Study looks at possible connection between marijuana and kidney function

By Kathleen Frost • Published: November 10th, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Study looks at possible connection between marijuana and kidney function

Marijuana use throughout the United States is spreading rapidly, and the world of science is taking notice. In the first study of its kind, researchers examined the relationship between marijuana and kidney function in healthy young adults. Previous studies solely focused on animals, but the risks and benefits of cannabis are being looked at for humans as the drug becomes legalized in more states.

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco found in the long run, marijuana didn’t significantly impair kidney function, but users should be wary of the short-term effects. At the start of the study, the researchers found that more marijuana use correlated with greater kidney damage. But as the study progressed, the appearance, if any, of albumin in the urine — a telltale sign of kidney damage — was not associated with marijuana use. It remains unclear why there is a discrepancy between short- and long-term effects.

Marijuana has both medical and recreational uses, and, as of March 2017, 26 states have legalized cannabis in some capacity. That means one in five Americans now lives in a state where weed is legal. Some of the most common side effects of the drug are euphoria and a sense of relaxation as THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, travels through the bloodstream and to the brain.

Further study focusing on different age groups is needed. But the takeaway? While marijuana may not definitely damage your kidneys long-term, it could cause some problems. Many of marijuana’s effects on the body are still being discovered as cannabis takes an ever-increasing role in society and in scientific research.