NEW YORK, United States, Monday May 29, 2017 – Frequent recreational marijuana use drives up your risk of severe gum disease and may cause your teeth to drop out, new research suggests.
It is the latest study that draws a link between marijuana and oral health as researchers race to learn more about the herb, which is now legal in over half of the United States.
The Columbia University study tracked more than 500 recreational marijuana users and found that those who smoked weed regularly were more likely to have signs of the oral health disorder than occasional users.
The research should be a warning sign that increasingly relaxed marijuana laws in the US could have serious oral health implications, the study authors cautioned.
Columbia University researchers analysed data from a total of 1938 adults who had participated in the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which was undertaken in collaboration with the American Academy of Periodontology.
About 27 percent of the participants reported using marijuana at least once during the 12 months under review.
The results, which were published in the Journal of Periodontology, revealed that self-reported frequent recreational marijuana users had significantly greater evidence of moderate-to-severe gum disease than less regular users.
“It is well known that frequent tobacco use can increase the risk of periodontal disease, but it was surprising to see that recreational cannabis users may also be at risk,” said study author Dr Jaffer Shariff, who first suspected a link between frequent marijuana use and gum disease while working as a dentist in New York.
“The recent spate of new recreational and medical marijuana laws could spell the beginning of a growing oral public health problem,” he warned.
“Even controlling for other factors linked to gum disease, such as cigarette smoking, frequent recreational cannabis smokers are twice as likely as non-frequent users to have signs of periodontal disease,” he indicated.
Dr Shariff noted that more research was needed to determine whether medical marijuana had a similar impact on oral health.
Click here to receive news via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)