My family and I live in a "crunchy" town, which means people are into all things health-related.
While the stores sell CBD (non-psychoactive component) without THC (which contains psychoactive properties that get you high), CBD with THC is ending up in the hands of people in our neighborhood. The exact way this is happening is not certain, but there are rumors that people bring products from Colorado and sell them to the black market.
These shops make broad claims about their products, sometimes saying they cure almost every sickness under the sun, especially things like anxiety. As far as the safety is concerned, the argument goes something like this: God made the marihuana plant, so it's natural and therefore safe.
Sounds a bit to me like the same claims by essential oil handlers who have landed in the hospital after ingesting essential oils. Or claims of many other multi-level marketing companies that sell health-related products. (After all, cyanide is natural too, but you do not see people smoking or drinking it!)
Unfortunately for these salesmen, no matter how many times you chant something, assertions do not make things true. It does not make the studies on safety magically appear out of thin air and say exactly what you want them to. Peddling THC and CBD products as a cure-all to everyone is dangerous and medically irresponsible.
The Cult Following of THC and CBD Products
Marijuana products have a cult following and understandably so. As a result, any opposition to the use of marihuana products is automatically branded as a critique from an outsider. This often ends in a straw man's argument about supporting "Big Pharma" and opposing healing, making it difficult to have actual measured conversations about potential risks and studies.
No one who is sick wants to see something that brush their hope for a new therapy Those suffering from health problems want something to fix them, and many people are more than happy to make a profit selling hope, without actually making sure their buyers have what they need to make informed decision.
When I was in college, my classmates had a zero conception of how marihuana actually works, let alone its longterm effects. Most of what they knew was from their experience of smoking joints in the basement bathroom. One of my classmates is actually muttered during a discussion on the subject, "It doesnt do anything to your brain, it just makes you high!" Never mind the fact that THC is carried from the lungs to the blood to the brain! [1
Unfortunately, there is no drug with completely positive side effects for every individual. We can not gloss over the harmful effects that some individuals experience with CBD and THC products. There is also a certain degree to which it can be said that the dose makes the poison.
A few potential negative side effects of marihuana include a drop in IQ from the heavy, long-term exposure over the course of many years, testicular Cancer, respiratory problems from smoking the substance, low dopamine levels, and sometimes alteration of sperm count from heavy use.
This is far from a comprehensive list. Perhaps the last side effect is the most notable and the least understood. One study puts a lowered sperm count as a result of the drug, while another claims that it increases the sperm count.
My concern, however, is not with sperm count. Rather, it is with other effects that marihuana can have on sperm. Namely, permanent genetic changes to sperm DNA, structural changes, and negative consequences for DNA methylation.
The link between schizophrenia and marihuana use is perhaps the most enlightening reason to why this drug has been activated by parents who use this drug, especially as many of the products now are more concentrated than those imbibed by previous generations. drug is not for and should not be recommended to every individual. As Medical News Today says: "Recent research suggests that not only people who are prone to schizophrenia are more likely to try cannabis, but that cannabis may also increase the risk of developing symptoms."
Why this would be? The answer lies in the field of genetics, and in particular, epigenetics.
Epigenetics Is Important to Fully Assess Risk
Epigenetics is a blossoming field of research. While we have known about genetics and certain genes for a while, we have not completely understood how they work. You have certain genes, but epigenetics determine whether they are actively expressed in your particular body.
The use of schizophrenia and marihuana has been associated with at least two genes: AKT1 and COMT. The use of schizophrenia and marihuana has been associated with at least two genes: AKT1 and COMT. Schizophrenia genes are not the only ones the compounds in marihuana (not just THC, which is just one of several cannabinoids) act upon, some even having the effect of causing chromosomal breaks and deletions.
While other genes may not put you in The higher the risk of schizophrenia with marihuana use, they affect the way you process the drug. For example, a gene known as rs2609997 can put you at risk of dependency on the drug. Variations of rs806380 can have a wide range of effects on marihuana metabolism, including both lower and higher dependency or addiction risk based on present genetic alleles.
Other genotypes that affect marihuana use include rs806377, rs806368, rs12720071, and rs324420.
Science has brought us to a place where we are well beyond the excuse for trying to make broad, generalized recommendations on supplements and medications without any forethought to individual genetics and familial predispositions. While the marihuana in its various forms may well be helpful for some individuals, this seems to be not the case for everyone. The individual risks should be considered, and it should not be used recklessly.
Despite what many people may claim, the use of this drug does not only affect a person. It affects them and their family who may have to deal with the side effects, and the society that may have to institutionalize them, for example, if marihuana brings out schizophrenic qualities. More than that, it could affect the next generation.
And if Pottenger's cats have any indication, perhaps we should ask ourselves how many generations of the families using this there may be if we continue to turn the blind eye to their consequences