Categories: Health & Fitness

Smoking cannabis would cause changes in our DNA

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Cannabis use, whether regular or recent, could lead to changes in the expression of our genes, suggests a new scientific study.

Recent or regular cannabis use could alter gene expressionwhich are called epigenetic changessuggests a new study published on May 31, 2023 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. The expression of a gene (a gene is a segment of DNA in which we find genetic information) is a fundamental life process which corresponds to the use of the information contained in the sequence of a gene to make a protein, essential for the development and reproduction of organisms. To achieve these results, the researchers analyzed blood samples from nearly 1,000 people who participated in a study called Cardia on the “Development of Coronary Artery Risk in Young Adults”. About 70% of them had already used cannabis in their lifetime and about 13% of them in the last 30 days. In all batches of samples taken 5 years apart, the researchers observed 154 DNA methylation markers (one of the chemical modifications of DNA that affects gene expression) in individuals who had had recent cannabis use And 47 DNA methylation markers in individuals who had cumulative cannabis use. Changes that can indeed be induced by environmental or lifestyle factors (pollution, diet, tobacco, drugs, etc.). “Interestingly, we have consistently identified a marker that has previously been associated with tobacco usesuggesting a potential shared epigenetic regulation between tobacco and cannabis use“comments Lifang Hou, head of cancer epidemiology and prevention at the Department of Preventive Medicine and lead author of the study, in an additional document Accessed July 20, 2023. If these results provide new insights into the role of cannabis on the epigenome and related health conditions, further studies are needed to verify that cannabis use is solely responsible for these epigenetic changes and if so, to better understand the mechanism of involvement.

Cannabis may alter brain development

Cannabis is the illicit psychoactive substance the most consumed in Francereports theFrench Observatory of Drugs and Addictive Tendencies (OFDT), with 47.3% of adults aged 18 to 64 who reported having ever used cannabis in their lifetime in 2021. According to several studies, cannabis may help treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, chronic neuropathic pain, inflammatory conditions, symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. Despite medically proven therapeutic benefits, cannabis use may have adverse health effectsespecially in the short term (for example, impaired short-term memory and motor coordination, impaired judgment and psychotic symptoms) and long term (e.g. dependency, impaired brain developmentneurocognitive disorders and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases).

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