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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Kidney Concerns
January 2002

Q. I have a close friend who underwent living donor kidney transplant surgery (recipient) in 1997. The transplant was a result of ESRD due to IgA nephropathy. He was told by his nephrologist a few days ago that his IgA nephropathy has now affected his transplanted kidney.

He is currently taking Cyclosporin, Daltiazem, and Predinose. Vasotec was resumed after a finding of a creatinine level of 269. He is also smoking marijuana recreationally.

I would like to know how the marijuana (one "joint" every 2-3 days - absolute max) is affecting his IgA nephropathy, his blood pressure, and his immunosuppressive therapy.

A. The kidney condition is quite a serious matter to begin with. And recent data on marijuana is not at all encouraging as to its safety. Carcinogen levels in marijuana smoke are at higher levels than those in cigarettes, and laboratory studies in mice show evidence that marijuana inhibits some of our natural abilities to fight tumor cells. Similar data are not available in humans, but caution is advised.



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