Smoking marijuana can change users' DNA — and the mutations are then passed on to their children, new research shows.
In the study published in the journal Mutation Research – Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis, researchers assert they've been able to show for the first time how marijuana can be linked to serious illnesses and the implications for future generations, the International Business Times in Australia reports
"Through our research we found that cancers and illnesses were likely caused by cell mutations resulting from cannabis properties having a chemical interaction with a person's DNA," researcher Stuart Reece of the University of Western Australia said in a news release, the IBT Australia reports.
"With cannabis use increasing globally in recent years, this has a concerning impact for the population.'"
"Even if a mother has never used cannabis in her life, the mutations passed on by a father's sperm can cause serious and fatal illnesses in their children," he added. "The parents may not realize that they are carrying these mutations, which can lie dormant and may only affect generations down the track, which is the most alarming aspect."
Reece explained when the chemicals in cannabis alter a user's DNA structure, it can lead to slow cell growth and have serious implications for the fetal development of babies, potentially causing limbs or vital organs not to develop properly or cause cancers.
The research comes amid increased usage and legalization of cannabis around the world, the newspaper reports.
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