Long Term Marijuana Use Linked to Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Is marijuana use bad for your health? With an evolving legal climate for marijuana in the United States, researchers recently looked for the answer to that question.
The study examined data from New Zealand citizens born in 1972-73 and followed them from age 18 to age 38. Researchers obtained lab-based measures of physical health, including periodontal health, lung function, systemic inflammation, and metabolic health, as well as self-reported physical health at ages 26 and 38.
The results? The study found that marijuana use was associated with poorer periodontal health at age 38.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include bad breath, and gums that are red, swollen, tender or bleeding. If not treated, periodontal or gum disease can lead to significant damage to the tissue and bone that support your teeth.
While marijuana use for up to 20 years was associated with periodontal disease, it was not associated with other physical health problems in early midlife. In comparison, tobacco use was associated with worse lung function, systemic inflammation, and metabolic health at age 38. However, researchers noted that this study of long term marijuana use was limited in scope, and previous studies have shown that marijuana my increase risk for accidents, bronchitis, cardiovascular issues, and other areas of health.
The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry.