Health News Article | Reuters.co.uk: "By Amy Norton
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Although both marijuana and tobacco smoke are packed with cancer-causing chemicals, other qualities of marijuana seem to keep it from promoting lung cancer, according to a new report.
The difference rests in the often opposing actions of the nicotine in tobacco and the active ingredient, THC, in marijuana, says Dr. Robert Melamede of the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.
He reviewed the scientific evidence supporting this contention in a recent issue of Harm Reduction Journal.
Whereas nicotine has several effects that promote lung and other types of cancer, THC acts in ways that counter the cancer-causing chemicals in marijuana smoke, Melamede explained in an interview with Reuters Health.
'THC turns down the carcinogenic potential,' he said.
For example, lab research indicates that nicotine activates a body enzyme that converts certain chemicals in both tobacco and marijuana smoke into cancer-promoting form. In contrast, studies in mice suggest that THC blocks this enzyme activity.
Another key difference, Melamede said, is in the immune system effects of tobacco and marijuana. Smoke sends irritants into the respiratory system that trigger an immune-regulated inflammatory response, which involves the generation of potential"