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Prolonged marijuana use can cause gum problems: Study

Prolonged marijuana use can cause gum problems: Study

07-01 | CDAH Team

Most of the American states are on their way to legalizing use of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes even as researchers are conducting more studies to understand the effects of smoking pot. The impact of cannabis on both physical and mental health is complex and lack of adequate research has further contributed to a poor and limited understanding of the impact of the drug on human body.

“Absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence,” thus, the effects of marijuana can be quantified only after an in-depth, unbiased analysis of the drug.

A recent study, titled “Associations Between Cannabis Use and Physical Health Problems in Early Midlife: A Longitudinal Comparison of Persistent Cannabis vs Tobacco Users,” published online in the journal JAMA Psychiatry in June 2016, found a link between long-term use of marijuana and the probability of developing gum disorders.

Heavy recreational cannabis use has adverse consequences

As part of the study, the scientists collected details of 1,037 New Zealanders born in 1972 and 1973 and followed them till they turned 38. They examined the participants for a period of 20 years, starting from the age of 18 years till they reached 38, to see the effect of cannabis use, while keeping in mind other factors such as tobacco use, childhood health and socioeconomic conditions during early part of their lives. The participants were required to report their cannabis use and dependence at ages 18, 21, 26, 32 and 38 years.

Details of physical health, including periodontal health, lung function and metabolic levels, along with the data obtained from self-reported details of physical health at ages 26 years and 38 years, were also collected.

It was found that of the total respondents, 484 were using tobacco on a daily basis, while 675 were regular cannabis users. The researchers also observed that regular use of marijuana led to decreased periodontal health when the users turned 38. On comparing the effects of smoking tobacco and marijuana use, the researchers observed that the use of cannabis joints during the period of 18-38 years resulted in poor periodontal health at the age of 38 years, while smoking tobacco results in multiple physical effects such as poor metabolic health and lung function.

It was observed that the depreciation in periodontal health was not related with smoking tobacco, alcohol abuse or poor dental hygiene. Stressing on how incessant and long-term marijuana use can hurt people, co-author of the study Avshalom Caspi, the Edward M. Arnett Professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke, said, “What we’re seeing is that cannabis may be harmful in some respects, but possibly not in every way. 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.”

Seeking treatment

An estimated 2.5 percent of the American population suffers from marijuana use disorder, as per a report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Abuse of any kind of substance can have detrimental effects on the mind and the body. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), marijuana is the most commonly abused drug in the United States. While a growing number of Americans are lining up in favor of marijuana decriminalization, it is important that people receive necessary information about the perils of unrelenting cannabis use.

If you or your loved one is suffering from drug addiction, the Colorado Drug Addiction Helpline can help you find the best drug addiction treatment options in Colorado. Our experts can connect you to one of the best drug rehab centers in Colorado for effective treatments. For more information, chat online with our advisors or call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 218-7546.


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