I would very much like to hear your opinions on the possibility of weed smoking causing throat cancer, as I have become very concerned about this lately.
I don't know about you all, but when I take a big hit out of a bong, especially a gravity bong, I experience a slight pain in my throat/upper airways. This pain varies according to how much smoke I inhale. So if you just take light puffs on a joint you may not be able to relate to this.
I have always thought that lung and throat cancer is caused by the carcinogens in tobacco smoke, more specifically the way these carcinogens mutate DNA in the cells that line our throat/lungs. I have always believed that the tobacco smoke is chemically more harmful than marijuana smoke, and I still believe this. Plus, a close examination of the properties of marijuana smoke reveal an element of protection that certain properties of the smoke give -- I'm not a scientist but I understand that the carcinogenesis that occurs in the cells of heavy tobacco smokers is blocked in heavy marijuana smokers by certain ingredients of the smoke.
BUT.... what about the physical burning of the cells that line our throats caused simply by hot smoke? I have read that chronic irrititation of any internal organ increases the risk of cancer. And I can't think of any more severe case of chronic irritation than taking daily massive gravity bong hits... After a week of bong hits your throat feels pretty sore correct?
So the big question is whether the cells that form the lining of our throats that get burned to bits by heavy marijuana use will be replaced by cancerous cells?
I have been smoking weed heavily for 5 years. It has been a cycle of burning and then healing, burning and then healing, burning and then healing, over and over. I will hit the bong several times a day for like 6 days.... experience soreness in my throat, provoking me to completely stop for another 6 days... then when I'm healed up I will start the cycle over again. The pattern varies greatly of course (some months I would only smoke blunts).... but it's safe to say that for 5 years I have been smoking very very heavily and put my throat and lungs through some definite burning.
Also worth mentioning is that in the past year my throat has been more sensitive to heavy hits than it was 5 years ago. But the difference isn't drastic.
I would guess that the carcinogens, the chemicals that mutate your DNA play a bigger role in cancer than physical irrititation, but without being more certain I can't continue to smoke weed. I always thought that the immediate pain I get from a big bong hit is the only consequence -- I never thought the size of the hit (how badly you burn your throat) was a factor in cancer risk... always just thought it was the amount of tar that gets into your lungs that mattered. So what do you all think? I can't be the only one who gets a sore throat from bong rips, can I?
And no, that one study by Dr. Tashkin in 2006 just doesn't put my mind at ease.