Using cannabis may cause changes in the human body's epigenome, a study of over 1,000 adults suggests. The epigenome functions like a set of "instructions" that determine which genes are turned on or off, influencing various biological processes. By studying changes in DNA methylation, the biological process by which methyl groups are added to DNA molecules, thereby altering gene expression, researchers have found evidence linking cannabis use to epigenetic changes.
Marijuana is a widely used psychoactive substance in the US, and medical and recreational legalization has risen over the past decade. With its increasing popularity, understanding the potential impacts on human health becomes crucial. OHSU researchers warn of potential impacts on brain development and long-term health related to prenatal cannabis exposure. This emphasizes the need to investigate the effects of cannabis use on the human body at a molecular level.
In a new study conducted by Northwestern Medicine, researchers examined the relationship between cannabis use and epigenetic changes. The study included both recent and long-term users, and the findings revealed evidence of alterations in the human epigenome associated with cannabis use. The changes in DNA methylation patterns suggest that the drug has the potential to modulate gene expression, which could have significant implications for human health.