Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Smoking gums implicate cannabis

Embargoed until 6am Wednesday 6 February

Smoking gums implicate cannabis

Heavy cannabis smoking has been identified as a major cause of gum disease in a study involving researchers from the University of Otago, King’s College in London, Duke University and the University of North Carolina in the USA.

Using data gathered through the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (DMHDS), which tracks a group of 1000 people born in Dunedin in 1972-73, they found heavy cannabis smoking was responsible for more than one-third of the new cases of gum disease by age 32.

Their findings have been published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association.

Professor Murray Thomson from the University of Otago School of Dentistry says
periodontal disease, or gum disease, is one of the most common diseases of adulthood and causes a range of problems, including the loss of support for the teeth.

“There is also an emerging body of evidence that it may also be a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and even pre-term birth,” says Professor Thomson.

Cigarette smoking has been a long-established risk factor for gum disease but this is the first study looking at cannabis.

“The problem is not the smoke itself – it’s what’s in the smoke,” he says.

“In the mouth, there is a fine balance between tissue destruction and tissue healing and the various toxins in cannabis smoke disrupt that.”

Professor Thomson says their findings have added strength because rather than using a single cross-sectional survey, they used a longitudinal study in which the state of participants’ gums and their use of cannabis and tobacco were tracked over many years.

For the study, they identified heavy cannabis users as those in the top 20% of cannabis use, equivalent to an average of 41 or more occasions per year between ages 18 and 32.

Professor Thomson says they had to be mindful that cannabis smokers are also much more likely to be cigarette smokers.

“But even after allowing for this, we found heavy cannabis smokers had three times the risk of having established gum disease by age 32,” he says.

“When we looked at just those who had never smoked tobacco, the relationship between cannabis and gum disease was even stronger.

“We have been able to calculate that over one-third of new cases of gum disease between the ages of 26 and 32 could be put down to cannabis use.”

Professor Thomson says the findings account for some of the unexplained variation in gum disease among younger adults.


See... Cannabis_and_periodontal_disease_fact_sheet.pdf

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Water: Farming Leaders Pledge To Help Make Rivers Swimmable

In a first for the country, farming leaders have pledged to work together to help make New Zealand’s rivers swimmable for future generations. More>>


Unintended Consequences: Liquor Change For Grocery Stores On Tobacco Tax

Changes in the law made to enable grocery stores to continue holding liquor licences to sell alcohol despite increases in tobacco taxes will take effect on 15 September 2017. More>>

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>


By May 2018: Wider, Earlier Microbead Ban

The sale and manufacture of wash-off products containing plastic microbeads will be banned in New Zealand earlier than previously expected, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today. More>>


Snail-ier Mail: NZ Post To Ditch FastPost

New Zealand Post customers will see a change to how they can send priority mail from 1 January 2018. The FastPost service will no longer be available from this date. More>>


Property Institute: English Backs Of Debt To Income Plan

Property Institute of New Zealand Chief Executive Ashley Church is applauding today’s decision, by Prime Minister Bill English, to take Debt-to-income ratios off the table as a tool available to the Reserve Bank. More>>