A marijuana researcher has just debunked the claim that cannabis can cause permanent damage to a user’s DNA. That claim made international headlines last week when a group of scientists in Australia published a paper in the journal Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis.
In the article, the scientists said that regular DNA use might not lead to any immediate or obvious health problems for users. But, they said, it could damage their DNA.
The article went on to say that the damaged DNA could be passed on to a cannabis user’s kids. If this happened, it could give the child health problems.
The article even said that the damaged DNA could give cancer to the child of a cannabis user.
But now, a well-known marijuana researcher has said those claims are bogus.
“This report is based on a foundation of falsehoods,” Ethan Russo explained.
“Cannabis is not mutagenic (productive of mutations in DNA), nor is it teratogenic (productive of birth defects) or carcinogenic (causative of cancer). Countless animal studies and human . . . studies support its relative safety in this regard.”
Russo is a board-certified neurologist and researcher. He’s also a founding editor of the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics.
Simply put, Russo is a well-respected figure in the world of cannabis research.
Russo said the new study is nothing more than another example of “reefer madness.” He said it was time to ditch these kinds of claims and focus on learning more about how cannabis can improve health.
But the field of cannabis research is a complicated one.
In the U.S. it can sometimes be difficult to do thorough studies of marijuana. That’s primararlly because marijuana is considered a Schedule I illegal drug.
Because of this, many researchers in the U.S. have to rely on cannabis samples provided by the government. But recent reports found that too often those examples are limited to only a few relatively weak strains.
This can make it hard for scientists to explore the full range of cannabis and its effects on humans.
Despite these challenges, there is a growing body of marijuana research.
Some of the most promising research has discovered that marijuana could be used to target and kill cancer cells.
In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse revised its fact sheet on medical marijuana last summer to reflect these discoveries.
“Recent animal studies have shown that marijuana extracts may help kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others,” the new website says.
“Evidence from one cell culture study suggests that purified extracts from whole-plant marijuana can slow the growth of cancer cells from one of the most dangerous types of brain tumors.”
And a report published last month found that states with legal medical cannabis have lower rates of opioid addiction.