New Study Suggests Cannabis Use May Impact Human Genes
In a recent study conducted by researchers from Northwestern University, it has been suggested that cannabis use may cause changes in the human body’s epigenome. The epigenome functions like a set of switches that activate or deactivate genes. The study, which examined over 1,000 adults, found associations between cumulative marijuana use and multiple epigenetic markers.
Cannabis is well-known for its popularity in the United States, with approximately 49 percent of people having tried it at least once. To investigate the potential effects of marijuana use, researchers studied adults who had participated in a long-term study. These participants were asked about their cannabis use over a 20-year period.
Blood samples were taken from the participants at the 15- and 20-year mark, and the researchers analyzed the epigenetic changes, specifically DNA methylation levels, of those who had recently or long-term used cannabis. DNA methylation, which involves the addition or removal of methyl groups from DNA, is one of the most extensively studied epigenetic modifications and can impact gene activity.
The study revealed numerous DNA methylation markers associated with recent and cumulative cannabis use. Surprisingly, one marker associated with tobacco use consistently emerged, indicating a potential shared epigenetic regulation between tobacco and marijuana use.
Epigenetic changes associated with cannabis use have previously been linked to various health concerns, including cellular proliferation, hormone signaling, infections, neurological disorders, and substance use disorders. However, it is essential to note that this study does not establish a direct causal relationship between cannabis and these health problems.
While the findings are intriguing, further research is necessary to determine if these associations are consistently observed in different populations and to explore the long-term effects of marijuana on human health. Understanding the potential impact of cannabis on the epigenome and its implications for overall health is a critical area of study that deserves ongoing attention and investigation.
As the debate surrounding cannabis legalization and its health effects continues, this study provides valuable insights into the potential influence of marijuana on human genes. With the need for additional research, it is important to approach the topic with caution and open-mindedness, allowing for a comprehensive understanding of cannabis’s effects on the human body.
“Prone to fits of apathy. Devoted music geek. Troublemaker. Typical analyst. Alcohol practitioner. Food junkie. Passionate tv fan. Web expert.”