New Study: Only Risk Of Smoking Cannabis Is Gum Disease
2 min

New Study: Only Risk Of Smoking Cannabis Is Gum Disease

2 min

A study following 1.000 people up found long-term cannabis smokers are at a higher risk of gum disease, but not physically worse off than non-smokers.

Cannabis has long been demonized; yet, new research suggests there may be hardly any risks at all to its use, with the scientific journal JAMA Psychiatry recently published a study indicating that long-term cannabis use may lead to gum diseases, but to no other major illness. It is pretty major news! Just make sure you brush and floss your teeth often!


The study was led by Madeline H. Meier of Arizona State University and conducted in collaboration with Duke University of North Carolina, King’s College in the UK, and the University of Otago in New Zealand. The research team looked for correlations between cannabis smoking and some common health measures, such as blood pressure, lung functionality, systemic inflammation, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose control, body mass index, and waist circumference. Participants recruited for the research were all long-term cannabis users, followed over 20 years from the age of 18-38.

The results of this study seem to show that long-term cannabis smoking may increase the probability of developing a periodontal disease, eventually with inflamed and retracting gums. The researchers underlined that no other common indicators of a poor physical health were identified among the 1,000 participants that took part in the study. This may be surprising to general public prejudices, usually assuming cannabis users to be people with little care for themselves.

The report literally mentions that “cannabis use for up to 20 years is not associated with a specific set of physical health problems in early midlife.” However, the periodontal diseases often found in log-term cannabis users should be considered as warning signs. The study also confirmed some damages caused by tobacco smoking: “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. “Cannabis may be harmful in some respects, but possibly not in every way,” said the research study co-author Avshalom Caspi, Professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. “We need to recognize that heavy recreational cannabis use does have some adverse consequences, but overall damage to physical health is not apparent in this study.”


Among the volunteers for this study, 55.6% of the people who smoked cannabis for 15-20 years had developed a periodontal disease. Conversely, only 13.5% of the people in the same age group who never smoked cannabis had a gum disease. Scientists’ conclusions indicate that physicians should explain to their patients that long-term cannabis smoking can put them at risk of losing some teeth. It is worth noting that this study only takes smoking into account, with no mention of those who only vaporize or ingest cannabis.

Anyhow, this study clearly shows that if anything, cannabis smokers need to pay particular attention to their gum health. It’s important to brush teeth regularly and floss carefully to remove any small part of food, so don’t be shy of sticking your fingers deep inside your mouth. With a regular floss, the bacteria which cause gums recession are going to have harder times colonizing the smokers’ mouth. Regular deep teeth cleaning by a professional is also a good idea.

Now that cannabis is on its way to normalization across the world, further research is needed to understand its real effects on our health. Science seems to indicate that regular cannabis use does not prevent healthy living, so let’s focus on healthy food, an active lifestyle, and peace of mind.

Luke Sumpter
Luke Sumpter
With a BSc (Hons) degree in Clinical Health Sciences and a passion for growing plants, Luke Sumpter has worked as a professional journalist and writer at the intersection of cannabis and science for the past 7 years.
News Research
Search in categories