Smoking tobacco puts people at an increased risk for bladder cancer, a side effect that is well known in the medical community. Doctors in California set out on an 11-year study to track cannabis and tobacco users to compare the two substances’ effects on bladder health. While tobacco use continued to be unhealthy on all accounts, cannabis users were 45 percent less likely to develop bladder cancer.
Doctors from the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center used the medical records and questionnaire surveys from the more than 84,000 participants in the California Men’s Health Study. Their statistical analysis found that “cannabis use only was associated with a 45 percent reduction in bladder cancer incidence.” 41 percent of the entire group reported using cannabis, 57 percent reported tobacco use, 27 percent reported using both and 29 percent used neither substance. After adjusting for confounding factors like age, race, ethnicity and body mass index, doctors only found that tobacco use increased the likelihood of developing bladder cancer, while cannabis users were 45 percent less likely to develop that type of cancer.
While these findings do not prove causation, only association, they warrant further research, which will most definitely yield some interesting findings. Cannabis may itself have some protective effect on the bladder, or perhaps cannabis users have healthier bladders simply because they drink more water from all that cottonmouth.