By Staff Writer
Despite recent debate over the addictiveness of marijuana, the drug may cause significant harm. Individuals who have a difficult time stopping their use may benefit from seeking therapy from substance abuse treatment programs before these dangers can materialize.
For example, a team of researchers from the University of South Carolina recently found that chemicals in cannabis, the plant from which marijuana is derived, may suppress the immune system and cause changes that could enable the development of cancer.
The team found that cannabinoid receptors in the brain, when activated, trigger the release of myeloid-derived suppressor cells, which limit the immune system and make the body more vulnerable to certain types of cancer and infections.
Researchers said that their findings have major implications, as marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the world. Additionally, it is used in some areas to treat the pain associated with cancer and other chronic disease. However, the findings suggest that these treatments may be making patients’ conditions worse.
Nevertheless, the study’s authors noted that the drug could still play a role in treating some conditions where suppressing the immune system is desirable.