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JAMA article: Cannabis use associated with periodontal disease

June 01, 2016

By Michelle Manchir

People who use cannabis for up to 20 years may be more likely to have periodontal disease, according to research published in June in The Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry.

Using self-reported data on cannabis and tobacco use, the longitudinal study compared health outcomes in persistent cannabis users versus tobacco users and found cannabis usage associated with poorer periodontal health at age 38, and within-individual decline in periodontal health from ages 26 to 38 years. Cannabis use was not, however, found to be associated with other physical problems in early midlife, according to the open access article.

The authors conclude that the study results imply that “(1) cannabis use for up to 20 years is not associated with a specific set of physical health problems in early midlife. The sole exception is that cannabis use is associated with periodontal disease; (2) cannabis use for up to 20 years is not associated with net metabolic benefits (i.e., lower rates of metabolic syndrome); and (3) the results should be interpreted in the context of prior research showing that cannabis use is associated with accidents and injuries, bronchitis, acute cardiovascular events, and, possibly, infectious diseases and cancer, as well as poor psychosocial and mental health outcomes.”

Relatedly, a case report in the May issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association about a patient who sought treatment five hours after using cannabis provides some background about the history of cannabis use. It highlights the need for specific guidance for oral health care professionals regarding cannabis use as it relates to dentists. The authors note that a greater number of Americans may use marijuana as state legislatures legalize the drug to some degree.

The entire May issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association is available here.

The ADA Science Institute writes about articles in the popular press, offering a brief summary of the article’s principal points and perspective on the reported findings.  To read the institute’s take on this study, visit