Marijuana Raises Bone Loss Risk
As the number of states in the U.S. that have legalized medicinal and/or recreational marijuana use continues to rise, it’s becoming increasingly important to identify the drug's harmful effects. Recent studies have suggested that cannabis may impair blood vessel function and increase gum disease risk. According to a new study published in the A_merican Journal of Medicine_, regular use of marijuana also may reduce bone density, leading to osteoporosis and an increased risk for fractures.
The study involved 284 adults. Of the study participants, 170 reported smoking marijuana regularly and 114 were cigarette smokers who did not use marijuana. Researchers used an imaging test called dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) to measure bone density.
Compared with people who did not use marijuana, heavy users—classified by the researchers as those who smoked the drug more than 5,000 times over the course of their lifetime—had a five percent lower bone density on average. They also had a lower body weight and BMI (body mass index), which are also risk factors for bone loss. More research is needed to understand the association between heavy marijuana use and osteoporosis risk.
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