A new study offers yet another reason cannabis is safer than alcohol.
By now, it’s fairly well known that chronic alcohol consumption is linked to many severe health ailments, including liver cancer and failure.
Yet, new research from Cancer Research UK has found some surprising new evidence about how and why alcoholic drinks contribute to cancer.
Published in the journal Nature, British researchers have found that alcohol consumption can lead to permanent genetic damage. How? By damaging DNA in stem cells.
New Study Says Alcohol Damages DNA & Causes Cancer
Stem cells are like template cells that are used to generate new cells in times of need. However, recent research has found that chronic alcohol consumption causes damage to DNA inside blood stem cells.
Once the damage is done, every new cell created by those stem cells will pass on the damage caused by alcohol. Unfortunately, over time, the proliferation of damaged cells can cause at least one major problem: cancer.
In fact, heavy alcohol consumption is known to contribute to at least seven different types of cancer, including breast, bowel, esophageal, colon, liver, mouth, and larynx cancers.
Unfortunately, the study points out that some people may be more prone to developing alcohol-related cancers than others.
For example, the researchers point out that those who have a flushing response to alcohol may be more likely to suffer severe long-term consequences from alcohol consumption.
If drinking alcohol makes you a little red in the cheeks, you lack an enzyme critical for breaking down alcohol and detoxing it out of your system. The enzyme in question is called the ALDH2 enzyme, and those without this enzyme may face up to two times more DNA damage with alcohol consumption.
“Our study highlights that not being able to process alcohol effectively can lead to an even higher risk of alcohol-related DNA damage and therefore certain cancers,” says lead study author Dr. Khetan Patel.
Yet another reason cannabis is safer than alcohol
The Cancer Research UK study adds more fuel to a long-growing list of reasons why cannabis is safer than alcohol. Not only does the herb not come with a hangover, a growing body of evidence suggests that cannabis compounds fight cancer, not cause the disease.
While legal barriers to scientific research block scientists and medical professionals from studying the plant, a sizable body of preclinical evidence suggests that when dosed correctly, molecules in the cannabis plant express anti-tumor and anti-proliferative properties.
Much more research is needed, however early studies have found that cannabis compounds like non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD) inhibit the expression of certain genes that are linked to breast cancer development.
Additional preclinical research suggests that CBD exhibits a preventative effect in colon cancer, reducing cell proliferation that would otherwise contribute to malignancy.
Yet, even though the cannabis plant has a higher margin of safety, fewer side effects, and provides powerful preventative and anti-cancer benefits, alcohol is legal to consume while cannabis is not.
Unfortunately, the only way to combat this injustice is to continue to make healthy decisions and support cannabis reform in your region.
In the meantime, the best way to prevent alcohol-related cancers? Find a safer alternative.