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Epigenetics, Marijuana Use and Rats

There is a new study out about the epigenetic effects on marijuana in generations of rats.

Basically it says that rats who are exposed to marijuana are more likely to have offspring who will pull a lever to deliver heroin, and show less motivation. Epigenetics is the idea that parents’ actions or experiences create genetic responses that can be passed down through the generations despite no alteration in the genetic code. Epigenetics is a profound area of study to be sure, but I want to give my objective take on the matter.

First of all, when I read this article I was reminded of an age old myth that Marijuana is a “gateway” drug to more dangerous drugs like heroin, so to have some hard scientific evidence for it piqued my interest. Then I saw that the study was funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). This is a federal government entity and the federal government still stands by their scheduling marijuana as a dangerous drug with no medicinal benefits. So, my interest fading, it makes sense that they would fund a study that backs up their idea that marijuana is a dangerous gateway drug.

But, it is a scientific study and epigenetics is a serious field so I will give them credit for their objectivity. What their study means is if you smoke pot your kids are more likely to seek out heroin and maybe sit on the couch too much (if they are like the rats.) That should scare off many potential users as I imagine the NIH wants. But, I honestly can’t give much weight to their theory without going one step further in the data.

If they want scientific objectification as well as data that will help the health of American citizens  they need to expand their epigenetic study to the effects of Percoset, Oxycotin, Methadone, Morphine, and other pharmaceutical opioids on subsequent generations of rats. These drugs are more akin to heroin than marijuana in that they lead to extreme addiction and can cause fatal overdose. When the NIH is ready to fund a study and release objective data about the effects of all pharmaceutical drugs on future generations, then they will have more credibility with the millions of Americans who have been using marijuana medically and recreationally for generations, without a single fatal overdose or a single rehab center to dedicated to fighting the ill effects of marijuana addiction.

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