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When it comes to your health, one of the most important measurements that doctors will make you fret about is your lipid panel. This is a broad category that patients will refer to as cholesterol levels but it is much more than that. A lipid panel is essential to determine a patient's nutritional balance and if they are having adequate diets and exercise programs. Those with bad panels are encouraged to try lifestyle modifications like eating fish or exercising routinely to lose excessive adipose fat and improve their quality of life. For those unable to make an adequate dent in these levels, medications are necessary in order to improve your cholesterol levels. 

Cholesterol is an incorrect term to refer to a number of different important parameters that doctors must consider. The most important measurements on your cholesterol panel would be HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. HDL cholesterol is the good cholesterol and helps clear plaque and other blockages from your arteries. LDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is responsible for transporting these plaques into your blood vessels and the higher the LDL cholesterol, the worse your arteries. Triglycerides represent the levels of carbohydrates that you consume and the higher the triglyceride levels, the higher the adipose fat tissue and the LDL cholesterol levels. In a perfect world, patients should have high HDL levels, low LDL levels and low triglyceride levels. 

As marijuana becomes more popular in modern society as regulations banning the usage are lifted, it is only natural for patients to experiment with it more. As more patients use it, more questions are beginning to be raised about some of the health consequences that marijuana can have on the body. You may hear from friends that it is a great drug to use with chronic pain conditions and has less risk for lung cancer compared to legal substances like cigarettes and as far as current studies go, you are right. Early findings suggest that marijuana can be helpful without the same risks. 

Unfortunately though, as we begin to use this more and more, studies are beginning to uncover some of the negatives associated with this substance. Impotence is a big risk when patients chronically smoke marijuana and sperm count and erections can be effected months after the drug has been halted. Women who use chronically also have a problem having ovulation cycles and could become infertile. 

When we take a look at something like your cholesterol panel, on the surface, it makes sense that LDL levels and triglyceride should increase when you smoke marijuana. Marijuana contains THC, the active compound that gives patients the euphoric state that makes marijuana attractive. This substance also actives gherlin receptors in the brain and makes patients hungry. This is referred to colloquially as the "munchies." When you eat more food, you should have worse cholesterol levels. 

Studies confirm that this pathway does have an effect on the metabolism of patients. In it, 30 heavy marijuana users were compared against control subjects in order to determine if an obvious difference could be observed in their metabolic panels. Those that smokes were found to have significantly higher carbohydrate intake levels as well as total caloric consumption compared to normal individuals and subjects were observed to have more abdominal fat. It was also seen that HDL levels were lower in patients that smoke marijuana. Parameters like fasting glucose levels, LDL levels, triglyceride levels and free fatty acids were unchanged between groups. 

All in all, smoking marijuana can lower your cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, this is the cholesterol that is beneficial to you and you will develop more severe vessel clogging if you smoke marijuana long-term. Even if the LDL and triglyceride panels were similar to controls, higher abdominal fat can make it harder for patients to lose weight, lead to higher blood pressures and increase your risk of having a heart attack at a young age. 

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