Marijuana Affect on Health and Cause Periodontal Disease

Original Article

In a recent study by the school of dentistry at The University of Otago, New Zealand, periodontal disease was linked to over 900 people who smoked marijuana at least forty times a year since they were 18 years old. The study was published February 6th in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and can be added to the ever augmenting evidence that cannabis use is not as risk-free as it seems. Research projects concerning the negative impact of illegal drugs on bodily health are a constant hindrance to those people who extol the numerous uses of not illegal, but “recreational” drugs.

A 1986 study in the United States found that after treating three patients suffering from Huntington’s disease with cannabidiol (a major chemical found in marijuana) for two weeks, the spastic movements that are associated with the disease had decreased 20% – 40%. The drug has also been proven to help people with glaucoma (by lowering the pressure in the eyeball and therefore counteracting the disease’s negative effects) as well as other very virulent diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies like Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base contain countless trials and research that attest to the health benefits of medical marijuana, however, the studies fail to accurately cite the negative effects that (medical and non-medical) marijuana users face. The amount of research performed by those hoping to see the optimistic side of cannabis use is shadowed by an equal amount of projects aiming to expose marijuana as a deadly substance.

The risks of smoking marijuana even as treatment for specific conditions are very large, and provide enough evidence to deem its use unsafe. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2005 44.8% of twelfth graders had smoked marijuana at least once during their lifetime. This is a scary thought considering these students do not suffer from a disease where marijuana use is an acceptable treatment (of course teen drug use in America is a completely different issue all together, but it begs the question of whether people support marijuana for its health benefits or simply because they like to use it). The figure is even more startling when one considers the negative side-effects marijuana can have on users.

The most serious side-effects of marijuana cause the brain to not function completely. While on marijuana, some immediate effects are a decrease in coordination, distorted perception, and difficulty problem solving. Imagine if a person who was under the influence of marijuana was to perform an everyday task such as driving. The drug would negatively affect the person, and make them a danger to the rest of the drivers on the road due to their inability to react or think quickly. In addition to these side-effects, marijuana also disrupts the circulatory system. While on marijuana, blood pressure drops, and hear rate speeds up, more than quadrupling the risk of heart failure. The long term effects are even more detrimental to one’s health.

Chronic users who smoke the drug are putting themselves at the highest risk possible. Marijuana smokers essentially face the same problems that plague long-term tobacco smokers. Obstructed airways, increased phlegm production, and exposure to carcinogens are among the most prevalent. Additionally, as the title of this post suggests, even teeth are put at risk by habitual smoking of marijuana. Periodontal disease, or the regression of one’s gum line for laymen, can lead to loss of teeth and infection in the mouth.

Recent studies have also linked oral health to bodily health, and even proved that bacteria in the gums and mouth can travel through the blood steam and into the heart to cause cardiovascular disease. As a future dentist, the question I ask is, is it worth losing your teeth just to be “high” for a couple of hours if you do not actually need to be?

  • TiredOfTheManipulations

    “however, the studies fail to accurately cite the negative effects that (medical and non-medical) marijuana users face” — Your complaining that studies are biased by not including all the information they should…..but then you turn around and do the exact same thing by not bringing forth the fact that marijuana does NOT have to be smoked. The vast majority of your article revolves around SMOKED marijuana. Sorry but you’ve failed. Stop trying to manipulate people with your lack of knowledge and lack of information in your obviously biased article concerning medical and non-medical marijuana.

  • Alex Bo

    In a recent study by the school of dentistry at The University of Otago, New Zealand, periodontal disease was linked to over 900 people who smoked marijuana at least forty times a year since they were 18 years old.

    Yes, you’re right, we “revolve around SMOKED marijuana”, because it’s the worst use of this plant.

  • Just Saying

    “The study involved 903 New Zealanders who are taking part in a longitudinal study that began in the early ’70s. Head researcher W. Murray Thomson of the University of Otago in New Zealand said that the increased risk was not likely caused by the marijuana smoke coming into contact with the gums as it was inhaled, but was probably the result of toxins in the cannabis that were absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. It is likely that toxins in marijuana smoke inhibit the body’s ability to fight off inflammation in the gums caused by the presence of bacteria, Thomson said.”

    “Users are also prone to oral infections, possibly due to the immunosuppressive effects. ”

    Just some research from pubmed since we all know there are other ways besides smoking the sensimilla…

  • paul

    this article is full of crap. everything is bad if not taken in moderation. wether it’s weed, alcohol, big macs, even water. if weed is illegal because it has some negative effect for SOME people when smoked or eaten, then you might as well make every single prescribed drug illegal. because they all have “side effects”
    which is a better way of saying “negative effects.” come on tobacco companies are making millions to this day and weed is still illegal??? tobacco kills. weed doesn’t. wow. this world is weird these days. i am a regular pot smoker. and i do experience problems with my teeth. but it is do to lack of brushing and flossing. which i changed and my teeth and gums are better. there wouldn’t be bacteria to cause the inflammation in the first place if we brushed and flossed properly.

  • paul

    oh and research tommy chong. the dude’s 70 years old and still a pothead. i don’t see him with cardiovascular problems cus of mouth problems from weed.

  • AJ

    Ok, i likes these facts. now i do have a problem with the writer apparently expresing his or her opinion on the effects on drivers as there are millions of drivers that drive under the influence of oxicodine and zanax. These are labeled as, “do not operate machinery until you become awaere of the effects it has on you”. Marijuana has none of these effects. Not too responsible throwing around propaganda. Thats why kids find the lies and thats how kids become more likely to experiment. Speak facts instead of propaganda. I saw this old video that talked about , if you smoke reefer you go crazy and even kill your parents. this article seems to have hints of this movement. P.S. whoever calls themselves editors of this article may need to go back to grammar school or maybe they are smoking marijuana too? Stick to the facts. and yeah, if you find typos on my comments, i don’t get paid to edit. Stick to the facts!

  • Sunshyne

    Wow…I think just about anything in this world can kill you! You can suffer long time illnesses from cigarettes, right? Go find out what’s in CORN SYRUP and how it causes cancer….and corn syrup in a LOT of FOODS WE EAT! I’ll take that marijuana any day 😉

  • Paul

    earth to moron. corn syrup is human manufactured along with all the other unnatural things we buy for food at the groceries. trying getting cancer from eating apples and oranges and vegies and fish and chicken. man made things are mixed with chemicals that cause cancer. salty shit also cause cancer. you need to do more research buddy. oh yeah and cigarettes is a given cancer giver. marijuana? :ZERO. it actually decreases the risk of cancer more than those who don’t smoke anything at all. why do you have a bigger risk than me? cus you eat shit and cus you’re a moron.:) and i mean that as a half joke. i don’t want to insult you but at the same time you piss me off cus of your ignorance.