Middle-age people who have smoked marijuana for many years may have a higher risk of developing gum disease, according to a new study. “What we’re seeing is that cannabis may be harmful in some respects, but possibly not in every way,” Avshalom Caspi, a co-author of the study and a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, said in a statement. “We need to recognize that heavy recreational cannabis use does have some adverse consequences, but overall damage to physical health is not apparent in this study.” In the study, the researchers looked at 1,037 people who were born in New Zealand in 1972 or 1973, and followed them until the people were 38 years old. The researchers examined whether the people had used marijuana when they were between 18 and 38, and whether they had physical health problems at age 38. The researchers found that, among the 38-year-olds who had regularly smoked pot for 15 to 20 years, 55.6 percent had gum disease, also called periodontal disease. In comparison, only 13.5 percent of the 38-year-olds who had never used marijuana had gum disease. In some cases, this disease may lead to tooth loss. The results also showed that the people who had smoked marijuana for up to 20 years had brushed their teeth and flossed less frequently than those who had never smoked marijuana, according to the findings, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. However, the less-frequent brushing and flossing did not explain the link between marijuana use and gum disease, which suggests that marijuana use itself may lead to damage to the gums.
From Huff Post