Arch Public Health. 2022 Mar 30;80(1):100. doi: 10.1186/s13690-022-00812-7.
BACKGROUND: As the cannabis-cancer relationship remains an important open question epidemiological investigation is warranted to calculate key metrics including Rate Ratios (RR), Attributable Fractions in the Exposed (AFE) and Population Attributable Risks (PAR) to directly compare the implicated case burden between emerging cannabinoids and the established carcinogen tobacco.
METHODS: SEER*Stat software from Centres for Disease Control was used to access age-standardized state census incidence of 28 cancer types (including « All (non-skin) Cancer ») from National Cancer Institute in US states 2001-2017. Drug exposures taken from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health 2003-2017, response rate 74.1%. Federal seizure data provided cannabinoid exposure. US Census Bureau furnished income and ethnicity. Exposure dichotomized as highest v. lowest exposure quintiles. Data processed in R.
RESULTS: Nineteen thousand eight hundred seventy-seven age-standardized cancer rates were returned. Based on these rates and state populations this equated to 51,623,922 cancer cases over an aggregated population 2003-2017 of 124,896,418,350. Fifteen cancers displayed elevated E-Values in the highest compared to the lowest quintiles of cannabidiol exposure, namely (in order): prostate, melanoma, Kaposi sarcoma, ovarian, bladder, colorectal, stomach, Hodgkins, esophagus, Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, All cancer, brain, lung, CLL and breast. Eleven cancers were elevated in the highest THC exposure quintile: melanoma, thyroid, liver, AML, ALL, pancreas, myeloma, CML, breast, oropharynx and stomach. Twelve cancers were elevated in the highest tobacco quintile confirming extant knowledge and study methodology. For cannabidiol RR declined from 1.397 (95%C.I. 1.392, 1.402), AFE declined from 28.40% (28.14, 28.66%), PAR declined from 15.3% (15.1, 15.5%) and minimum E-Values declined from 2.13. For THC RR declined from 2.166 (95%C.I. 2.153, 2.180), AFE declined from 53.8% (53.5, 54.1%); PAR declined from 36.1% (35.9, 36.4%) and minimum E-Values declined from 3.72. For tobacco, THC and cannabidiol based on AFE this implies an excess of 93,860, 91,677 and 48,510 cases; based on PAR data imply an excess of 36,450, 55,780 and 14,819 cases.
CONCLUSION: Data implicate 23/28 cancers as being linked with THC or cannabidiol exposure with epidemiologically-causal relationships comparable to those for tobacco. AFE-attributable cases for cannabinoids (91,677 and 48,510) compare with PAR-attributable cases for tobacco (36,450). Cannabinoids constitute an important multivalent community carcinogen.