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Highs may hurt the heart.

Add possible increased risk of heart disease to the side effects of smoking marijuana. A study led by Jean Lud Cadet of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Md., and published online in Molecular Psychiatry tested blood samples from 18 chronic marijuana users and 24 nonusers. Heavy smokers, who used 78 to 350 joints a week, had higher levels of the protein apolipoprotein C-Ill, which stops enzymes from chewing up triglycerides. This failure increases the levels of triglycerides, implicated in heart disease. Chronic use may boost levels of the protein when THC, marijuana's active ingredient, binds to cannabinoid receptors in the liver, says George Kunos of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Bethesda. The body also makes substances that bind to the receptors. Understanding how THC works can shed light on this natural pathway, Kunos adds.
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Author:Ghose, Tia
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 7, 2008
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