As the cannabis community clamors for more research on pot’s medical benefits, it is always encouraging when a new study comes out with such results such as these: smoking pot does not take a toll on healthy young kidneys.
OK, no one’s signing off on healthy “older” kidneys, but that’s only because those studies haven’t been done yet. Researchers say they intend to undertake them.
Studies with animals had initially suggested that regular pot use could alter kidney function. But, authors of the new study found no evidence to support that claim—at least among healthy young adults who were followed for up to 15 years.
“Results from our observational study in young adults with normal kidney function may not translate into a clinically meaningful difference and may be insufficient to inform decision-making concerning marijuana use,” said Dr. Julie Ishida, from the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco VA Medical Center, as well as lead researcher on the study.
The researchers used data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, which repeatedly assessed marijuana use and kidney health.
The study included more than 5,000 adults who were aged 18 to 30 in 1985-1986, and who have been followed at intervals ever since, reported WebMD.
Past or current marijuana use was reported by 83 percent of the study participants.
When the study began, heavy marijuana users appeared to have reduced kidney function. However, follow-up assessments every five years showed pot use was not associated with signs of kidney damage, such as higher levels of the protein albumin in the urine.
In a news release from the American Society of Nephrology, Ishida’s team said more research is needed to investigate the effect of cannabis on older people and those with kidney disease.
And the need for more research is obvious.
A recent letter from four congressmen to Attorney General Jeff Sessions wanted to know why he was standing in the way of marijuana research.
The letter was prompted by recent revelations that the Department of Justice had effectively closed down research programs underway or planned by the DEA.
“It is worrisome to think that the Department of Justice, the cornerstone of American civil society, would limit new and potentially groundbreaking research simply because it does not want to follow a rule,” the letter read.
It is worrisome indeed.
Meanwhile, these recent findings were published last Thursday in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.