Expert warns women over use of marijuana

Funmi Olaitan, Ibadan

A professor of Physiology and former Acting Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, Mrs. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, on Monday, warned that the use of cannabis sativa (Marijuana), by women of childbearing age could prevent pregnancy and also affect men's semen quality.

She gave the warning while delivering 2018 distinguished alumni lecture of Ibadan College of Medicine Alumni Association (ICOMAA) worldwide, held at University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.

Present at the event include Deputy Managing Director, THISDAY, Mr. Kayode Komolafe; Chief Medical Director of UCH, Mr. Temitope Alonge; Provost, College of Medicine, Mr. E. Oluwabunmi Olapade-Olaopa; Mr. Fatai Adeniyi; Mrs. Olufadekemi Kunle-Alabi; S. B. Olaleye; A. O. Ige; Kehinde Adigun and Olayinka Omigbodun, who was chairperson for the 2018 celebration.

Wife of Secretary to Lagos State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, in the lecture titled, "Use of medicinal plants: myths and facts", said study has found that "marijuana leads to a decrease in the level of LH hormone (a hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle and egg production) by as much as 80 per cent. This can cause inhibition of the process of ovulation thus preventing pregnancy."

"Marijuana, in the few cases where fertilization occurs, delayed implantation leading to early miscarriage. Marijuana smokers were reported to have higher levels of testosterone within the same range as cigarette smokers. Our findings are of public interest as Marijuana use is common and may be contributing to recent reports of poor semen quality", she said.

While speaking on the myths surrounding the use of medicinal plants, Olatunji-Bello categorized the most common myths into three categories viz; a medicinal plant can cure many diseases; medicinal plants are natural so they can't be harmful and that medicinal plants have no side effects.

For all the aforementioned three categories, the varsity don harped on the need for scientific-based research to authenticate potency of the herbs before administration, stressing that, "we can say comfortably that one herbal product can treat multiple disease conditions. However the problem arises when one overstates the claim of potency of their herbal product without scientific evidence."

She also recommended that government should formulate a policy on regulation of the use of the herbal medicine in the country and put in place a proper enforcement unit, or empower NAFDAC to do it.

Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Mr. Abel Olayinka and President of ICOMAA worldwide, Mr. Abib Olamitoye, congratulated all members of the association on the 2018 celebration.


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