A study published in Public Health and Nutrition, June 2001, vol. 4
pp. 781-786 (Dietary intake and nutritional status of US adult
marijuana users: results from the Third National Health and Nutrition
Examination Survey. By Smit E, Crespo CJ. of the Department of Social
and Preventive Medicine, SUNY School of Medicine, University at
Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.
) found that marijuana users have lower levels of carotenoids in the
serum. The authors concluded this was associated with different
dietary habits: ?We found higher cigarette-smoking rates and higher
consumption of sodas and alcohol, specifically beer, among marijuana
users than among non-current marijuana users.
Marijuana users also
consumed more sodium, fewer fruits, and more pork, cheese, and salty
snacks.? Carotenoids are important anti-oxidants which help to
prevent cancer and other diseases. An increased risk of these
diseases might be due not so much to marijuana use itself as to the
lifestyle led by many who use it.
Better attention to nutrition, in
order to ensure a good intake of fresh fruit and vegetables,
particularly the red, yellow and orange ones, will help to boost
antioxidant status (see below)
A review of various studies came to the conclusion that: ?Regular
marijuana use can lead to extensive airway injury and alterations in
the structure and function of alveolar macrophages, potentially
predisposing to pulmonary infection and respiratory cancer.?
macrophages are cells in the lungs that help clear away debris and
bacteria. (Current Opinions in Pulmonary Medicine, March 2001, vol 7
pp 43-61, Airway effects of marijuana, cocaine, and other inhaled
illicit agents. by Tashkin DP of the Division of Pulmonary and
Critical Care Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles,
) Again, to counteract these effects, a diet high in antioxidants
would be helpful.
Obviously, marijuana smoked as joints and mixed with tobacco could
carry all the health risks associated with cigarette smoking. The use
of marijuana alone might be implicated in cancer.
However, one review
concluded that: ?While there is no doubt that marijuana smoke contains
carcinogens, an increase in cancer among users has thus far been
anecdotal. Because of the long latent period between cancer induction
and initiation of cigarette smoking, the full story is yet to be
(International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, July 1998,
vol. 1 pp 71-80, Health aspects of cannabis: revisited. by Hollister
LE. of Harris County Psychiatric Center, University of Texas-Houston,
) In support of this statement, I only found one recent paper in
Medline describing a case of cancer in one marijuana user. This in
itself is not absolute proof.
L E Hollister also concluded that: ?Many older concerns about adverse
effects on health (chromosomal damage, 'cannabinol psychosis',
endocrine abnormalities, cardiac events, impaired immunity) no longer
seem to elicit much interest.
Continuing concerns about the adverse
cognitive effects of chronic use indicate that these can be
demonstrated by proper testing; some studies suggest that they may be
Although cannabis does not produce a specific psychosis,
the possibility exists that it may exacerbate schizophrenia in persons
predisposed to that disorder.? i.e. the effects tend to be more on
brain function than on other diseases, and it could worsen the status
of people who have a tendency to schizophrenia.
I have not found anything specific about diet in relation to marijuana
use. However, a diet rich in antioxidants will tend to counteract the
effect of many toxins and thus would probably be helpful against the
toxic effects of marijuana. This is a diet rich in fresh fruit and
vegetables, with perhaps additional (although not extreme) intake of
vitamins A, C and E.
Red wine is also high in antioxidants and so
is green tea."
How can marijuana affect me physically?
The following are some of the common physical effects of marijuana:
* Tremors (shaking)
* Coordination becoming worse
* Breathing problems
* Increased appetite
* Reduced blood flow to the brain
* Changes in the reproductive organs