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According to a new research published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, smoking marijuana early in life can trigger immune-related diseases in adulthood.
The study, carried out by a team of researchers from the Universita degli Studi di Milano, treated adolescent mice with a chemical called Tetrahydrocannabino (THC) that is found in cannabis. It was found that later in adulthood these mice developed serious alterations in immune responses due to a switch towards a pro-inflammatory and cytotoxic phenotype.
According to researcher Paola Sacerdote increased risk of falling sick in adulthood may be traced back to marijuana abuse among individuals in their adolescent years. Using marijuana in adolescence may cause serious long-term damage to the immune system, which may result in autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis in adulthood.
The immune system has an impressive ability to memorise previous exposures and changes that take place during the period of immune system development, especially those taking place early in life. According to editor John Wherry, these changes can have important long-term consequences. Wherry added that these studies not only point to adolescence as a key phase of immune system sensitivity, but also highly the dramatic and long-lasting negative effects that a common recreational drug abused by teenagers may have on immune function. (Read: Why marijuana is harmful for teenagers)
Image source: Getty images
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