Marijuana Use and Urological Conditions

DECEMBER 2016

It’s estimated that 43% of Canadians aged 15 or older have used marijuana and 3.2% use it at least once per week. Given these numbers and the eminent legalization of marijuana in Canada, we thought it appropriate to examine the research on marijuana use and urological conditions.

544799242 marijuana analysisThe American Urological Association (AUA) published a review in 2016 of the current research on cannabis use and urological conditions. Here’s some of what they reported. 

Health Indications

Testicular cancer: Three studies linked marijuana use with increased risk of developing testicular cancer.

Bladder cancer: Limited research suggests that marijuana smoke may increase the risk of bladder cancer. However, one study found that cannabis use may protect against bladder cancer.

Prostate cancer: One case-controlled study found increased risk of prostate cancer in men who had smoked marijuana but never smoked tobacco.

Sexual Dysfunction: Survey studies show an association between cannabis use and sexual dysfunction, including problems reaching orgasm and inhibited sexual arousal and libido.

Infertility: Early evidence supports a weak link between cannabis use and infertility. The AUA recommends that men with infertility discontinue casual marijuana use.

Medicinal Uses

To date, minimal research has been conducted on the medicinal benefits of marijuana use for managing and treating urological symptoms. Some research suggests that cannabinoids are useful for control of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Also, one study showed that cannabis use decreased urge incontinence in patients with multiple sclerosis. Another study linked marijuana use to improved symptoms in patients with chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.

Conclusions

Currently, research in the area of cannabis use and urological conditions is limited. The studies described above suggest weak links between marijuana use and some urological issues. Additional research is needed to draw any conclusions.

References

1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUHresults2012/NSDUHresults2012.pdf

2. Bergman, A., Dinerman, B. & Weiss, J. Consequences and Medicinal Uses of Cannabis in Urological Patients. AUA Update Series (2016). Vol. 35, Lesson 24.
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