Friday, January 26, 2007

Marijuana - shame of Seattle

The Seattle Post Intelligence newspaper is proud that use of illegal drugs by Seattleites is very high. But they don't ask the health question: Is using marijuana safe? There is increasing evidence that long-term use causes damage. My friend Matt Rosenberg has an extensive post on it with several sources. Here is a sample from D.P. Tashkin at the National Institutes of Health:
...regular marijuana smoking produces a number of long-term pulmonary consequences, including chronic cough and sputum, histopathologic evidence of widespread airway inflammation and injury and immunohistochemical evidence of dysregulated growth of respiratory epithelial cells, that may be precursors to lung cancer. The THC in marijuana could contribute to some of these injurious changes through its ability to augment oxidative stress, cause mitochondrial dysfunction, and inhibit apoptosis ....Habitual use of marijuana is also associated with abnormalities in the structure and function of alveolar macrophages, including impairment in microbial phagocytosis and killing that is associated with defective production of immunostimulatory cytokines and nitric oxide, thereby potentially predisposing to pulmonary infection. In view of the growing interest in medicinal marijuana, further epidemiologic studies are needed to clarify the true risks of regular marijuana smoking on respiratory health.
That's pretty technical, but it's all bad. Read Matt's Rosenblog for more.