• Question: Genetically, what are the chances of marijuana affecting your genes and DNA structure?

    Asked by scientology to Amelia, Jim, Liz, Prateek, Richard on 18 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Jim Caryl

      Jim Caryl answered on 18 Jun 2011:

      I think there is much evidence to suggest that marijuana itself would effect your genes, which isn’t to say that it couldn’t do so; however, it’s often mixed in with tobacco, and we know that this can lead to DNA mutations that give rise to cancer, particularly in cells of the mouth, throat and lungs.

    • Photo: Amelia Markey

      Amelia Markey answered on 18 Jun 2011:

      Jim is right, research has shown that marijuana smoke does cause DNA damage, whether this is the plant itself, the chemicals that are mixed in or the tobacco that is often mixed with marijuana.

      Here’s a quote from a researcher in Sweden:

      “There have been many studies on the toxicity of tobacco smoke. It is known that tobacco smoke contains 4000 chemicals of which 60 are classed as carcinogens. Cannabis in contrast has not been so well studied. It is less combustible than tobacco and is often mixed with tobacco in use. Cannabis smoke contains 400 compounds including 60 cannabinoids. However, because of its lower combustibility it contains 50% more carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons including naphthalene, benzanthracene, and benzopyrene, than tobacco smoke.”

      So it seems there are a lot of nasty chemicals and carcinogens (chemicals that cause cancer) in there!