Marijuana causes tooth discoloration

Constant smoking will ruin your gums, but not much else

Photo: Miranda Nelson | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

As long as you don't mind getting shitty teeth and permanently bleeding gums in your 30s, if some scientists have their way, you can continue to smoke weed on a regular basis. Well, in a way, anyway.

According to a new study, if you have used cannabis for many years and into early middle age, you have relatively few real health problems to fear if you do not mix the cannabis with tobacco. Researchers found that regular smoking weed did not negatively affect a number of bodily functions, but long-time cannabis users suffered from bad gums. The study carried out by JAMA Psychiatry published, accompanied more than 1,000 New Zealanders from their 18th to 38th birthday and recorded their cannabis use on the basis of their own data.

The study compared the health of stoners to that of normal smokers and found that tobacco causes many more problems in comparison, including poorer lung function and metabolism.

But how bad is it now with the gums? According to the study, 55.61 percent of people who have used cannabis regularly for more than 15 years had periodontal disease — the gums around the necks of the teeth — compared to just 13.53 percent of people who have never smoked weed in their lives. Periodontal disease can cause teeth to loosen and ultimately fall out.

"One thing that surprised me was that we didn't see a link between cannabis use and poor lung function," said Madeline Meier, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University and a study author. However, she pointed out that an earlier study with the same New Zealand experimental group had shown that high cannabis use was linked to an increased risk of psychotic illness, IQ decline and socio-economic decline. Somehow it doesn't sound so positive.

Meier says more research is needed to find out how long-term cannabis use affects the elderly. There are currently no figures on this.

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