Cannabis use effects may travel with male generations according to recent research. And with hundreds of strains of Cannabis that are researched, used medicinally or recreationally, only one molecule makes all the difference when it comes down to its effects on the human body. The important element in this green herb is called THC (Delta-9- tetrahydrocannibinal).
It has been about five millennia since the Chinese have first started using medicinal cannabis and voters approved medical usage in Colorado since 2000, as well as for adult recreational use in 2012. Although, not everyone knows exactly what it does in the body, there are many effects that need further study.
When a person smokes, or ingests the cannabis herb, over 200 various chemical compounds are also synthesized into the body with about 60 of them that are called cannabinoids. The strengths and effects vary greatly from strain to strain. So in states where cannabis is declared legal for at least medicinal use, they have a huge selection to try and find which one works the best for their condition.
Most people think the herb helps to mellow them out, but if you’re not accustomed to its effects it can increase probable issues with anxiety and paranoia due to the fact that it has been found to raise the heart rate at about 16 beats per minute. Many other effects of the THC include a gain in appetite, decreased pain, reduced nausea and decreased motivation.
Motivation issues now seem to carry down into the gene pool according to what was discovered when lab research was done recently. It seems that male rats were effected the most even though they were not directly exposed to any cannabis use. Researchers found that the behavioral and metabolic rates were effected from cannabis use in male rats in continuing generations.
It seems that even the first generation of male rats were effected when they were born from parents that were injected with THC. The male rats were even reared by other female rats that were not injected with the cannabis THC. First generation rats also weighed more and had less motivation to go find their food rewards than those who were not born to parents that were injected with the cannabis THC. The generational effects did gradually wane starting with the third generation of rats though.
Dr. Hurd and colleagues also wanted to find out the mechanisms that cause permanent effects on animals when exposed to the cannabis THC, even after the rats were no longer being exposed. It was found that in earlier studies when adolescent rats were exposed to THC that they had increased interests in self dosing themselves with heroin into their adult life as well. But in reality, it is way too early to understand how the mechanisms from epigenetics in THC exposure truly work within future generations, so more research needs to be conducted down the road.
Besides motivational changes, it was also noted that the epigenetic THC exposures showed in increase in long-term dorsal depression, but not ventral, when the rats were given electrical stimulation tests. The male rats actually showed weird avoidance behavior when a bright light was shown into the cages too.
Hurd and her colleagues will continue with future research on the long-term effects of the cannabis THC drug with funding from the U.S National Institutes of Health. It will be interesting to see more data on how cannabis use effects male generations including other possible findings in the near future.
By Tina Elliott