The argument for cannabis legalization in the U.S. could be bolstered by new research, which found that long-term smoking has no negative effects on a user’s health.
Scientists at Arizona State University recently discovered that smoking marijuana for up to 20 years is not associated with a raft of physical health problems.
The study, published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal, underlines one exception — the possible link to gum disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth.
Scientists examined the habits of more than a thousand New Zealanders between the ages of 18 and 38. Out of those examined, 484 used tobacco daily, while 675 smoked cannabis.
“Participants underwent physical health exams when they were 26 and 38 years old,” study leader Madeline H. Meier said. “We were able to test associations between cannabis use and a variety of physical health outcomes in midlife, including periodontal health, lung function, systemic inflammation and metabolic health.”
Results have shown that those who smoked pot for up to 20 years had an increased likelihood of periodontal (gum) disease, putting them at risk of tooth loss.
“By comparison, tobacco users showed poor periodontal health, lung function, systemic inflammation and metabolic health,” Meier added.
Yet another finding made by scientists confirms that heavy cannabis users brushed and flossed less than others and were more likely to be dependent on alcohol.
“Our results should be interpreted in the context of prior research showing that cannabis use is associated with accidents and injuries, bronchitis, acute cardiovascular events, and, possibly, infectious diseases and cancer, as well as poor psychosocial and mental health outcomes," Meier concluded.