Marijuana certainly has its health benefits, but not a lot of people talk about the adverse effects that it can have when consumed in exaggerated quantities. A new study made at the University of Edinburgh, UK, shows that heavy marijuana users have a higher risk of contracting a bone disease during their lifetimes.
The study was made on 170 people who smoked marijuana regularly for recreational purposes, and an additional 114 tobacco smokers who did not use cannabis. People who smoked the weed more than 5,000 times during their lifetimes have been categorized as “heavy users,” while those who only smoked it about 1,000 times were deemed “normal users.”
All participants had their mineral bone densities measured using specialized X-ray techniques called DEXA Scans. The results were bad news for stoners, who were proven to have a 5% lower bone density than people who didn’t use cannabis.
The researchers also analyzed the body mass index of the participants, only to discover that users have a lower BMI. This was especially strange since marijuana is known for increasing the user’s food appetite to levels of uncontrollable cravings. Researchers now believe that, over time, cannabis consumption can actually reduce the users’ food appetites.
The bone density is, however, the most inconvenient of the problems. Heavy and even normal users are more prone to developing osteoporosis when they advance in age. Though it’s not an uncommon bone disease, users should be warned that it causes bones to become fragile.
The disease greatly increases the risk of bone fracture, but researchers say that the risk is already there for marijuana users. It seems that the studied heavy users had already experienced more fractures than non-users.
Researchers do admit that more study is required in order to determine the drug’s effects on the bone structure. So far, the discoveries were published in the American Journal of Medicine.
It is true that marijuana can have various therapeutic properties, often being recommended to patients who suffer from chronic pain or anxiety. But like all drugs, whether medicinal or recreational, it comes with risks that people should be made aware of. So calling it a “miracle plant” may be a bit of false advertising.
Image source: Pixabay
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