Are there any negative side effects to smoking cannabis?
A recent study looked at how smoking cannabis affects the biological process of aging. The results are mixed, if not so good, but the good news is that these “deteriorations” are reversible. This prospective study followed participants aged 13 to 30 for 17 years.
Lifetime consumption was used to calculate accelerated epigenetic aging. This outlook remained the same after controlling for smoking and a wide range of potential variables. Dose-response and recency of use effects were also observed.
Epigenetics is the study of the relationship between genotype (the information of an individual's genome) and phenotype (the set of observable characteristics of the individual's organism). For this survey Recently, researchers and doctors analyzed epigenetic samples from 154 people, they demonstrated that those who consumed cannabis 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 in age.
Scientists know that each individual has a personal pace when it comes to aging, it does not only depend on age, but environmental factors also have an important role in determining the pace of aging. Our environment has external influences leading to changes in the activation and expression of certain genes in our body, this is what specialists call "the epigenetic age".
Research on epidemiological age
This is, without a doubt, a specific field of research which has evolved a great deal over the past few years. Researchers have managed to create "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 cannabis could create a differential between the real age and the genetic age of smokers.
At the start of the study, the participants were selected, born at the age of 13, they were asked the annual frequency of consumption of cannabis joints and this for 17 years. The researchers used two metrics (or epigenetic clocks) and then took a blood sample from each participant around the age of 30, towards the end of the study.
Smoking cannabis 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 heavy the use of cannabis, 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, links between the dose of cannabis consumed and aging existed. Those who smoke the most have faster epigenetic aging,” the researchers wrote.
Furthermore, these findings remain consistent even when compared to other known factors such as tobacco use, socio-economic status, personality, and history of anxiety.
In conclusion, the researchers stated:
Although not definitively defined, our results determined a causal relationship between cannabis use and epigenetic aging. »
The comprehensive analysis of the results attributes the acceleration of epigenetic aging in cannabis users to changes in a specific gene called AHRR. These changes are comparable to genetic alterations due to air pollution or smoking. Moreover, it is for this reason that researchers believe that the damage caused to smokers comes from tobacco and not from THC or other molecules present in marijuana.
The results also showed that the earlier cannabis use started, the faster it caused aging. This is an important discovery for people wishing to slow down their accelerated aging.
But don't panic, it should be noted that reducing or stopping the use of cannabis can stop and even reverse the damage caused by its consumption.