Cannabis Use Linked to Epigenetic Changes, New Study Finds

A recent study involving over 1,000 adults has revealed that cannabis use may lead to changes in the human epigenome, which are modifications that affect gene activity without altering the DNA sequence itself. Conducted by Lifang Hou and her team at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, the research found associations between long-term marijuana use and various epigenetic markers, specifically DNA methylation levels, which can influence gene expression and potentially impact health.

The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, analyzed blood samples from participants over a 20-year period, identifying numerous DNA methylation markers associated with both recent and cumulative cannabis use. These epigenetic changes have been linked to a range of health issues, including cellular proliferation, hormone signaling, infections, and neurological disorders, although the study does not establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship between cannabis use and these conditions.

This groundbreaking research sheds light on the complex relationship between marijuana use and epigenetic factors, suggesting a potential shared epigenetic regulation between tobacco and marijuana use. However, further studies are needed to explore the long-term health implications of these findings and to determine whether these associations hold true across different populations.
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