Recent research led by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that moderate, infrequent marijuana use might not have a detrimental effect on kidney function in healthy adults. However, this area of study still harbors uncertainties. As kidney function can decline with age, potentially leading to chronic kidney disease, a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle remain crucial. Smoking, excessive alcohol, high blood pressure, and diabetes are known to harm the kidneys.
Using cannabis safely is paramount, especially given its increasing use among older adults. Harvard Health advises against smoking cannabis due to potential lung inflammation. Alternatives like under-the-tongue tinctures, edibles, topical products, or dry herb vaporizers are recommended. If smoking is chosen, it should be brief to minimize lung irritation, and driving should be avoided for at least four hours afterward.
The legalization of marijuana has led to a paradoxical situation, as pointed out by Alvin Powell, a Harvard Staff Writer. Despite widespread public use, the medical community still grapples with understanding its full impact. Heart-related risks associated with marijuana, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, are particularly concerning for individuals with heart disease. There’s also evidence suggesting a higher risk of complications from high blood pressure in marijuana users.
Moreover, withdrawal from cannabis can present with symptoms like aggression, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and physical discomfort. This underlines the need for careful consideration in its use.
While Harvard studies have not found a direct link between light marijuana use and kidney disease, it’s important to consider these findings in the context of broader health risks and benefits. The ongoing research and evolving perspectives highlight the need for cautious and informed use of cannabis.
For more detailed information, you can read the full articles on Harvard’s website:
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Research,
Harvard Health on Kidney Health,
Harvard Health on Safe Cannabis Use, and
Harvard Gazette on Marijuana Use and Addiction.