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Long-term cannabis use does not seem to lead to a decline in overall physical health, though decades of smoking the sweet leaf could contribute to periodontal disease, a significant new study finds.
In a study of nearly
1,000 New Zealanders tracked over 40 years, people reporting nearly 20 years of
consistent pot smoking did not show any signs of a decline in lung function,
high blood pressure, diabetes, or any other deterioration of physical
In fact, the only
negative consequence researchers say was present in heavy cannabis smokers as
opposed to non-smokers was more gum disease.
“We can see the
physical health effects of tobacco smoking in this study, but we don’t see
similar effects for cannabis smoking,” said lead study author Madeline Meier,
assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University.
This means while
choosing to smoke cannabis as a preferred method of consumption may bring about
some oral health problems over an extended period of time (researchers noticed
this happening to people between the ages of 26 and 38) there is no evidence to
suggest that smoking weed on a regular basis, even if that means decades of
daily use, has the potential to sabotage one’s health in a similar manner to
that of long-term use of tobacco.
“What we’re seeing is
that cannabis may be harmful in some respects, but possibly not in every way,”
says study co-author Avshalom Caspi,
professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. “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