Smoking Marijuana Lowers Inflammation

Smoking Marijuana Lowers Inflammation

Smoking marijuana lowers inflammation in the body. Researchers found lower levels of the inflammatory marker CRP in people smoking marijuana in the last 30 days.

Marijuana is the drug creating the most headlines in the research community at the moment. Every week a new press release warns about the harmful effects of smoking marijuana in anything from findings based in quality research to anecdotal claims about adverse health effects. All the while a wave of legalization sweeps the globe making the drug more available to the public. Now new research finds that smoking marijuana means you have lower levels of inflammation overall.

Blunted Immune system: Smoking Marijuana Lowers Inflammation

The results of the analysis is found in the journal Drug and Alcohol dependence.

The study included over 9,000 people asking about their marijuana use and measuring the inflammation levels in their body’s by analyzing a marker called C-reactive protein (CRP). Of the 9,000 people participating about 40% had never smoked marijuana while 48% reported smoking it at least once in their life. 12% (1,115) of participants said they smoked the drug regularly, meaning at least once in the past 30 days.

Researchers found that when they analyzed the levels of CRP, in a simple blood test, they found that people reported using the drug in the last month also had lower levels of the inflammation marker.

This find isn’t as established as you may think. Even though marijuana have been suggested as a drug possibly useful in treating chronic inflammation earlier studies have found that CRP levels might not be lower in pot smokers than in people never using the drugs. Earlier studies have included younger people, which might explain why the results varies as much as they do compared to this one.

In theory, smoking marijuana lowers inflammation, shouldn’t be a controversial find. The mechanism is already established: Previous studies have found that activating the cannabinoid-2 receptor has anti-inflammatory effects. This is also why lead researcher Alshaarawy think they saw lower CRP levels in regular cannabis users.

Since CRP levels are linked to an increased risk of heart disease it’s kind of funny that marijuana also have been linked to increased heart problems. A study I don’t put much stock in, although cannabis was found in the patients, other risk factors probably contributed to heart disease to a greater degree.

Image credit: Brett Levin via flickr.com, CC BY 2.0