General Question

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Can you please settle a discussion about marijuana and DNA?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (24048points) October 8th, 2022

Whether smoking pot changes one’s DNA?

That’s it.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

13 Answers

Entropy's avatar

Yes, there is a study showing that it can. And that those changes can affect the sex cells and therefore be passed to your children.

Note that the studies involved “high dosage” of cannabis. I don’t know exactly how high ‘high’ is, but yeah.

As cannibis becomes legal we’re seeing more medical studies of it’s effects. It really should not surprise you that recreational drug use is going to prove bad for your health in general. Tobacco and alcohol are bad for your health as well, especially in high doses.

This doesn’t mean we should make it illegal again. We’ve done prohibition. It resulted in less knowledge and these products being black market provided. They don’t go away when made illegal.

But it does mean you should ask yourself whether that chemical high is really worth it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Does alcohol change your DNA?

nikipedia's avatar

I think to answer the question it helps to have a little background about what DNA is and how it works. In a lot of the cells in your body, DNA is like a recipe book. It provides instructions for building proteins that keep your body doing all the body things that bodies do.

For those pieces of DNA, it’s hard to imagine how marijuana would alter it. The DNA is already made and it’s pretty stable like that. But there are molecules that interact with the DNA and how it gets expressed – think of these like notes in the margins of the recipe book, but scribbled in pencil and easily erased. It would be easy for marijuana to affect those molecules and as the other links in the thread showed, it probably does. I personally would not call that “changing your DNA” because it changes something that hops on and off your DNA, rather than the DNA itself.

But there is another scenario where it could potentially change the DNA – when new cells get made, new DNA strands get made. In some parts of your body (skin, bone marrow) new cells get made very often. In other parts of your body (eg brain), new cells get made rarely, if at all. And of course when a baby is growing, every cell is new. Each time a new cell is made, and a new DNA strand gets made, there’s a chance for something to go wrong. And it seems totally plausible to me that marijuana could affect the copying-over process, and change the DNA in some of your new cells.

But can it change DNA that’s already made, in cells that are already there? Probably not. Can it change all the DNA in your body at once? Definitely not.

tl;dr: Kinda

Pandora's avatar

My brother and his X both smoked plenty and their kid was healthy and brilliant. Both of his kids are very healthy. Now, I will say he’s not so healthy right now but he inherited their addictions as well. But as a child beforehand, he was quite healthy. For me, they would have to rule out other drugs and family health issues that are passed down. Like in my family. My husband and I were not drug users and we may have the occasional drink for holidays or when we go out to dinner which is rare I have one kid who seemed to inherit a host of family ailments and another who has been blessed so far with an excellent immune system and who is about to be 40 soon and has maybe only been ill with a fever twice in his life and can go years without a sniffle. I think for it to count you would have to rule everything out. Have the most healthy individual who smokes cannabis. Otherwise, it’s like saying eating bread will give you cancer.
I’m sure this is all about simply keeping pot smokers in jail and making pot illegal to grow and use. I mean if we are going to go with everything that changes our cells in some form has to be bad then lets get rid of all fats in our diet. I’m sure that will go over big.

gondwanalon's avatar

I don’t know if marijuana can alter a smoker’s DNA. But I know this for sure, bad things are going to occur to your body if you repeatedly and intentionally draw any kind of smoke into your lungs.

smudges's avatar

@Pandora In order for a reliable study to be reported in a reputable journal, they do account for those differences. Not arguing, just ‘splaining. The study also has to be repeatable with the same or similar results. I don’t anything about the studies which @nikipedia is speaking of; that’s not to say they don’t exist

Forever_Free's avatar

Yes. It’s called evolution. Many things alter our DNA. Not just marijuana. Anything from binge drinking to toxins in are environment. Nothing earth shattering here.

smudges's avatar

^^ But lasting evolutionary change takes about one million years.

Evolution does not change the DNA, evolution is the result of changes in the DNA. A mutation can change the DNA. The change in the DNA results in a different form or variety of the animal or organism. If the new variety is better adapted to its environment that variety will survive and become the dominate population.

Forever_Free's avatar

@smudges I completely agree. These small mutations in our DNA will evolve our bodies.

Response moderated
Dutchess_III's avatar

Not in our lifetime @Forever_Free.

Forever_Free's avatar

@Dutchess_III I made no reference to our lifetime. My statement said evolution.
Evolution basic timeframe

2 billion years of complex cells (eukaryotes), 1 billion years of multicellular life, 600 million years of simple animals, 570 million years of arthropods (ancestors of insects, arachnids and crustaceans)

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther