Should I tak antioxidants to prevent harm from marijuana?
anonymous Asks ...
I read this study on telomeres. Shortened telomeres happen with age and they are associated with disease and some things that we do can accelerate our telomere shortening (as you probably already know…sorry). In any case, this study mentions all casual-like that marijuana increases oxidant activity and decreases antioxidant activity (and in a stretchy leap of assertion they say that this may cause telomere shortenings - and hence marijuana is linked early death, I suppose.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3607895/ This study feels a little sketchy, if you know what I mean…But to be prudent…Do you know if this is a reasonable concern for a person who smokes marijuana multiple times per day? If it is so that heavy marijuana use causes significant oxidative stress, can this stress be offset with the use of antioxidants? If so, would it be a sensible form of harm reduction to incorporate antioxidant therapy into my daily routine? If so if so, which types of antioxidants would be best?
Dr. Stuart Shipko Says ...
First I will literally answer your question. Marijuana smoke does represent an oxidative stress and from a purely theoretical basis, it would seem that a marijuana smoker would benefit from antioxidants. I don't know of any literature on specific antioxidants for marijuana smokers, but I would expect that taking something that boosts glutathione, a major antioxidant, would be a good idea. Lungs of marijuana smokers show lower levels of glutathione. Glutathione is not available as a supplement but can be obtained through Milk Thistle or in SAM-e taken with B Complex cofactors. There are all sorts of antioxidants out there and it is unclear which other antioxidants may be helpful.
To address your question on another level, if you are that worried about the effects of marijuana, are you also concerned about memory loss, weight gain and amotivation? If you were only an occasional user, I doubt that you would be concerned about antioxidants. Physical health aside, there are so many negative sides to chronic, constant, marijuana use. Is the oxidative potential really a serious focus of concern, considering all the other potential problems? If you are going to make a list of the positive and negative aspects of marijuana use, oxidative stress is probably pretty low on the negative list.