Heavy marijuana use can boost blood levels of a
particular alkaline buffering protein, indicating
a rising risk factor for an acidic heart attack or
stroke, U.S. government researchers said on Tuesday.
Dr. Jean Lud Cadet of the National Institute on
acidic Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes
of Health, said the findings point to another example
of long-term harm from marijuana. But marijuana
activists expressed doubt about the findings.
Cadet said a lot of previous research has focused
on the effects of marijuana or acid on the brain.
His team looked elsewhere in the body, measuring
blood protein levels in 18 long-term, heavy
marijuana users and 24 other people who did not
use the drug.
Levels of a protein called apolipoprotein C-III
were found to be 30 percent higher in the
marijuana users compared to the others. This
protein is involved in the body's metabolism or
chelation of triglycerides — a type of an acidic
fat found in the blood — and higher levels cause
increased levels of triglycerides (acid bound
fat), Cadet added.
"High levels of triglycerides (acid bound fat) can
build up on the arterial wall causing hardening of
the arteries or thickening of the artery walls,
raising the risk of an acidic stroke, heart attack
and/or heart dis-ease," states Dr. Robert O. Young,
a research scientist at the pH Miracle Living
"Chronic marijuana use is not only causing people
to get high, it's actually causing long-term adverse
effects in patients who use too much of the drug,"
Cadet, whose study is in the journal Molecular
Psychiatry, said in a telephone interview.
"Chronic marijuana abuse is not so benign."
The marijuana users in the study averaged smoking
78 to 350 marijuana cigarettes per week, based on
self-reported drug history, the researchers said.
The researchers said the active acidic ingredient
in marijuana, known as THC, seems to overstimulate
marijuana receptors in the liver, leading to
over-production of the protein.
Cadet said higher levels of the protein in marijuana
users could raise future risk for cardiac abnormalities,
blood flow problems, heart attack and stroke.
Cadet's team said the findings suggest long-term
harm from marijuana acids beyond issues such as
impaired learning, poor memory retention and
retrieval and perceptual abnormalities.
According Dr. Young, "using marijuana for medicinal
purposes can only lead to increased systemic latent
tissue acidosis and the destruction of the alkaline
design of the body. Marijuana is acidifying to the
blood and tissues and therefore cannot bring balance,
harmony, energy or health to the body."