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Smoking Marijuana While Young Could Damage The Immune System

Smoking marijuana has often been heralded as a non-addictive, recreational drug, with many enthusiasts and users hoping for it to be legalized due to its harmless qualities. A new study, however, shows just the opposite, with a newly published paper in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology; the discovery that marijuana can drastically and negatively affect the development of the immune system through early exposure has sent scientists and the medical community reeling. The research was published in October, and related to tests being completed using lab mice to better understand the immune related diseases that were being developed later in life by early users of this drug.

The Study And How It Has Opened Eyes

The study was completed by a team of Italian scientists who were trying to show the world that use of this substance in the youth stage of life can cause severe damage that later leads to autoimmune diseases or even inflammatory illnesses like multiple sclerosis, arthritis, or inflamed bowel disease. One of the researchers on the project, Dr. Paola Sacerdote, has been quoted by Science Daily in saying: “I hope that the knowledge that early exposure to marijuana is associated with immediate and long-term deleterious effects on the immune system may reach adolescents and their families. The increased risk of getting sick in adulthood may hopefully be a deterrent for marijuana abuse among young individuals.”

The study involved injecting THC, the drug found in marijuana as the active component that causes the high, into young mice over a period of ten days. This period of time in a mouse’s life cycle would be similar to the ages of twelve to eighteen in a young human. Another group of mice were given placebos rather than the THC treatment, and at the end of the study both groups were given two months to mature without further injections. When the immune system was later reviewed, leukocyte levels were checked, as well as the ability that they had to produce cytokines with assist in the mounting of antibodies used during vaccination. What they found was that those mice who had been given the doses of THC when young had distinct immune system changes later, which caused inflammatory problems and cytotoxic phenotype.

What This Means For The Future

Modern teenagers have long had an issue with refusing peer offered substances and the use of marijuana and other illicit substances throughout high schools and colleges among the younger crowds seems to be steadily increasing. The University Herald has quoted the deputy editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, John Wherry, in saying: “These studies not only point to adolescence as a key phase of immune system sensitivity, but also highly the dramatic and long-lasting negative effects that a common recreational drug abused by teenagers may have on immune function.”

If adolescence continue to use these drugs without thought for their future, then they may be in some serious trouble as far as their adult health goes. Unfortunately, the age old though process that teenagers feel they are invincible is mostly true, and many don’t think about things that will happen after their graduation, let alone later in their lives. This means that it is up to the adults in their lives to inform them of the mistakes that these decisions will inevitably make, and to offer proactive treatments and assistance in quitting use as soon as

Cannabis May Be More Addictive Than Was First Thought

This latest study in the use of marijuana by minors has been accompanied by news regarding its addictiveness, and whether or not past research has been right in thinking that it isn’t an addictive substance. Professor Wayne Hall of the World Health Organization has found that marijuana not only has several negative side effects including psychological issues leading to mental illness, and a lower attained level of education in most smokers, but it is also highly addictive. Mark Winstanley of the Rethink Mental Health charity has been quoted by BreitBart.com in saying: “Instead of classifying and re-classifying, government time and money would be much better spent on educating young people about how smoking cannabis is essentially playing a very real game of Russian roulette with your mental health.”

Some of the problems that children could face in the future include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and a chronic dependency in one in six teenagers and one in six adults who use. Unfortunately, for many, this announcement is coming too late, and the damage has already been done, even if it has gone unnoticed thus far. In some people, the smoking of marijuana may not cause any harmful effects until many years later, as noted above, while for others a mental break or manic behavior could begin during use at any time throughout their life. It’s important that teens and adults be informed and given the opportunity to stay away from cannabis, or at the very least, stop using it while they can.

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