Can Smoking Weed ALTER your DNA and cause mutations
Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug around the world. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), around 22.2 million people in the U.S. have uses ganja in the past month. Other studies show that the use of this drug has seen a significant increase in recent years.
The numbers show us that a large number of people are using marijuana. This is why it is important to establish the effects of marijuana on person's health.
One of the questions that has been on everyone's mind for a long time is: can weed alter DNA and cause mutations?
Dr. Stuart Reece and Professor Gary Hulse from the University of Western Australia's School of Psychiatry have done a lot of research on the subject. They have concluded that weed can alter a person's DNA and cause mutations.
Dr. Reece and Professor Hulse conducted an evidence-informed narrative review of research exploring the hypothesis that cannabis use causes errors in human DNA.
This research shouldn't be viewed on par with a systemic review, but there are no signs that the two researchers have cherry-picked the evidence. That is why I strongly believe in their research, even tho there are better ways of conducting research.
What these two men have done raises some questions, and those questions will lead to further research.
The review collected data from 189 research articles, and it starts by providing scientific background on key moments in cell division (a process of normal cell growth and tissue maintenance).
The review then shows the evidence that cannabis disrupts the process of cell division at specific points. This leads to DNA mutations which can potentially cause cancer.
This is known as chromothripsis, and it is a relatively recent discovery.
Main points of the review focus on the effects of marijuana on cancer and fetal abnormalities. The review also shows the possibility that genetic mutations may be passed down to children. This means that a child who has never been in contact with weed could be affected because the parents used weed in past.
Dr. Reece and Professor Hulse described some observational studies which have linked marijuana to cancer. One of the more interesting things I have noticed it that many of the studies showed that higher the cannabis use, the higher the cancer risk.
If this isn't a cause for concern, then I don't know what is. Dr. Reece and Professor Hulse acknowledge the fact that other studies showed no link. They have suggested that the link isn't noticeable because the participants weren't heavy cannabis users.
The authors have shown in their review a positive link between ganja use and fetal abnormalities. Low birth weight can be seen as a result of disruptions in cell growth. The authors have pointed out that the harms were mostly found in cases where the use of weed was heavy.
Since the researchers can't agree on what "heavy cannabis use" is exactly, you shouldn't think that smoking one joint per day is light use.
One of the most interesting things about the review is that the transmission of marijuana-related genetic damage from parent to a child could be possible.
Previous research has shown that genetic damage caused by alcohol, tobacco and opioids can be transmitted from parent to child. This type of research has only scratched the surface, and I hope that more research will be conducted in the future.
In the end, Dr. Stuart Reece, and Professor Gary Hulse concluded that weed use was associated with cancers because it causes DNA damage in a person's cell. They have summarized all of the evidence and concluded that cannabis could disrupt cell division and cause genetic damage; this potentially leads to the development of cancer.
To conclude, latest research has shown a link between weed use and DNA mutations. Good news is that this study will likely lead to further research. This study should make you think about weed and how much harm it can do to you. I will wait for further research, and report on it when the time comes.