There’s some good news and some bad news for pot smokers everywhere. The good news: Just as many of them surely contend, long-term marijuana use doesn’t cause the types of health problems that cigarettes do, such as lung cancer and heart disease. The bad news: It does cause poorer gum health.
That’s according to a long-term study in New Zealand published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers analyzed nearly 1,000 people born in that country in 1972 and 1973, and followed them from birth to 38, analyzing self-reported weed use at 21, 26, 32 and 38, according to the Oregonian.
“In general, our findings showed that cannabis use over 20 years was unrelated to health problems in early midlife,” the study said.
The study's results are good news for the growing movement toward the decriminalization and legalization of pot. In the United States, for instance, those efforts have been gaining steam and have resulted in full legalization in four states — Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon — as well as the District of Columbia. In addition, there are eight states where legal weed could soon become a reality: Massachusetts, Nevada, California, New York, Vermont, Minnesota, Connecticut and Maryland.
That marijuana use is not associated with those more serious ailments tied to tobacco use is positive news for local economies where it is sold, as well. Since those states have legalized marijuana, tax revenue and sales have soared. For instance, in Colorado — the first state to legalize the substance — the weed industry grew to about $700 million in sales in just the first year of operations. That included $368 million in medical pot sales and $313 million in recreational weed. The setup also introduced a further $63 million to the state’s tax coffers.