Early in his career operating on lung cancer patients, Dr. Raja Flores knew most were cigarette smokers. But through the years, Flores, a thoracic surgeon at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, noticed a startling pattern: Some of his patients had never smoked a tobacco cigarette. They smoked a different drug: marijuana. And they had developed a much more aggressive form of lung cancer.
Initially, Flores didn’t consider there could be a connection between marijuana and lung cancer. The research linking pot smoking with cancer was scant and largely inconclusive. But as the numbers grew, Flores wondered if he was seeing some kind of grim new trend.
“I said to myself, ‘wait a minute, here’s another person in his 40s who never touched a cigarette and the cancer is all over the place,”