Zee Media Bureau
New York: Smokers take note! A new study suggests that people who smoke marijuana for a long time have an increased risk of gum diseases that can lead to tooth loss.
In the study, tobacco users were found to have gum disease as well as reduced lung function, systemic inflammation and indicators of poorer metabolic health.
The study tracked nearly 1,000 New Zealanders from birth to age 38.
"We can see the physical health effects of tobacco smoking in this study, but we don't see similar effects for cannabis smoking," said Madeline Meier, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University in the US.
The international research team assessed a dozen measures of physical health, including lung function, systemic inflammation and several measures of metabolic syndrome, including waist circumference, HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), triglycerides, blood pressure, glucose control and body mass index.
To measure cannabis use, the researchers asked study participants to self-report their use at ages 18, 21, 26, 32 and 38.
However, the study did not find a link between long-term marijuana use and several other health problems associated with cigarette smoking.
"We need to recognise that heavy recreational cannabis use does have some adverse consequences, but overall damage to physical health is not apparent in this study," study co-author Avshalom Caspi, Professor at Duke University in Durham, said.
"Physicians should certainly explain to their patients that long-term marijuana use can put them at risk for losing some teeth," Terrie Moffitt, who is also from Duke University said.
The findings were published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
(With Agency inputs)