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April 16, 2003

Modulation of the Immune System in Cannabis Users

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(15):1929-1931. doi:10.1001/jama.289.15.1929-a

To the Editor: In vitro studies and experiments in animal models have found that cannabinoids modulate immune cell function.1 However, investigations of immune effects in human subjects are scarce and contradictory. Gene expression of cannabinoid receptors in peripheral blood mononuclear cells may be altered among marijuana users.2 Experimental data in healthy persons have found abnormalities in T lymphocyte and natural killer (NK) cell function, but have not confirmed that these alterations might affect susceptibility to infections.3 We sought to investigate cell-mediated immune response and cytokine release in cannabis users.