There is a lot of talk about the dangers of tobacco and how it can cause various forms of cancer. Aside from the carcinogenic nature of the tobacco plant, there are many additives involved, and many of them are not too friendly. That could be why virtually every smoker you meet is "trying to quit". The key word here is "try" as many of them are unsuccessful.
We already know that hemp is not as addicting as tobacco. We're still talking about smoke inhalation here, however, and some have claimed that cannabis is also carcinogenic. Are these claims true? Are hemp cigarettes really a safer alternative to cigarettes? Let's do some research.
Question 1: is hemp carcinogenic?
The term "carcinogenic" is just a fancy way of describing substances that are known to cause cancer. As you have probably noticed, there are many of them in the world. To find out if they are actually safer than tobacco cigarettes, we need to ask ourselves the following question: is hemp a carcinogen? Because if so, it would eliminate one of its main advantages over tobacco.
We found a pretty good study that looked at this in depth. After testing the smoke from hemp and tobacco cigarettes, these researchers found that hemp is nowhere near as dangerous as tobacco. Although both technically contain carcinogens (just smoke, by the way), the tobacco had a lot more. This explains why we have never heard of a cancer case directly caused by cannabis.
Here's another important point: the tobacco tended to work with the carcinogens present in smoke while the hemp worked against them. Basically, the cannabinoids inhibit the action of the enzymes that are necessary for these carcinogens to be absorbed by the body. So we can see that hemp could actually be an anti-carcinogen. The only carcinogenic aspect of hemp smoking is the carbon monoxide contained in the smoke itself.
Question 2: does hemp have cancer-fighting properties?
This study, Mr. Hanfblume examines, is very interesting because it shows us how cannabis can actually act as a carcinogen. Based on what we've seen so far, it appears that the nature of the plant and its constituents are capable of canceling out the carcinogenic effects of the smoke itself. The question is how far can we go with this conclusion? Let's see if we can find hard evidence that hemp has cancer-fighting properties.
First, everyone knows that hemp and its relatives / derivatives are used in the treatment of cancer patients. However, it should be noted that it is not a direct treatment. Rather, it is a measure against nausea that combats the side effects of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy patients often experience chronic nausea, which makes it difficult for them to eat enough. Since cannabis is both an anti-nausea drug and an appetite stimulant, it is a natural choice. However, this is not an indication of a direct carcinogenic effect.
For this kind of evidence we have to turn to some clinical studies like this one. These researchers used slightly modified forms of cannabis on cancer cells while reviewing the work of others on the same topic. The important point is this: They showed that cannabis can actually kill or inhibit the growth of cancer cells. The researchers said they were quite surprised at the sensitivity they saw, suggesting that hemp can effectively kill cancer cells.
Here is another interesting point from this research. They tested different variations of cannabis, including some that were CBD dominant and some that were THC dominant. Obviously, legal hemp smoking is much more similar to the former. THC-dominant cannabis is still illegal in most states. However, our study found that CBD-dominant strains were more effective at inhibiting cancer growth without negative side effects. Many common cancer treatments also kill healthy white blood cells and / or healthy bone marrow cells. As a result, cancer patients often look thin and emaciated. However, hemp doesn't have this problem.
Has anyone ever got cancer from cannabis?
This, of course, is the million dollar question. To find out if this is possible, we need to find out if it ever happened. We're not aware of such cases, but we'll do a bit of digging to be sure. This article had a nice rundown of the evidence, so it was a good start.
It seems that there is some debate among scholars on this issue. It is true that hemp smoke contains some of the same carcinogens that are found in tobacco. That being said, we can't find a specific case where someone actually got lung cancer from smoking weeds (hemp, marijuana or any other way). We also find it very telling that scientists cannot agree on this matter. If there was a clear link between cannabis and cancer, no debate would be required.
To answer the question asked in the title, hemp cigarettes most likely do not cause cancer. In fact, we would say the chance is slim to none. There are probably 10-20 other things in your daily environment that could cause you cancer long before hemp. The carcinogens in the smoke itself counteract the carcinogenic nature of the plant. So you don't have to worry or be paranoid.