Study Finds Lifelong Pot Users Are Healthy

Pot Users are Healthy

Long-term marijuana 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 health.

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 marijuana 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 recognize that heavy recreational cannabis use does have some adverse consequences, but overall damage to physical health is not apparent in this study.”

Interestingly, in countries that have legalized cannabis for medical purposes, some insurance companies have already begun to separate those who use marijuana from the same rank as their tobacco toking counterparts – classifying patients who smoke weed for therapeutic purposes as “non-smokers” – because research has shown marijuana and tobacco, while typically consumed through the same process, are actually very different when it comes to their individual effects on human health.

In a move that is being praised by medical marijuana patients all across Canada, BMO and Sun Life recently announced that they would no longer require cannabis users to select the “smokers” box on their respective life insurance questionnaires – a move that could save many of those participating in the northern nation’s medical marijuana program up to 50 percent on their insurance premiums.

“In our industry, we keep up to date with medical studies and companies update their underwriting guidelines accordingly,” Sun Life said in a statement. “As a result, people who use marijuana are now assessed … at non-smoker rates, unless they also use tobacco.”

Insurance experts say the insurers’ decision to no longer classify marijuana users as smokers is a sharp signal from the bowels of the corporate world that marijuana is, without a doubt, safer than tobacco. Otherwise, neither company would have dared take such a bold leap. After all, they are in the business of expanding the bottom line, not to make moral judgments or take any sort of political stance that could jeopardize the financial standings of shareholders.

“What this tells me is that they have done their research, examined the evidence and concluded that the patterns of risk associated with typical marijuana use is much lower than that of typical tobacco use,” Paul Groontendorst, rector of the division of social and administrative pharmacy in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto told reporters.

At the core of the entire debate surrounding whether marijuana is as dangerous as tobacco is a disease that is expected to kill around 595,690 people in the United States this year – cancer.

Last week, researchers at the University of Western Australia published an outlandish paper in the journal of Mutation Research that suggested people who smoke weed were altering their DNA in such a way that could cause their children to have cancer in the early years of their life. The study, overseen by Associate Professor Stuart Reece and Professor Gary Hulse from UWA’s School of Psychiatry and Clinical Sciences, said “Even if a mother has never used cannabis in her life, the mutations passed on by a father’s sperm can cause serious and fatal illnesses in their children.”

Come to find out, the researchers in the study never conducted any tests to arrive at this shocking conclusion – the entire basis for the research was a review of other studies. Cannabinoids experts quickly came out in opposition of the two scientist’s findings, arguing that their report was “based on a foundation of falsehoods.” Although previous research has concluded that other drugs, including tobacco and alcohol, have the potential to damage DNA, Dr. Ethan Russo, former Senior Medical Advisor for GW Pharmaceuticals said the smoking-weed-will-give-your-kids-cancer study is missing so many critical variables that it would be irresponsible to entertain their report as anything other than modern day reefer madness.

So, while there may be evidence smoking marijuana for decades is hard on your gums, it appears that even the habitual user can sleep soundly tonight knowing their longtime love affair with the herb is not likely to chisel their or anybody else’s tombstone.

Are you a habitual cannabis user? Tell us about your experiences.

Mike Adams is a freelance writer hailing from Southern Indiana. When he is not carving out a juicy story for various publications including Cannabis Now, High Times, Playboy and Salon, he can be found down at his local tavern watching basketball and picking fights with anyone who dares play Linkin Park on the jukebox. In addition to his coverage of the mad, mad world of cannabis legalization, he is also currently writing his first novel, which he hopes will earn him enough money to never be seen or heard from again.

11 Comments

  1. DwaNeenna

    February 8, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    I’m a full blood Indian an I started smoking when i was 15an stop 19 had 3 kids an i started back in 1993 I hurt my knee playing softball so I started smoking cannabis every since an I got in a car accident so the cannabis helped me with the pain an I had shoulder surgery twice so this has been my friend

  2. Aubrey

    December 20, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    The lack of and need for research has always been a pretext for prohibition since the USA supreme court struck down federal Cannabis law as unconstitutional In the 1970 Leary case. If this approach was followed uniformly, almost everything would be illegal.

    He said “Think for yourself and question authority.
    Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.
    You’re only as young as the last time you changed your mind.
    The universe is an intelligence test.
    In the information age, you don’t teach philosophy as they did after feudalism. You perform it. If Aristotle were alive today he’d have a talk show.
    Civilization is unbearable, but it is less unbearable at the top.
    We are dealing with the best-educated generation in history. But they’ve got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go.
    You can always pick up your needle and move to another groove.
    There are three side effects of acid: enhanced long-term memory, decreased short-term memory, and I forget the third.
    Learning how to operate a soul figures to take time.

  3. Eli

    December 19, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    I am a native American and can’t smoke live in alexandria, v.a. don’t know we’re any one sell it or delivery system don’t now who know?.

  4. Karma Givah

    November 15, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    I have used it for 40+ years and I forgot the last time I got sick!? Legalize It and go back to Our Roots, George Washington days…Everyone Had to grow hemp! It will create Millions of Jobs too and get us out of debt! AMERICA…WE WILL BE ON TOP AGAIN AS WE SHOULD BE! WORLD PEACE ☮

  5. Eric N.

    November 14, 2016 at 10:17 am

    I have smoked cannabis for the past 39 years and have never felt ill effects from it. Im 56 years old and dont feel or look ( according to others) my age. I think cannabis is helpful for a lot of different medical issues and i currently appreciate its use in relieving my arthritic pain. Legalize it nationwide for all adults.

  6. scotty

    November 14, 2016 at 9:00 am

    I have smoked this remarkable weed for 42 years, iam 56 yrs old and very healthy considering I still smoke cigs as well

  7. Tamas

    June 23, 2016 at 9:34 am

    I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when i was 24, i started smoking cannabis and the Southern African strains contain THCV which helped cure my diabetes, still smoking 32 years later it helps with pains,and healed my ribs which i broke 2 years back the only problem i have is that i was arrested in may for possession and i am busy going to court waiting for a verdict,its unbelievable that at age 55 a person is arrested for self medication.

    • frederik

      December 20, 2016 at 2:14 pm

      you age doesn’t matter! it’s unbelievable no matter what! if weed helps, use it. no matter what your age is.

  8. Phil Benson

    June 20, 2016 at 6:10 am

    I am a 72 yr.old man who has used cannabis for 44 yrs.The only negative experiences I’ve had are short term memory loss & apathy after heavy or very potent use, so with moderation, the positive ones are definitely worth it.

  9. Brandon race

    June 20, 2016 at 6:01 am

    I am a 62 years…been smoking since 13..and still am every day. It takes the edge off pain enough to not use pain meds used for pins in leg and compressed lower lumbar in back from accident.

  10. Suzanne Woodward

    June 19, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    I have smoked cannabis daily (3-5 joints) for the last 20 plus years. Until 3 months ago I worked full time as the office manager for a direct marketing company… I have now opted to slow down a bit and work 2 days a week from home as now in my sixties. Until a year ago never had any health issues and didnt take any meds at all (I had always self medicated with natural green) but have now developed high blood pressure….darn. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article… very informative. I agree completely about the gum disease.- I now have a partial plate due to this. By the way I did start smoking the weed at the age of 17 but only occasionally as for some unknown reason it made me faint so didn’t smoke again until I was 35 years of age… it was then that I came aware of just how great this was..
    Regards Suzanne

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