Marijuana & Alcohol

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    Im a little confused?? Caffeinne and alchol are bad for you mixed together??? Or what exactly is not healthy???



    Not that ill touch alchol, i hate it anyways. I believe marijuana as long as not done every day or every other day will not hurt your progress and will not hurt testosterone unlike alchol which will hurt protein syntehsis, make you really fat, and decrease testosterone for many days

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    Originally posted by pjorstad
    make you really fat
    Make you really fat? You're kiding right?

    and decrease testosterone for many days

    You sure about this one??? Might want to re-think it....
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    Originally posted by pjorstad
    Not that ill touch alchol, i hate it anyways. I believe marijuana as long as not done every day or every other day will not hurt your progress and will not hurt testosterone unlike alchol which will hurt protein syntehsis, make you really fat, and decrease testosterone for many days
     

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    Ive read about studies on how it stops fat burning until the alchol leaves the system. ALchol also has calories even when its sugar free. ALso ive "heard" haven't read on it yet that testerone levels are dropped. I know that protein synthesis is also halted until alchol leaves the system.

    There was a marijuana thread in the supplements section of bb.com and a guy wrote how testosterone was marginally impacted and that over time it wasn't impacted at all. Of course marijuana doesn't have calories either or halt protein synthesis and fat oxidation like alchol does.

    Alchol is a poison simply put, and i don't see why in the hell anyone would drink alchol AT ALL if your gonna use ph's or steroids any time in the future.
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    Originally posted by pjorstad
    Ive read about studies on how it stops fat burning until the alchol leaves the system. ALchol also has calories even when its sugar free. ALso ive "heard" haven't read on it yet that testerone levels are dropped. I know that protein synthesis is also halted until alchol leaves the system.
    Yes, 7 calories per gram. Empty calories. A avergaem ale can handle a 6 pack before the liver starts to kick into overdrive. I dont know where you "heard" but unless you can provide a scientific resource about the decline in testosterone during alcohol consumption, Im going to ask that you not spread this "rumor" around the board. Protein synthesis is halted or slowed down? If it were halted, one might begin to lose muscle mass rapidly. Dont think thats the case.


    Alchol is a poison simply put, and i don't see why in the hell anyone would drink alchol AT ALL if your gonna use ph's or steroids any time in the future.
    And I dont see why you would smoke pot on one either, neat how this world works huh? Everyone has their own opinion.
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    Originally posted by pjorstad
    Ive read about studies on how it stops fat burning until the alchol leaves the system. ALchol also has calories even when its sugar free. ALso ive "heard" haven't read on it yet that testerone levels are dropped. I know that protein synthesis is also halted until alchol leaves the system.

    There was a marijuana thread in the supplements section of bb.com and a guy wrote how testosterone was marginally impacted and that over time it wasn't impacted at all. Of course marijuana doesn't have calories either or halt protein synthesis and fat oxidation like alchol does.

    Alchol is a poison simply put, and i don't see why in the hell anyone would drink alchol AT ALL if your gonna use ph's or steroids any time in the future.
    Alcohol does stop fat being used for a fuel source until it leaves the system. Test does drop, estrogen does rise during this time. Protein systheis doens't stop, just decreases.

    Marijuana I'm not too sure about....Never really researched it since I don't use.

    Nobody can live a perfect life, especially when it comes to nutrition. Occasional drinking has been shown to have positive effects. Holding someone to those standards of not drinking at all, is impossible.
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    Your right bobo, it is nearly impossible but hey im 21 and have no strong desire to buy alchol. Guess what??? I don't smoke pot either right now and haven't ina long time but i wouldn't really hesistate either as it increases appetite and it relieves stress and allows you to sleep better by relaxing you before bed. Im not saying do it every night but it definitely has its uses. The biggest problem is doing it too often and you might lose motivation for bodybuilding thats the biggest concern.
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    Originally posted by pjorstad
    Im not saying do it every night but it definitely has its uses.
    But so does alcohol, and nicotine, etc.....
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    Simply put bobo given the choice between marijuana and alchol without a doubt hands down marijuana is better physiologically and even mentally(unless its done really frequently then chances are its gonna kill your motivation unlikealchol which won't probably unless your drunk most of the day every day)
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    Actually both are posions... and both have some value but doesn't mean that one is better than the other..
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    Originally posted by pjorstad
    Simply put bobo given the choice between marijuana and alchol without a doubt hands down marijuana is better physiologically and even mentally(unless its done really frequently then chances are its gonna kill your motivation unlikealchol which won't probably unless your drunk most of the day every day)
    Show me. Prove it. And I don't want opinion...I want studies.
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    There was a marijuan thread in the supplements section of bodybuilding.com forum, your probably gonna have to dig for it a few days back as it hasn't been to the top i believe in a few days but a guy named sphongled who is very smart typed up some information on marijuana and provided references. Simply put marijuana without a doubt is 100 times better. I don't see how something that relaxes you, increases appetite, relieves stress, doesn't hurt fat oxidation, or protein synthesis or testosterone production signficantly is worse then alchol which will put on fat due to decreasing oxidation, testosterone, and the empty calories it provides. The only thing it does do is relieve stress it doesn't even increase appetite. Hence marijuana has multiple pro's and pretty much only one con(don't doit every day or youll lose motivation) yet alchol has many cons(hangover, loss of appetite, lowered testosterone, lowered protein synthesis, empty claories, lowered fat oxidation)
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    We should take this to another thread, if debating marijuana/alcohol and it's effects are the point here. Here is one interesting study done in 1972, commisioned by Richard Nixon to address the growing marijuana epidemic. The science is IMO still valid, the demography is not, obviously. Anything regarding social policy should be ignored due to the age, but some decent studies done here. It is in zippable format also:

    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/.../nc/ncmenu.htm
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    Originally posted by pjorstad
    Simply put marijuana without a doubt is 100 times better.
    Gonna need a study for that.



    I don't see how something that relaxes you, increases appetite, relieves stress, doesn't hurt fat oxidation, or protein synthesis or testosterone production signficantly is worse then alchol
    And if you're implying alcohol is (which you are) gonna need another study.


    (hangover, loss of appetite, lowered testosterone, lowered protein synthesis, empty claories, lowered fat oxidation)
    You sure? Whered you get this info? Post it.
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    Not a great one, but here's another:

    <A href="]ttp://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=3475#top"><B>Myth: Marijuana Causes Sterility and Lowers Testosterone</B>

    Government experts concede that pot has no permanent effect on the male or female reproductive systems.1 A few studies have suggested that heavy marijuana use may have a reversible, suppressive effect on male testicular function.2 A recent study by Dr. Robert Block has refuted earlier research suggesting that pot lowers testosterone or other sex hormones in men or women.3 In contrast, heavy alcohol drinking is known to lower testosterone levels and cause impotence. A couple of lab studies indicated that very heavy marijuana smoking might lower sperm counts. However, surveys of chronic smokers have turned up no indication of infertility or other abnormalities.

    Less is known about the effects of cannabis on human females. Some animal studies suggest that pot might temporarily lower fertility or increase the risk of fetal loss, but this evidence is of dubious relevance to humans.4 One human study suggested that pot may mildly disrupt ovulation. It is possible that adolescents are peculiarly vulnerable to hormonal disruptions from pot. However, not a single case of impaired fertility has ever been observed in humans of either sex.

    Footnotes

    1. Dr. Christine Hartel, loc. cit.

    2. NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Report, pp. 94-9.

    3. Dr. Robert Block in Drug and Alcohol Dependence 28: 121-8 (1991).

    4. NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Report, p. 97-8
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    I can post studies all day PJ, but you need to back up your statements, if you're going to make them.
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    You *******s are totally blowing my Sugar Free Red Bull thread
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    Originally posted by YellowJacket
    You *******s are totally blowing my Sugar Free Red Bull thread
    sorry, will move it if PJ wants to continue this. But here's one more :

    Myth: Marijuana Damages the Immune System

    A variety of studies indicate that THC and other cannabinoids may exercise mild, reversible immuno-suppressive effects by inhibiting the activity of immune system cells know as lymphocytes (T- and B-cells) and macrophages. It is dubious whether these effects are of import to human health, since they are based mainly on theoretical laboratory and animal studies. According to a review by Dr. Leo Hollister:1 "The evidence [on immune suppression] has been contradictory and is more supportive of some degree of immunosuppression only when one considers in vitro studies. These have been seriously flawed by the very high concentrations of drug used to produce immunosuppression. The closer that experimental studies have been to actual clinical situations, the less compelling has been the evidence."

    The immune suppression issue was first raised in research by the notorious cannabophobe Dr. Gabriel Nahas, but a flurry of research by the Reagan administration failed to find anything alarming. The recent discovery of a cannabinoid receptor inside rat spleens, where immune cells reside, raises the likelihood that cannabinoids do exert some sort of influence on the immune system.2 It has even been suggested that these effects might be beneficial for patients with auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Nevertheless, not a single case of marijuana-induced immune deficiency has ever been clinically or epidemiologically detected in humans.

    One exception is the lungs, where chronic pots smokers have been shown to suffer damage to the immune cells known as alveolar macrophages and other defense mechanisms.3 It is unclear how much of this damage is due to THC, as opposed to all of the other toxins that occur in smoke , many of which can be filtered out by waterpipes and other devices.4

    There is no reason to think marijuana is dangerous to AIDS patients. On the contrary, many AIDS patients report that marijuana helps avert the deadly "wasting syndrome" by stimulating appetite and reducing nausea. Cannabinoids do not actually damage the T-cells, which are depleted in HIV patients: one study even found that marijuana exposure increased T-cell counts in subjects (not AIDS patients) whose T-cell counts had been low.5 Epidemiological studies have found no relation between use of marijuana or other drugs and development of AIDS.6

    Footnotes

    1. Dr. Leo Hollister, "Marijuana and Immunity," Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 20(1): 3-8 (Jan/Mar 1988).


    2. Sean Munro, Kerrie Thomas and Muna Abu-Shaar, "Molecular characterization of a peripheral receptor for cannabinoids," Nature 365:61-5 (Sept. 2, 1993); Leslie Iversen, "Medical Uses of Marijuana?", ibid. pp. 12-3.


    3. D. Tashkin, "Is Frequent Marijuana Smoking Hazardous To Health,?" op. cit.

    4. Nicholas Cozzi, ibid.

    5. Donald Tashkin et al., "Cannabis 1977," Ann. Intern. Med. 89:539-49 (1978).

    6. Richard A Kaslow et al, "No Evidence for a Role of Alcohol or Other Psychoactive Drugs in Accelerating Immunodeficiency in HIV-1-Positive Individuals," JAMA 261:3424-9 (June 16, 1989).
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    In fact, Pjorstad is right on most is his assertions about both alcohol and marijuana.&nbsp; I've read the studies and will post them as soon as I can find it.&nbsp;

    WYD
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    Originally posted by whosyourdaddy02
    In fact, Pjorstad is right on most is his assertions about both alcohol and marijuana.&nbsp; I've read the studies and will post them as soon as I can find it.&nbsp;

    WYD
    Not really. Some doses of alcohol actually boost testosterone.
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    Originally posted by pjorstad
    There was a marijuan thread in the supplements section of bodybuilding.com forum, your probably gonna have to dig for it a few days back as it hasn't been to the top i believe in a few days but a guy named sphongled who is very smart typed up some information on marijuana and provided references. Simply put marijuana without a doubt is 100 times better. I don't see how something that relaxes you, increases appetite, relieves stress, doesn't hurt fat oxidation, or protein synthesis or testosterone production signficantly is worse then alchol which will put on fat due to decreasing oxidation, testosterone, and the empty calories it provides. The only thing it does do is relieve stress it doesn't even increase appetite. Hence marijuana has multiple pro's and pretty much only one con(don't doit every day or youll lose motivation) yet alchol has many cons(hangover, loss of appetite, lowered testosterone, lowered protein synthesis, empty claories, lowered fat oxidation)
    You don't see is because you don't research it. A bit of advice. If your going to give advice thast effects people diets and/or lifestyle you better know what your talking about. Simple as that. I want proof, not a thread on some board as reference.

    • Alcohol may prevent 80,000 deaths from coronary artery disease (CAD) each year, according to a recent American Heart Association report. "Studies have consistently found that a regular consumption of moderate amounts of alcohol helps prevent heart attacks in middle-aged or older men and women by 30 to 50%. Red wine has gotten the most publicity, but some studies have found that white wine also helps, and other studies have found that wine, beer, and liquor are all equally effective.
    Scientists estimate that about half of the protective effect comes from alcohol's ability to boost HDL cholesterol, the "good" kind that removes cholesterol from arterial walls. Thus alcohol reduces atherosclerosis, the hardening and narrowing of the coronary arteries that can cause a blockage and heart attack. Alcohol also reduces the stickiness of the blood and interferes with the formation of clots.

    Boston, MA - Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have found that moderate alcohol consumption among people who have a specific version of a gene that metabolizes alcohol have a greater reduction in risk of heart disease and higher HDL (good cholesterol) levels. The findings appear in the February 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, www.nejm.com.

    The team studied the influence of a gene that codes for alcohol dehydrogenase type 3 (ADH3), which breaks down alcohol. An inherited difference in this gene yields two forms, one that works faster than the other. Among the study participants, those who consumed alcohol moderately had a lower risk of heart disease. However, among the moderate drinkers, those with the gene that breaks down alcohol more slowly, had higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and a greater reduction in risk for heart disease, compared to participants with the gene for the faster enzyme

    Lisa Hines, lead author and graduate student in the Department of Epidemiology at HSPH said about the findings, "The study results support that it is the alcohol in alcoholic beverages that is responsible for the reduction in risk of heart disease, not other ingredients in alcoholic beverages or lifestyle factors associated with alcohol consumption."



    This is what I want. You have given me nothing but opinion and your understanding of what acohol does is not sufficient. I could fine more articles like this and also ones about why marijuana is bad, along with the benefits. Your opinion on why one is better than the other is not sufficient. Please do more research before you post on subjects like this. This is not a flame, but just a suggestion.
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    This post was made by pjorstad, I moved it:

    You *******s are totally blowing my Sugar Free Red Bull thread

    Hehe well you didn't expect it with a red bull advertisement in the NUTRITION forum? hehehe


    Anyways imo marijuana has its down sides but its mostly mental for bodybuilding. If your doing it every day chances areyour gonna lose your motivation faster then Rosie O donnel puts down those hamburger and fries. I could imagine if your smart about its use you can actually use it to your advantage. Say your appetite is gone, well it definitely increases it IMO. Say your having insomnia, wellit willhelp there too with no damage to test levels etc. Just treat it like adrug and it can be used to your ADVANTAGE.


    Anyways its getting late, good night.
    Last edited by jweave23; 01-30-2003 at 01:33 AM.
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    New Study


    Study Says Drinking Can Boost Testosterone Levels
    1/21/2003

    A new animal study hints that people who consume alcohol may experience a surge in testosterone levels in the brain and blood, perhaps explaining the cause of violent drunken behavior, Reuters reported Jan. 15.

    "Marked increases in brain testosterone might be relevant to aggressive behavior in some individuals," said Dr. Robert H. Purdy, senior author of the new report. "You need to keep in mind the word 'some,' however."

    Purdy and colleagues at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., tested the testosterone levels of male rats. The researchers found that drinking temporarily increases testosterone levels, depending on how much alcohol was consumed and the drinker's "personal characteristics."

    Researchers have been looking at the effects of alcohol on testosterone to learn why men have a higher rate of alcoholism and to determine any links between alcohol and violence and drinking and male sexual dysfunction.

    Previous research has shown that alcohol lowers testosterone levels. According to Purdy, additional research is being conducted to determine why and how alcohol could both lower and raise testosterone levels.

    The latest study is published in the January 2003 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
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    Lets set the facts straight!&nbsp; I have this post broken down into 2 sections, Alcohol and marijuana with alcohol being comprised of many subsections.&nbsp; I won't personally dispute some of the posts on this thread, you can read it for yourself...&nbsp;
    &nbsp;

    ALCOHOL


    &nbsp;
    <DIV class=pageHeader>Growth Hormone </DIV>The deleterious effects of ethanol on humans and animals is consistent and well-established in both adults and adolescents, with decreases in GH levels, GH mRNA (24), as well as GH releasing factor mRNA levels (25). In adolescent rats, administration of 3g/kg of ethanol, which, due to the faster metabolism of rats produced blood alcohol levels equivalent to only about 4-6 drinks for humans, caused a massive drop in GH levels to just 4-7% of control by the 1.5 hour mark (26) -- Levels were still down 66-86% after 24 hours. In adult rats, the same 3g/kg caused total suppression of GH release, with 2g/kg causing significant but not total suppression (27).

    In young adult male humans, 1.5mg/kg disrupted the nocturnal rhythm of GH secretion in all subjects, as well as decreasing overall release by 30% (28). 1g/kg almost completely inhibited the nocturnal rise in growth hormone levels, while a mere .5mg/kg resulted in levels 1/3 that of control (29). Inhibition of hepatic IGF-1 synthesis (30, 31), and the IGF-1/IGFBP-1 ratio (31, 32), a marker of IGF-1 bioavailability, have also been shown to be negatively effected by ethanol.

    CORTISOL

    <DIV class=sectionText>Ethanol has been found to both directly, and indirectly -- via increases in ACTH (33), increase cortisol production. 1.75g/kg increased levels by 152% at 4 hours and was still significantly higher than control at 24 hours in adult males (34). In addition, consumption of ethanol along with exercise resulted in a 61% increase in cortisol over alcohol alone (35) . A study of adolescents admitted to the hospital with acute alcohol intoxication showed ACTH and cortisol levels 10 and 1.6 times that of controls in females, and 5.9 and 1.4 times as high in males -- however, a general stress response much be considered as a possibility in these circumstances (36).

    Other studies, however, have not found such effects (28, 37, 38). Thus, some researchers have concluded that any increases in cortisol are due to a stress response from nausea rather than a direct effect of ethanol (38, 39). And, indded, in one study, a subjects that vomited displayed cortisol levels 5 times as high as his baseline value (28).

    </DIV>
    <DIV class=sectionText>
    <DIV class=pageHeader>Testosterone

    Finally, we get to the good part -- or bad, if you like to hit the sauce with regularity. Acute ingestion of ethanol has been fairly consistently shown to significantly suppress testosterone production in both animals and humans, adults and adolescents. We will first look at the mechanisms involved, then turn to studies looking at actual testosterone levels.

    Ethanol exerts its hypogonadic effects through several direct and indirect mechanisms. The primary mechanism is through direct suppression of leydig cell functions, either through a direct toxic effect (including reduction of LH receptors) (47,48), free radical activity -- selenium was found to ameliorate ethanol induced testosterone suppression (49), through reductions of 3beta-HSD (this is the enzyme that converts androstenediol to testosterone as well as DHEA to androstenedione) (50), 17beta-HSD (converts androstenedione to testosterone) (51), and 17,20 lysase (converts progesterone to androstenedione) (50), and through depletion of NADPH generating enzymes -- NADPH is a cofactor utilized in many steps of steroidogenesis (52), and ethanol administration has been shown to result in a decrease in the enzymes responsible for the generation of NADPH (53, 54).

    Ethanol has also been shown to decrease LH releasing hormone at the hypothalamus (55), to decrease LH release at the pituitary (56), as well as to inhibit betaLH mRNA in vitro (57). This could be mediated by endogenous opiates as they are known to be increased by ethanol, and opiate antagonists have been shown to increase LH release as well as to block ethanol induced testosterone suppression at the testicular level (58).

    Nitric oxide (NO) has also been implicated in this suppression (remember that next time you pop some Viagra or a tribulus product). While NO stimulates LH releasing hormone in the hypothalamus (59) and LH release in the pituitary (60), its overall effect o­n testosterone is negative due to its effects at the gonadal level (61). Substances that increase NO levels have been shown to inhibit testosterone secretion (61), as well as possibly inhibiting steroidogenic enzymes (62). Concomitant use of L-NAME, L-NA, or 7Ni (nitric oxide synthase inhibitors) with ethanol completely prevented the fall in testosterone seen with 3g/kg ethanol (63,64).

    Another interesting possibility is a mechanism involving a neural connection between the brain and the gonads via adrenergic receptors. It has been shown that direct injection of adrenergic agonists into the hypothalamus decreased testosterone production at the testes, without a change in LH levels (65). As we saw in part 1, ethanol is known to increase catecholamine levels in the CNS. And, indeed injection of both phentolamine (alpha adrenergic antagonist) and propranolol (beta antagonist) were found to partially overcome ethanol's suppressive effect o­n HCG stimulated testosterone production (66).

    Before you go out and get these drugs, remember that adrenergic stimulation, PERIPHERALLY, has a positive effect o­n testosterone levels. However, if anyone knows of adrenergic antagonists that o­nly act centrally, not peripherally, feel free to let us know.

    Let's now turn to some studies that looked directly at testosterone levels following acute alcohol administration. In adult males, 1.3g/kg of ethanol (about 10 drinks for a 200 lb person), caused a significant decrease vs. basal levels at the 60 minute mark. Differences for the next two hours were not significant, though the researches did not utilize a control group, so the natural morning rise in testosterone could have masked any effects (38). 1.5g/kg lowered levels by an average of 23% over a 24 hour period (28). 1.75g/kg lowered levels by 27% and 16% at 12 and 24 hours, respectively (34). Adolescent males admitted to the hospital for alcohol intoxication were found to have 21% lower testosterone levels than controls (36).

    A couple of studies have looked at alcohol and exercise. 1.5g/kg depressed testosterone by more than 20% by 1 hour and was still depressed by the same margin at hour 10 (37). Interestingly, when the same ethanol dose was preceded by an exercise session, the suppressive effect continued for 22 hours -- and when exercise was performed during a hangover, significant suppression (21-32%) vs. ethanol alone continued for 26 hours. Compared to control, both ethanol groups had significantly lower testosterone levels for 42 hours - this is almost 2 full days. A much smaller intake (.83g/kg) did not result in a significant decrease (35).

    All of this is at what are fairly moderate doses. Let's take a look at binge drinking doses.

    Probably for ethical reasons, doses equating to 20+ drinks have not been studied in humans, so we must settle for rat data, but considering the effects at lower doses seem quite similar, these studies are likely quite relevant -- and could actually underestimate the effect, since, as we mentioned, these doses resulted in much lower blood alcohol levels in rats than humans.

    3g/kg caused massive suppression of testosterone (67). Between hours 1.5 and 96 (yes, 4 days later), testosterone was reduced between 50-75% and, even a full week later, it was still down 40%. By week two, it was finally back to control level. 3g/kg also reduced HCG stimulated testosterone secretion by 75% (66). In male macaque monkeys, 2.5 and 3.5g/kg reduced testosterone levels by 63 and 70%, respectively (68)

    One study in adolescent rats found that testosterone levels doubled for the first 3 of weeks of ethanol ingestion (69) -- however, this was with an intake equal to 90 drinks per day for a 200 lb person. If anyone tries this, please report back with your results.

    On the other hand, levels below 1g/kg seem to have no deleritous effects (35, 70).

    Another interesting tidbit -- increased testosterone levels were found to correlate with decreased symptoms of withdrawal in alcoholics -- and the authors recommended supplemental testosterone as a possible treatment strategy (71). Wonder if a doctor would buy this?? </DIV>


    <DIV class=sectionText>
    <DIV class=pageHeader>Alcohol and Estrogen</DIV>

    <DIV class=sectionText>Chronic alcoholics, in addition to being hypogonadal, exhibit sign of overt feminization (72). There is some evidence to suggest that ethanol might also increase the aromatization of testosterone to estradiol. Consumption of .9 - 2.1g/kg of beer or wine significantly (P &lt;0.05 to P&lt; 0.001) increased estradiol levels in healthy adult humans (73). A study in rats found levels of estradiol increased by 60% (to go along with 55% lower test levels) - however, this was with the equivalent of about 13 drinks/day for 1-2 months (74).

    In addition, alcohol administration has been shown to increase estrogen receptor density (75, 76) and to decrease levels of a estradiol binding protein (77, 78) -- as well as to lower androgen receptor numbers (76). However, this has primarily been found in conjunction with alcoholic liver disease, so its relevance to acute consumption in questionable.

    Another possibility is the existence of phytoestrogens in alcoholic beverages. Hops, used as a flavoring agent and preservative in beer, contains several powerful phytoestrogens, including 8-prenylnaringenin, genistein, and daidzein (79, 80). And, congeners, which are found primarily in dark liquors such as bourbon and wines have been found to contain biochanin A, beta-sitosterol (72, 80)

    </DIV>
    <DIV class=sectionText>
    <DIV class=pageHeader>Protein Synthesis </DIV>

    <DIV class=sectionText>Both ethanol and its metabolic byproduct, aldehyde, have been shown to reduce protein synthesis in skeletal muscle (85, 86, 87, 88). To make matters worse, it is predominately Type II, fast-twitch fibers that are affected, with type IIB being hit the hardest (85, 86, 87). This is not a good thing for bodybuilders, and it is a very bad thing for athletes.

    With acute administration of real-world doses (.8 - 2.0g/kg) of ethanol, reductions in protein synthesis of 20-30% have been seen within about o­ne to two hours of administration, this is before the previously reviewed hormonal changes occur, indicating that alcohol is exerting a direct effect (85, 86, 88). Within 24 hours, decreases of as high as 63% have been shown to occur (86), which likely reflects the added contribution of negative hormonal changes.

    The mechanism behind this is not fully characterized. Reduction in both mRNA (86) and translational efficiency (87) have been observed. The generation of free-radicals, which are known to be increased by ethanol (89, 90), could be involved (91). Low levels of selenium and alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) are found in alcoholics with myopathy (muscle wasting) (92). However, there is also evidence that does not support this theory (93). Another possibility is direct ischemic damage (94).

    Given alcohol's hormonal effects and its direct effects o­n protein synthesis, if you are going to indulge in fairly heavy alcohol consumption, it would probably be a very good idea to utilize a topical prohormone formulation (or a short-acting injectable ester of the real thing) the evening of drinking and the next day in order to minimize the damage to your hard earned muscle. </DIV>



    <DIV class=sectionText>Indirect Effects: Immune System </DIV>
    <DIV class=sectionText>

    <DIV class=sectionText>Even moderate, acute ethanol consumption can significantly influence susceptibility to infections caused by viral and bacterial pathogens -- and alcohol is usually consumed in a social setting, where exposure to pathogens will be increased. Obviously, if o­ne is sick, workouts will suffer. -- thus, this is important.

    Both in vitro and in vivo administration of ethanol blunts inflammatory cytokine response to bacterial stimulation (95, 96). Monocyte production of IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-alpha are decreased (97) - leading to defective host defense against microbial infection (98). In addition, immunomodulatory cytokines such as IL-10 and TGF-beta as well as the prostaglandin PGE2, are increased (97), leading to a downregulation of production of antigen specific T-cells - increasing susceptibility to viral infections (99).


    Testosterone and Females

    Ethanol's effects o­n the female bodybuilder, however, are not so bleak. Because female testosterone production occurs primarily outside the gonadal structures (81), ethanol's effect o­n LH is not as relevant -- and its effects o­n Leydig cells obviously are not at all relevant. In addition, ethanol is known to stimulate adrenal activity (82) -- 25% of female testosterone production is produced as an intermediate in the production of cortisol in the adrenals (81).

    This results in INCREASED testosterone levels in women after ethanol consumption. As little as .4g/kg caused a significant increase in testosterone levels (83),and 1.2g/kg and 2g/kg caused increases of 25% and 54% respectively (84).

    Interestingly, serum epitestosterone is not proportionally increased, nor are urinary levels, thus the testosterone to epitestosterone ratio (T:Ep) used in athletic drug screenings is skewed. The same study mentioned above resulted in a T:Ep ratio of around 4.5 compared to 1.5 before drinking. Individual increases ranged from 1.9 to 8.7 times baseline (84). Given that the testing cutoff is 6:1, it is easy to see that this could result in a false positive (or perhaps be used as a handy excuse for a true positive).</DIV>
    <DIV class=sectionText>

    ----------------

    <DIV class=sectionText>Marijuana!


    Marijuana has long been reputed to either decrease testosterone levels, increase estrogen levels, or both. This would have negative effects on bodybuilders for many obvious reasons. In this post, I will explore this issue. A related issue I will also explore is marijuana's effects on fertility.

    Laboratory Research

    Animal studies have shown that THC can have an effect on sex hormones. Unfortunately, because these studies were done for primarily political reasons, extremely large doses were administered. A single large dose has a temporary effect, repeated administrations of smaller doses have little effect to no effect at all. When there is an effect, tolerance quickly develops and levels return to normal. Even when the THC administration gets to the level of severely abusing the animal, no permanent harm to hormone levels or reproductive function have been shown.

    Someone who examines the laboratory research without making note of the amount of THC used in the experiments might well be convinced that THC has an appreciable effect on sex hormones. However, as with the first issue, the empirical evidence and human studies will prove much more revealing.

    Empirical Research On Men

    The first issue is whether or not marijuana reduces testosterone levels in men. One of the first researches to explore this issue was Robert Kolondy, a pseudoscientist who had previously "proved" that homosexuals had lower testosterone levels. In his 1974 studies, he "conclusively" showed that marijuana had a negative effect on testosterone production in men, and his studies are still frequently referenced in the anti-drug literature of today. Numerous studies since then negate his finding. They show no effects on testosterone levels, even after smoking very high doses (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Also, studies of the general population haven't found a difference in testosterone levels of users and nonusers (6, 7, 8).

    The second issue is whether or not marijuana increases estrogen levels in men. As with the testosterone issue, a large amount of studies have been done, although not quite as many. All of them show that marijuana has no effect on estrogen levels in men, even in large doses (5, 7, 9).

    The final issue is fertility. Numerous studies have been done on marijuana's effect on sperm quantity and quality. Marijuana does in fact reduce sperm count. Note that this is not synonymous with impotence or infertility; marijuana should not be used for birth control. The studies only show a marginal effect. Perhaps the most comprehensive study was done by Hembree, W.C. et al. In this study, men spent 30 days in a closed laboratory smoking 20 joints a day. Decreases in sperm count and motility were found, although they were still within normal ranges. After marijuana use was discontinued, the numbers quickly returned to where they were before (10).

    There have also been quite a few studies concerning the effects on sex hormones and fertility in women. I will not cover those here, but if anyone wants further information just let me know.

    Conclusion

    As we can see, the laboratory findings often do not match up with findings in the real world. Laboratory studies can often be tampered with, misrepresented, or misinterpreted for political reasons.

    The claims of effects on testosterone and estrogen levels in men are unfounded. So why do we so commonly see it in the media? There are a few reasons. First, people generally associate marijuana with an unhealthy lifestyle, so when they are confronted with conflicting evidence, they'll choose the side that is more anti-marijuana. In other words, their preconceptions guide their decision-making. Second, in mainstream media - health magazines, bodybuilding magazines, and the like - people often regurgitate what they heard somewhere else. Staff writers are not researchers; they are entertainers. It is not their job to provide people with well-researched information, rather with information that will provoke an emotional reaction. They're writing an article on "things to avoid when bodybuilding," and they need to fill in a blank, so they type in "smoking weed." Not many people are going to know whether they're actually telling the truth, because few people have researched it in depth. Third, strong claims have a much higher chance of getting around than weak ones. Take the example of Cell-Tech. They sell a lot of that stuff, and the reason is that they make strong claims. You don't know how many people in my hometown have told me, "It's 30 times better than creatine!" The phrase "marijuana doesn't affect hormone levels" doesn't mean much, but "marijuana will turn you into a woman" is something you'll remember.


    References
    1. Mendelson, J.H. et al., "Plasma Testosterone Levels Before, During, And After Marijuana Smoking," New England Journal of Medicine 291, 1051-55 (1974).
    2. Schaefer, C.F. et al., "Normal Plasma Testosterone Concentrations After Marijuana Smoking," New England Journal of Medicine 292, 867-68 (1975).
    3. Mendelson, J.H. et al., "Effects of Chronic Marijuana Use on Integrated Plasma Testosterone and Luteinizing Hormone Levels," Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 207, 611-17 (1978).
    4. Hembree, W.C. et al., "Marihuana's Effects on Human Gonadal Function," pp.521-32 in Nahas, G.G. (ed), Marijuana: Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Cellular Effects, New York: Springer-Verlag (1976).
    5. Cone, E.J. et al., "Acute Effects on Marijuana on Hormones, Subjective Effects and Performance in Male Human Subjects," Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 24, 1749-54 (1986).
    6. Cushman, P., "Plasma Testosterone Levels in Healthy Male Marijuana Smokers," American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 2, 269-75 (1975).
    7. Block, R.I. et al., "Effects of Chronic Marijuana Use on Testosterone, Luteinizing Hormone, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Prolactin and Cortisol in Men and Women," Drug and Alcohol Dependence 28, 121-28 (1991).
    8. Coggins, W.J. Et al., "Health Status of Chronic Heavy Cannabis Users," Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 282, 148-61 (1976).
    9. Abel, E.L., "Marijuana and Sex: A Critical Survey," Drug and Alcohol Dependence 8, 1-22 (1981).
    10. Hembree, W.C. et al., "Changes in Human Spermatozoa Associated with High Dose Marihuana Smoking," pp.429-39 in Nahas, G.G. and Paton, W.D.M. (eds), Marihuana: Biological Effects, Oxford: Pergamon Press (1979).[/color][/color][/color]</DIV></DIV></DIV></DIV></DIV></DIV>
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    Nice Nelson, that's more of what we were looking for.
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    Great post WYD. Shows all aspects.
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    Great work to all you guys. You supported it from all sides. Nice job to see people working together as a team. I still like alcohol
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    Warning: Opinion


    I like both and all (pot a little more) but I choose not to do either. If I did even occasionally use drugs, like spend 20 bucks on four joints or something, then I would have wasted enough money to get some protein powder or creatine or something. Money that I dont have.
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    T and Drugs

    As a former willing participant in the bodybuilding subculture, I know quite a bit about what makes bodybuilders tick as well as many of the oddities of the lifestyle. One observation I've made over the years is that bodybuilders really like to take pills.

    Regardless of whether they're prescription drugs, OTC drugs and supplements, or even good old Fred, Barney and Wilma in sugary vitamin form, bodybuilders will down handfuls at a time as a ritual of worship to the muscle gods. And I'll be the first one to admit that in my day, I had a thing for Betty Rubble. I used to eat mouthfuls of the tiny vixen while making poor Barney watch.

    Although Flintstones vitamins probably do not impact T, many recreational, prescription, and OTC drugs do. Lets start with everyone's favorite drug, alcohol. In my opinion, alcohol is the single best legal Testosterone suppressor known to mankind. And you don't need a biochemistry experiment to realize that. Just look at the physique of any alcoholic for the evidence. And not only do chronic alcoholics suffer from low T as a result of sippin' a cold one. Numerous studies have shown that even one night on the town can cause T levels to plummet.

    In one particular study, men consumed the equivalent of giving 200 ml of alcohol to a 176-lb man. While intoxicated, T levels were 25% lower on average than before consumption. In addition, the time course of T decrease correlated exactly with blood alcohol so when blood alcohol was the highest, blood T was the lowest.(17) With even lower doses, T levels remained suppressed for 10-16 hours, even after blood alcohol returned to normal.(23,24)

    As a side note, one question I'm often asked by men concerns why they get so aroused when drinking. Well gents, in addition to the decrease of inhibitions, the body is fighting to maintain Testosterone homeostasis. As a result, high amounts of LH are released in order to bring T levels back to normal. As mentioned earlier, LH is correlated more with arousal than T, so that's why you get horny, you dogs. The problem, though, is that high LH secretion is ineffective at increasing T during an alcoholic stupor. Alcohol, you see, prevents T production at the Leydig cell level and not at the pituitary level. So you're arousal is up, but T stays down.

    You don't drink? Well here is just a list of other drugs that decrease T levels in one way or another3,4,25)

    1) Aspirin

    2) Marijuana

    3) Codeine

    4) Opioids like Morphine, Methadone, and Heroin

    You'll notice that a few of these drugs are used for pain. These drugs act on the central nervous system to produce analgesia, a desired effect for guys who pound their muscles day in and day out in the gym. Before you load up on the painkillers though, consider that one group of researchers actually uses T depletion in the blood as an assay for narcotic effectiveness.(3)

    What this means is that the better a drug is at producing analgesia, the more it will reduce Testosterone levels. It's believed that these drugs act on the pituitary to block LH secretion and ultimately, T production.(25)

    Two other drugs I'd like to mention are Nolvadex and thyroid hormone. Some authors have speculated that both drugs can increase T levels. I'm not convinced. In men who are severely hypothyroid, thyroid medication can increase total T levels.(10) But the doses needed are high. If you're dumb enough to try huge doses of thyroid hormone to try to increase your total T, the catabolic effects of that amount of thyroid would negate any anabolic effects of the increased T.

    Both Nolvadex and thyroid drugs also increase SHBG.(10) Remember that the goal in increasing Testosterone levels is to increase bioavailable T — not just total T. If SHBG goes up as total T goes up, then the bioavailable Testosterone may stay the same, or worse yet, decrease. Don't get the wrong idea, though. Optimizing thyroid function through supplements produces a different effect than taking thyroid drugs. Either way, this course of action should help you lose body fat, but I don't think it will increase T levels one bit.

    In summary, for maximum T, be cautious of how you use alcohol, marijuana, and painkillers. If you're going to assault your boys with alcohol, perhaps a few shots of diol would be an appropriate chaser. If painkillers have a shelf of their own in your medicine cabinet, perhaps an LH booster like Tribulus would be of benefit to your testis.


    3)Cicero, TJ. J Pharm Exp Thera 202 (3): 670-675, 1977.

    4)Conte, D et al., Am J Physiol (Endocrinol Metab, 40) 277: E1032-E1037, 1999.

    10)Greenspan, FS et al., Basic and Clinical Endocrinology. Appleton and Lange, 1997

    17)Mendelson, JH et al., J Pharmacol Exp Ther 202 (3): 676-682, 1977.

    23)Valemaki, M et al., Alcohol Clin Exp 14: 928-931, 1990.

    24)Valemaki, M et al, Alcoholism 1: 89-93, 1984.

    25)Vermeulen A, Environmental Health Perspectives Supplements 101 (supplement 2): 91-100, 1998.
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    Alcohol's Effects On Testosterone
    January 15, 2003
    (Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research) -- Even though testosterone is often referred to as a "male sex hormone," it is in actuality common to both genders of animals and humans. The overwhelming majority of research conducted in the past 25 years in both animals and humans has found that alcohol inhibits testosterone secretion. However, a new study in the January issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has found that acute administration of alcohol can induce a rapid increase in plasma and brain concentrations of testosterone in some rodents.

    "We have demonstrated that there are very different results in the way two different groups of male rats form testosterone after acute administration of alcohol," said Robert H. Purdy, senior staff scientist in the department of neuropharmacology at The Scripps Research Institute and senior author of the study. "These differences in animals may reflect similar individual differences in humans, and provide new insights for understanding individual differences in the behavioral and endocrine pathology associated with alcohol abuse."

    Researchers injected either alcohol or 1,1-dideuteroethanol (2 g alcohol/kg body weight) into the abdominal cavities of two groups of rats, 30 un-operated and 24 adrenalectomized and castrated (ADX/GDX) Wistar males. 1,1-dideuteroethanol is a nonradioactive form of alcohol in which two of the hydrogen atoms on carbon atom #1 of ethanol have been replaced by deuterium atoms, which can then be traced. Study authors used mass spectrometry, a very precise measure of the mass and structure of compounds derived from extracts of tissues and body fluids, to determine both the amount of neuroactive steroids present and the degree of deuterium incorporation into specific neuroactive steroids isolated from brain samples.

    They found that concentrations of testosterone increased fourfold in the frontal cortex and threefold in the plasma of the un-operated rats 30 minutes after alcohol administration. ADX/GDX rats had testosterone concentrations that were only five percent of those found in the un-operated rats following alcohol administration. Tracing the effects of 1,1-dideuteroethanol demonstrated that alcohol oxidation is directly linked to testosterone biosynthesis.

    "Our finding of a direct link between alcohol administration and the level of the neuroactive steroid testosterone in the brain of these experimental animals was unanticipated from prior studies with another species of rats," Purdy said.

    "Although many other studies clearly demonstrate that chronic consumption of high dosages of alcohol appears to be consistently inhibitory and suppresses reproductive function," said Dennis D. Rasmussen, research associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Washington, "this study raises the possibility that episodes of alcohol consumption may also at least temporarily increase testosterone levels, with the direction of the response likely being dependent upon a variety of factors, including dosage and personal characteristics. This particular dosage produced blood alcohol levels and behavioral responses consistent with intoxication. So, alcohol consumption, under at least some conditions and by at least some individuals, may acutely stimulate testosterone levels in the plasma and brain of both males and females and thus could elicit some of the behavioral effects associated with increased testosterone levels, such as increased libido or aggression."

    Rasmussen added that these findings join those of two other studies in which alcohol administration increased plasma testosterone levels in a gender- and dose-dependent manner. "Together these studies are important," he said, "because they illustrate that what has become a largely accepted principal - that alcohol consumption inhibits plasma testosterone levels and reproductive function - is not universally true."

    Rasmussen suggested that future research build upon and add to previous findings regarding alcohol's effects on testosterone. "It would be important to determine whether lower dosages of alcohol, which do not induce rapid pronounced intoxication and ataxia, would also produce the acute increase in testosterone, and whether this response to lower dosages would be consistent across different strains of rats. Also, does tolerance develop with repeated administrations? Does this increase in testosterone occur following elective self-administration of alcohol? Finally, and probably most interesting, what role might the demonstrated changes in testosterone play in behavioral responses to acute ethanol consumption? Are there gender differences in these responses? And, if the responses do occur in females, are they different during different stages of a woman's cycle?"
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    Ok good post, but lets take a look at the study.&nbsp; They administered 2G/kg. In a 80kg person, that would be 160G of alcohol or equivalent to 1120 empty calories.&nbsp; This doesn't sound so hot in itself, even with the rise of test.&nbsp; In reality, you probably wouldn't see the same rise in test if doing this every day and surely would&nbsp;screw your liver if you did it for too long.&nbsp; In addition,&nbsp;160G alcohol is equal to about 8 shots of liquor @ 80 proof - clearly you would be **** faced and unable to lift weights.&nbsp; To top it off, their test was after 30 minutes of ingestion...&nbsp; I didn't read anything about testing after 1 hour, 5 hours, etc.&nbsp; but I suspect that testosterone was supressed considerably.&nbsp; The spike they might have received would be useless because who is going down 8 shots and go pump iron?&nbsp; Futhermore, the mixture was injected into the abdominal and done in rats.&nbsp; This is not to say that the study is not valid, but as always, we have to take note that rats and humans process things differently.&nbsp; Lastly, there have been many studies on the supression of testosterone in humans from alcohol consumption.&nbsp; This is one study and to my knowledge, has yet to be reproduced.

    Just some ideas

    WYD
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    Well you may have misinterpreted it, these people arent taking shots or drinking to spike their testosterone levels, that never was the intention. Its simply showing the effects of alcohol on testosterone levels in that given window. You can search for hjundreds of articles that say over time alcohol is dtermental to moderate to high testosterone levels and I believe that. I dont drink for a few reasons, this being on, others being the liver damage, cholesterol (LDL) increasement and not to mention all those empty calories.

    On the other hand, regardless of the effects of marijuana on testosterone levels (I dont think anyone has clearly justified smoking pot as being effective), I simply do not smoke marijuana for the lung damage it causes and the lethargy. And people say "Oh, I only smoke pot once every couple of weeks and its not bad if you only smoke occasionally" To that I say, get a ****ing hint, pot has proven to be a gateway drug and IS addictive, so that every couple of weeks turns into once a week, then to every other day, and so on. I used to work with people who smoked every chance they got and I eneded up beating the **** out of one of the lazy bastards for ordering me around to do work his stoned ass couldnt do. Pot smokers ARE generally lazy individuals, and I want no part of that.
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    Well everyone has their opinions but in terms of pot smokers I tend to agree with YJ. My reason is simple. If you have to illegally purchase a substance that give you a some sort of euphoric feeling, then it just shows you might tend to go further along after the effects of pot begin to diminish (hence the gateway drug reference). To me its the mindset you put yourself in. I can do this with alchohol without the legal ramifications. This is just my opinion of course.

    Now in terms of effects, I think in terms of moderation both can positive AND adverse effects. Its simply a choice you make.
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    The simple fact is you guys aren't speaking from your PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. ANd even if you are marijuana is not a gateway drug ANYMORE THEN ALCHOL because i have dried other harder drugs and guess what i would prefer marijuan over ANY other drug pretty much. I prefer marijuana for its effects and safety. Leave the b.s media hype to someone who doesn't smoke pot and hasn't tried other drugs to compare.
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    marijuana's addictiveness is different for everyone. I like marijuana but don't enjoy alchol too much for some reason. however some are just the opposite. so the addictiveness argument proves nothing.


    The motivation issue though is a problem ill agree and thats why im staying away for now even if i had access because as you said one week turns into every day and before you know it your motivation gets shut down fast.
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    Originally posted by pjorstad
    The simple fact is you guys aren't speaking from your PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. ANd even if you are marijuana is not a gateway drug ANYMORE THEN ALCHOL because i have dried other harder drugs and guess what i would prefer marijuan over ANY other drug pretty much. I prefer marijuana for its effects and safety. Leave the b.s media hype to someone who doesn't smoke pot and hasn't tried other drugs to compare.
    How the hell do you know?

    About the gateway drug, go read my post over. Its the mindset, not the physical aspect. Before you post diffinitive answers for all of us, please no what the $#@! your talking about.
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    Originally posted by pjorstad
    The simple fact is you guys aren't speaking from your PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.
    Wrong. Ive done pot. Ive drank. Neither are needed or relevant to life. Only hurt you in the long run. Parents were both killed by a drunk driver. Thats personal experience.


    ANd even if you are marijuana is not a gateway drug ANYMORE THEN ALCHOL because i have dried other harder drugs and guess what i would prefer marijuan over ANY other drug pretty much.
    You just contradicted yourself. Earlier you said its different for everyone, so that also would apply here, so throw this argument out.


    I prefer marijuana for its effects and safety. Leave the b.s media hype to someone who doesn't smoke pot and hasn't tried other drugs to compare.
    Actually, I remember hearing 1 in every 3 people smoke pot (personally thought it would be 50% of people but ah well). You're defending pot like its God's gift to the world. It's illegal for a reason. No B.S media hyper for me, I take that with a grain of salt, this is a personal observation.


    marijuana's addictiveness is different for everyone.
    Can you provide a study to back this up? Im pretty sure marijuana has the same physiological effects on everyone.


    I like marijuana but don't enjoy alchol too much for some reason. however some are just the opposite. so the addictiveness argument proves nothing.
    Through all your rambling, you have yet to prove anything really. You can not speak for everyone when you say its not additive for everyone. THC is much like nictotine, or else you wouldnt have so many repeat pot smokers right? You smoke it because you like hte feeling, then you smoke it because you had a ****ty day, then you smoke it because your girlfriend broke up with you, then you smoke it because you're bored, eventually (much like cigarettes) you smoke it on a regualr basis because your life is stressful and you cant live without it (another personal experience, and Ive seen it happen all too many times.)
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    Can you provide a study to back this up? Im pretty sure marijuana has the same physiological effects on everyone.
    its mostly psychological addiction so like alchol a lot of people don't become addicted to it. I can get addicted to alchol and i hate the stuff just to show you a point. Reason being i have an addictive PERSONALITY so anything that has any euphoria i can get addicted to even if the side effects i don't enjoy. ALthough i find marijuana much easier to get addicted but some people will say the opposite, it all dpends on the person, everyone will preference one over the other.


    Yellojacket i don't smoke pot right now and haven't in a long time. Would I if given easy access right now??? Probably if given the opportunity but i would try to severely limit it as i know that doing it too often would hurt my motivation.
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    Originally posted by pjorstad


    its mostly psychological addiction so like alchol a lot of people don't become addicted to it.
    Please re-read this. You contradicted yourself all in one sentence.



    ALthough i find marijuana much easier to get addicted but some people will say the opposite


    You said earlier that you couldnt get addicted to it and YOU could get addicted to alcohol much easier.....which is it?

    Yellojacket i don't smoke pot right now.
    It's actually YellowJacket and alcohol has another "o" in it too.
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    You're also leaving out the fact that marijuana raises blood pressure and speeds up the heart rate. This study is done in older men, I realize that, but these effects are certainly prevelant and can build up over time:

    By Peggy Peck

    March 2, 2000 (San Diego) -- The Woodstock generation is getting some very bad news: Marijuana smoking in middle age may trigger a heart attack in those who still indulge. Marijuana smokers increase their risk of having a heart attack almost five times within one hour of lighting up, according to a study presented here at an American Heart Association (AHA) meeting.

    "This is the first documented link between marijuana and heart attack," says Murray A. Mittleman, MD, PhD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston.

    Mittleman states that the spike in risk quickly decreases after an hour passes. Pot smokers are twice as likely as nonsmokers to have a heart attack one to two hours after lighting up.

    To put that increased risk in perspective, Mittleman says that the risk of heart attack increases 100 times when a couch potato decides to shovel snow, and it "increase[s] 2.5-fold with sex."

    AHA president Lynn A. Smaha, MD, PhD, says that he will share the findings with colleagues, such as cancer specialists, who may be prescribing medical marijuana to treat nausea and poor appetite. "Any drug has the potential for adverse side effects," says Smaha. He says marijuana should be approached with the same caution as that used with other drugs.

    A third of the patients studied by Mittleman and colleagues were women, and the age range was 20 to 92. The patients were interviewed three days after having a heart attack. The interviews were designed to determine any possible contributing factor during the days and weeks leading up to the heart attack, according to Mittleman.

    Of the nearly 3,900 people Mittleman studied, about 3% reported being regular marijuana users. Thirty-seven said they smoked marijuana within 24 hours of the heart attack, and "nine patients said they used it within an hour of [the onset of symptoms]," says Mittleman.

    Smaha says it is clear that "more research needs to be done to delve into the mechanism at work here." Mittleman agrees and says that his study doesn't provide enough information to determine whether it is marijuana itself that is causing the increased risk or whether it is associated with other elements in the smoke, such as carbon monoxide. He says it is clear that "inhaled fine particles have adverse health effects." But the risk appears to be limited to older marijuana smokers. "Most of the regular marijuana users in the study were in their 40s and 50s and the oldest was 68."

    Mittleman did note some interesting differences between the users and nonusers of marijuana. Those who had smoked marijuana prior to having a heart attack were much younger, with an average age of 44 compared to 62 in the nonsmokers. Also, the marijuana users were less likely to have other risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and were less likely to have had a history of chest pain prior to the heart attack, says Mittleman.

    The study also shows that frequent marijuana use was certainly not a requirement to be at risk of having a heart attack. Of the marijuana users, 32 used it a few times a month and 40 used marijuana less than once a month, Mittleman says.

    The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a Washington-based group that lobbies for laws to decriminalize marijuana use and supports the use of medical marijuana, immediately issued a press release warning that the study could be misinterpreted. MPP spokesperson Chuck Thomas tells us, "Our concern is that some legislator is going to say that marijuana causes heart attacks. That's not what this study says." Six states have decriminalized marijuana use and several others are considering similar laws. Thomas says the risk of adverse events with marijuana use is "comparable to [the] risk associated with legal drugs."

    At a press conference, several reporters asked about the timing of the study. Mittleman says that his team decided to do the study in response to last year's report on marijuana from the Institute of Medicine (IOM). That report concluded that there was no significant risk of heart disease due to marijuana in young marijuana users but urged a study of its effect in older populations. "We just decided to take IOM up on that suggestion."



    Vital Information:

    New research reports that during the first hour after smoking marijuana, one's risk of heart attack jumps nearly five times. By comparison, a sedentary person shoveling snow increases heart attack risk 100 times. Having sexual intercourse would raise heart attack risk in the same person 2.5 times.
    Observers say the apparent risk of heart attack should be considered even in cases where the drug is used medically, such as in cancer patients. Marijuana legalization advocates say they fear legislators will interpret this study as a warning that marijuana causes heart attacks.
    Experts add that researchers still need to figure out what marijuana does to the body and why those changes may increase heart attack risk. Scientists also do not know if the drug itself triggers heart problems or if a component in the smoke is to blame, such as carbon monoxide.

  

  
 

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