Marijuana has long been touted for being virtually side-effect free. Now, according to one new study, long-term marijuana use may have one negative caveat: gum disease.
After analyzing about 1,000 cannabis users in New Zealand, researchers found that those who smoked pot for 20 or more years had few health problems -- with the exception of gum disease.
Lead researcher Madeline Meier, an assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University, said of the findings,
Unlike tobacco smoking, cannabis smoking is associated with few physical health problems in midlife, with the exception of periodontal disease... Our analyses show that this association was not explained by tobacco smoking, alcohol abuse or less tooth brushing and flossing.
While the study doesn't prove cannabis can cause gum disease, it does shed some light on the pros and cons that come with regular use, specifically smoking. A co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Duke University, Avshalom Caspi, 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.
While smoking weed every day for multiple decades surely has some negative side effects, using alternative methods like vaporizers and edibles could potentially mitigate some of those consequences. So don't panic just yet, bud buddies. When it comes to cannabis, there's a big, wide world out there with countless options still left to explore.
Citations: Long-Term Pot Use Tied to Gum Disease in Study (US News)