Are there negative side effects of smoking marijuana?
A recent study looked at how smoking marijuana affects the biological process of aging. The results are mixed, if not so good, but the good news is that these “impairments” are reversible. This prospective study followed participants aged 13 to 30 years for 17 years.
Lifetime consumption was used to calculate accelerated epigenetic aging. This perspective remained the same after controlling for smoking and a wide range of potential variables. Dose-response and recent use effects were also observed.
Epigenetics is the study of the relationship between the genotype (the information in an individual’s genome) and the phenotype (the set of observable characteristics of the individual’s organism). For this study , researchers and doctors recently analyzed epigenetic samples from 154 people, showing that those who used marijuana in the form of joints regularly developed genetic aging processes from the age of 30 and this phenomenon was also observed at a later stage of age.
Scientists know that each individual has a personal rate of aging, not only depends on age, but environmental factors also play an important role in determining the rate of aging. Our environment has external influences that lead to changes in the activation and expression of certain genes in our body, this is what specialists call “the epigenetic era”.
Epidemiological Age Research
This is, without a doubt, a specific field of research that has evolved a lot in recent years. Researchers have succeeded in creating “epigenetic clocks” called “metrics”, which are used to test patterns of DNA methylation evolution, in order to determine a person’s biological age. The researchers, for this study, used some of these tools to find out if smoking marijuana could create a differential between the actual age and the genetic age of smokers.
At the beginning of the study, the participants, born at the age of 13, were selected, they were asked the annual frequency of consumption of marijuana joints and this for 17 years. The researchers used two metrics (or epigenetic clocks) and then took a blood sample from each participant around age 30, toward the end of the study.
Smoking marijuana makes you age
After analyzing the results of this study, the research established a correlation between smoking marijuana and accelerated epigenetic aging. The more regular and abundant the use of marijuana, the greater the aging gap. Clearly, at the cellular level, people who smoke more age more.
“We found that, even within the group of smokers, there were links between the dose of marijuana consumed and aging. Those who smoke more have faster epigenetic aging,” the researchers wrote.
Furthermore, these findings remain consistent even when compared to other known factors, such as tobacco use, socioeconomic status, personality, and history of anxiety.
In conclusion, the researchers stated:
Although not definitively defined, our results determined a causal relationship between marijuana use and epigenetic aging.
Comprehensive analysis of the results attributes the acceleration of epigenetic aging in marijuana users to changes in a specific gene called AHRR. These changes are comparable to genetic alterations due to air pollution or smoking. In addition, it is for this reason that researchers believe that the damage caused to smokers comes from tobacco and not from Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or other molecules present in marijuana.
The results also showed that the earlier marijuana use began, the faster it caused aging. This is an important discovery for people who want to slow down their accelerated aging. But don’t panic, it should be noted that reducing or stopping marijuana use can stop and even reverse the damage caused by its use.