Two studies from New Zealand have failed to find the downside to cannabis use they were looking for – but don’t expect to see any coverage in our local media.

Last month we revealed a new re-analysis of NZ data that, when it was first published, was widely reported as showing a lung cancer link “for the first time”. We had pointed out the study contained tobacco smokers but our concerns were dismissed, even though the causative link between tobacco smoking and lung cancer is well documented and widely accepted.

“The  new analysis at UCLA removed the tobacco smokers, and the link with lung cancer completely disappeared, irrespective of years spent smoking weed or the amount smoked per day,” said NORML’s spokesperson Chris Fowlie. “Even hard-out long-term pot smokers had the same low rates of lung cancer as non smokers.”

“And while the initial, incorrect, conclusions were widely reported, we are unaware of any of our local media covering the more recent correct findings, although they were widely reported overseas,” said Mr Fowlie.

Another health “risk” we often hear about is an increased risk of heart attacks or stroke.

Now a new study from Auckland Hospital and Otago University has found no increased risk for stroke when tobacco smokers are excluded from the

Cannabis, Ischemic Stroke, and Transient Ischemic Attack: A Case-Control Study.

Barber PA, Pridmore HM, Krishnamurthy V, Roberts S, Spriggs DA, Carter KN, Anderson NE. From the Departments of Neurology, Microbiology-LabPlus, and General Medicine, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand; and Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand.

Consecutive stroke patients, aged 18 to 55 years, who had urine screens for cannabis were compared with a cohort of control patients admitted to hospital without cardiovascular or neurological diagnoses… This study provides evidence of an association between a cannabis lifestyle that includes tobacco and ischemic stroke… However after adjusting for tobacco use, an association independent of tobacco could not be confirmed” [emphasis added]

“They went looking for a downside and they couldn’t find it,” said Mr Fowlie. “This should come as no surprise, because after decades of widespread cannabis use in Western countries, it would be obvious if there were increased strokes among people who just smoke pot.”

“And given these two studies came from New Zealand, why haven’t they been reported in our local media?”