Washington: Using marijuana could have really damaging consequences as it causes testicular cancer, for instance, which only gets worse with time, a study says.
The University of Southern California (USC) findings suggest the potential cancer-causing effects of marijuana on testicular cells should be considered not only in personal decisions regarding recreational drug use, but also when marijuana and its derivatives are used for therapeutic purposes in young male patients.
Victoria Cortessis, assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, and her colleagues looked at the self-reported history of recreational drug use in 163 young men diagnosed with testicular cancer.
It was then compared with that of 292 healthy men of the same age and race/ethnicity, the journal CANCER reports.
"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, according to a statement from USC.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men aged between 15 and 45 years. The malignancy is becoming more common, which researchers are linking with increasing exposure to unrecognised environmental causes, USC said.
The investigators found that men with a history of using marijuana were twice as likely to have subtypes of testicular cancer called non-seminoma and mixed germ cell tumours.