Mice were exposed to a small amount of THC, and their blood vessel blockages were reduced by as much as 30% (Khamsi). The research is preliminary and involved pure THC as opposed to marijuana but nevertheless shows some areas for future research into the biological benefits of the drug's main psychoactive chemical.
Several similar studies show that marijuana and THC may benefit the heart and circulatory system. Marijuana may eventually be recommended o treat heart disease and ancillary problems (Roth, cited in ScienceWeek). Moreover, marijuana may benefit the immune system. Some studies show an immune system regulatory function, but THC might also cause immunosuppression because of its effect on the synthesis of cytokines (Roth, cited in ScienceWeek).
Long-term marijuana use may or may not be dangerous. Some research reveals possible cognitive dysfnctions associated with heavy, long-term use. For example, "brain imaging studies of cannabis users have demonstrated altered function, blood flow, and metabolism in prefrontal and cerebellar regions (Solowij,...
Memory and attention deficits are also commonly reported (Solowij, cited in ScienceWeek). The Drug Policy Alliance, however, states that most people who smoke marijuana do not use it chronically and may not experience harmful effects. Furthermore, marijuana is not chemically addictive and abstinence may restore cognitive functioning (Drug Policy Alliance).
American Council for Drug Education. "Basic Facts About Drugs: Marijuana." 1999. Retrieved Nov 4, 2007 at http://www.acde.org/common/Marijana.htm
Brumfiel, Geoff. "Marijuana may make your brain grow." Nature News. Published on BioEd Online. Oct 13, 2005. Retrieved Nov 4, 2007 at http://www.bioedonline.org/news/news.cfm?art=2083
Khamsi, Roxanne. "Cannabis compound benefits blood vessels." Apil 6, 2005. Retrieved Nov. 4, 2007 at http://www.bioedonline.org/news/news.cfm?art=1705
Science Week. "Medial Biology: Marijuana and the Heart." Retrieved Nov 4, 2007 at http://scienceweek.com/2005/sw050617-5.htm
Zimmer, Lynn & Morgan, John. Excerpts from Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts. Drug Policy Alliance, 1997. Retrieved Nov 4, 2007 at http://www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana/factsmyths
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