CancerMarijuana (Cannabinoids)

Marijuana increases the risk of testicular cancer

Testicular cancer has increased steadily, but the cause(s) remains elusive.

Researchers at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, evaluated the relation between testicular cancer and exposure to marijuana and other recreational drugs.

First, the details.

  • 163 patients diagnosed with testicular cancer were enrolled.
  • 292 controls were matched on age, race/ethnicity, and neighborhood.
  • Participants were interviewed about drug use.
  • The findings were adjusted for history of cryptorchidism; education; religiosity; and reported use of marijuana, cocaine, and amyl nitrite.
    • Cryptorchidism, the absence of one or both testes from the scrotum, is associated with increased risk of testicular cancer.

And, the results.

  • Marijuana
    • Compared with never use, ever using marijuana was associated with a 2-fold increased risk for testicular cancer.
    • Stratification on tumor cell type revealed a specific association of marijuana use with nonseminoma (a type of testicular cancer) and mixed histology tumors.
  • Cocaine
    • Use of cocaine had a negative association with testicular cancer.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “A specific association was observed between marijuana use and the risk of nonseminoma and mixed tumors.” They speculate that marijuana may be acting through the endocannabinoid system, which responds to the active ingredient in marijuana, since this system has been shown to be important in the formation of sperm.

This study supports a study in 2009 by researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle, Washington, which reported that men with a testicular cancer were more likely to be current marijuana smokers compared with controls.

Prior to this, in 1985, 2 young male homosexuals with HIV and a history of marijuana or inhaled recreational drugs reportedly developed testicular cancer.

More information on testicular cancer is here.

9/11/12 18:05 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.