Pot Use Makes You Get Older Faster (Says Australia)

But they say a lot of wacky shit.

Academics from the University of Western Australia have conducted studies upon 11 pot smokers, 504 cigarette smokers, and 114 people who consume both tobacco and weed, and the researchers think you—even if you don't smoke pot—should be alarmed.

Apparently, in these limited numbers, long-term marijuana use poses cardiovascular risks and is “associated with an acceleration of the cardiovascular age.”

The relatively small test sample (629 smoking souls total) was all drawn from a single addiction clinic in Brisbane, Australia. Regardless of those limitations, the study’s spokesperson, an associate professor named Stuart Reece, is unhesitant in going global with his conclusions.

From Neuroscience News:

“We found that for those who used cannabis over a long time, not only does it age you, it increases aging at an exponential rate over time which is alarming,” Professor Reece said.
“It is important to the health of populations worldwide that such research be continued, with the study highlighting the large-scale costs to the health system from cannabis use.”

The degree and severity of aging in Brisbane’s weed fiends was determined by applying a process called “radial arterial pulse wave tonometry,” which is basically an advanced, noninvasive system for taking someone’s pulse and measuring their blood pressure.

Neuroscience News interpreted Reece's pulse and blood-pressure readings to indicate that weed increases hardening of the arteries by a factor of 11 percent, resulting in 30-year-old stoners stumbling around with a biological age of 33. Then again, Neuroscience News appears to be drawing its conclusions based on some strange beliefs, such as:

It is well established that cannabis use has toxic effects on the brain, lungs, respiratory system and many parts of the reproductive system, and has been linked to a variety of cancers.

Perhaps, as the Australian scholars attest, some forms of marijuana use in some people do contribute to hardened arteries, also known as atherosclerosis. That’s no reason to forget that the primary causes of atherosclerosis are diet, stress, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, cigarettes, and—let’s say it again—diet. None of these factors—other than cigarettes—were taken into account while recording the pulse and blood pressure of 629 patients in a Brisbane addiction-treatment center.

For all we or Reece and his cohorts know, his human lab rats have spent their formative and adult years in Brisbane chowing down on deep-fried cheese snacks and processed cookies and cakes between meals of frozen pizza and microwave popcorn. Go ahead, blame the nugs.

Marijuana is not going away. Rather than waving around fear-mongering extrapolations based on incomplete science, serious researchers should be studying how to make the most of the stuff. 

Furthermore, let’s presume that hardened arteries play a role in the inevitable physical deterioration of the human carcass. So does worry, lack of appetite, boredom, depression, anxiety, the absence of joy and wonder. There is a difference between happy aging and becoming older and sadder.

Instead of sounding a global alarm, maybe Reece the associate professor would better serve mankind by quantifying just how many fewer cupcakes or how many more laps in the pool a recreational user should take to counter the arterial impact of a 420 mental-health break.

Marijuana is not going away. Rather than waving around fear-mongering extrapolations based on incomplete science, serious researchers should be studying how to make the most of the stuff. That’s what health-conscious practitioners are doing all across the free world. It seems to be working for a lot of us.