Marijuana Use May Increase The Risk of Testicular Cancer
According to a study conducted at the University of Southern California (USC) and published in the Cancer Journal, marijuana increases the risk of testicular cancer. These findings draw an alarm signal regarding marijuana use for both therapeutic and recreational purposes. Studies on the link between marijuana and testicular cancer have been also conducted in the past, and the discovery made by researchers at the University of Southern California confirms this connection.
Testicular cancer compared with other cancer types, has a good prognosis, but it seems that marijuana leads to a more agressive subtype of testicular cancer. Testicular cancer occurs in people aged between 20 and 40 years and it seems that environmental factors play a key role. To see if marijuana has any role in causing this type of cancer, Victoria Cortessis and other researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, investigated 163 young men who had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. They were compared with a control group consisting of 292 healthy men. The two groups compared were of the same race and same age. Researchers found that those who used marijuana had a higher risk of developing two specific types of testicular cancer associated with a worse prognosis (with non-seminoma and mixed germ cell tumors).
Although it is unknown exactly how marijuana cause cancer, Cortessis believes that marijuana induces carcinogenesis through the endocannabinoid system. What is even more interesting is that scientists found that those who used cocaine had lower risk of developing these two types of testicular cancer (non-seminoma germ cell tumors and mixed). It looks like cocaine destroys sperm-producing cells of the testis, an effect shown in laboratory animal experiments. So cocaine induces infertility. However, Cortessis noted that epidemiological studies are needed to verify this hypothesis.
“We do not know what marijuana triggers in the testis that may lead to carcinogenesis, although we speculate that it may be acting through the endocannabinoid system—the cellular network that responds to the active ingredient in marijuana—since this system has been shown to be important in the formation of sperm,” said Cortessis.