Health Team

Study: Heavy Marijuana Use Linked to Gum Disease

Posted February 5, 2008

WRAL Health Team

— Heavy marijuana use has been found to contribute to gum disease, apart from the known effects that tobacco smoke was already known to have.

In a group of more than 900 New Zealanders, smoking cannabis more than 40 times a year since age 18 was found to be responsible for more than one-third of the new cases of periodontal disease between ages 26 and 32, according to a study published Feb. 6 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Heavy cannabis use has been linked to greater risks of developing respiratory disease and some psychiatric conditions,” said Terrie Moffit, a Duke University professor of psychology and neuroscience who participated in the study. “Gum disease should be added to that list of known hazards.”

The study was led by W. Murray Thomson of the school of dentistry at the University of Otago, New Zealand, who measured gum recession at three sites on each tooth at ages 26 and again at 32. The study subjects are part of a longitudinal health and development study that has been tracking nearly 1,000 people born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1972 and 1973.

The link between gum disease and marijuana use emerged from a statistical analysis that controlled for gender, dental care, socio-economic status and how clean or dirty the teeth were. Most of the self-identified heavy marijuana users also were tobacco-users, but that factor was controlled statistically. The researchers also were able to focus on study participants who were not tobacco-users, and they still found a link between marijuana use and gum disease.

The precise physiology of smoke’s effect on the gums is still not understood, but the team believes it interferes with immune function, inflammatory response and peripheral blood flow in the gums.


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  • Shadow213 Feb 7, 2008

    is there anyone out there that is actually FOR keeping pot illegal?? seriously, speak up b/c all i hear is legalize it! (which is a-okay by me)

  • merrywidow Feb 7, 2008

    I wish "The Man" would leave what the Creator created for us alone. Even the xian bible says "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree.....Gen. 1:29). And if marijuana ain't a seed bearing herb I don't know what is!!!!

    Legal alcohol and man made drugs like cocaine, heroin, etc are physically addicting and make some people mean. With pot people just chill. I have no problem with alcohol, but man made drugs need to stay illegal.

    Pot is not a gateway drug for those who aren't inclined to addictions, just as alcohol is not a gateway drug for those who aren't inclined to addictions. Many hard working, tax paying people treat pot responsibly like they do alcohol: at home when they're chilling.

    It's time to end the war on marijuana.

  • tbajr Feb 7, 2008

    Yes, there is a lot of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud in the prohibition of the herb. What I don't understand is all those people who have been charged over the years and those who
    use/want to use it now, why don't they get a petition and present it to the sheriff of their county to stop any enforcement of marijuana, save for that which would violate another rights. He is an elected offical who answers to the people of that county - not the state. Any enforcement againist
    the possession of marijuana is againist right reason, state & federal constitutions, and natural rights. They have no authority!

  • foetine Feb 7, 2008

    so legally bought chewing tobacco is good for your gums

  • beachbum1 Feb 7, 2008

    I'd consult Willie Nelson on this. He's the man on this stuff. Still can't believe they pulled his bus over and found mushrooms and pot LOL. Did they think it was going to be just milk and cookies!

  • PaulRevere Feb 7, 2008

    I thought the gum disease was from all the Doritos and funyons.

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc Feb 7, 2008

    tbajr, now you got me started...

    So, in 1972 we knew that we could not stop people from exercising their God given freedom, in my opinion, to enjoy life however they would like to - not harming anyone else mind you. But we have still spent Billions of dollars on the so-called War on Drugs? I don't have a problem with the gov't keeping the hard stuff out by sealing our borders, that is a security issue, but throwing hundreds of thousands of non-violent drug offenders in prison, while all along knowing that we can't ever make a dent in it, is criminal in and of itself! Again, we spend Billions of dollars on this ($40B - $45B in 2005) - it's lunacy... As they say, doing the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome is the definition of insanity.

  • tbajr Feb 7, 2008

    Even if true, "it's actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it, this judgement is based on prevalent use patterns, on behavior exhibited by the vast majority of users, based on existing medical & scientific data. This position is also consistant with the estiment by law enforcement personnel that the elimination of use is unattainable". 1972 National Commission on Marijuana & Drug abuse.

  • jviar Feb 6, 2008

    40 times a year is a heavy smoker. Lord help me. 4:20 is only 1 hour and 37 minutes away, happy hump day everybody!

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc Feb 6, 2008

    Hey bushretard, I knew you had at least one redeeming quality! ;-) Just messin' with ya...