, but if you can find me a pot smoker who has never smoked tobacco and has a doctor who says his lung cancer came from marijuana and not something else, I'll give you a dollar.