Argument: Marijuana use causes apoptosis or programmed cell death

Issue Report: Legalization of Marijuana


  • “Why Cannabis Must Remain Illegal”. Drug Watch International. January 12, 2002 – “Decreases in sperm production and increases in abnormal forms caused by THC have been recently attributed to a biological phenomenon known as “apoptosis” of the cell. Apoptosis is the process of programmed cell death occurring over hours and days, in successive stages, resulting in the fragmentation of DNA and the disintegration of the cell. It is a fundamental process emphasized in the first report on the human genome (2001). Apoptosis is controlled by an important cluster (home box) of genes, which order the self-destruction, or suicide of the cell. (Nahas)
An incorrect assumption of some scientists was that recreational usage of cannabis would not produce apoptosis. They failed to take into account the distribution of THC throughout the body and it’s lengthy storage in fat depots and subsequent slow release in the same active form as when first ingested. After a single cannabis cigarette, 50% of its THC is stored in fat depots for five days. It will take 30 days for it’s complete elimination. If one smokes one joint every two days, one will store ten times more than the initial dose of THC after ten days and 30 times more after 30 days. Such amounts have been scientifically proven to induce apoptosis of sperm cells and of lymphocytes. (Nahas)”

This argument of apoptosis as something negative is actually going to be used right now to hurt that very argument.

See if apoptosis, actually plays a part in preventing cancers because it encourages the death of damaged cells, which can later develop into cancers. Studies have shown that people who smoke cigarettes only have higher lung cancer rates than people who smoke cigarettes AND marijuana. So apoptosis is actually a positive thing for smokers.

Harvard university, conducted an experiment on mice by injecting THC into tumors. The THC actually had a positive impact on decreasing tumor size as well.

Apoptosis, is therefore actually a positive thing on the human body.