Millions of years of healthy life were lost to cannabis

It is estimated that cannabis results in two million years of healthy life being lost due to disability each year. How much is that compared to alcohol and tobacco?

“The popular term appears to be that marijuana is a harmless pleasure ”but what are the possible negative effects of marijuana use? This is not an easy question to answer as I discuss in my video Does marijuana cause health problems?.

Most of the studies so far have been “cross-sectional or to trust about self-reported health. ” Cross-sectional studies are snapshots, so you don’t know which came first: are people sick because they smoke marijuana or do they smoke marijuana because they are sick? If you ask people how they are feeling, cannabis smokers can say, “I feel great!” Even when they actually have a health problem. There have been few longitudinal studies – those that have been conducted over a long period of time – with objective health indicators … until now.

More than a thousand people were followed from birth to the age of 38 years. The researchers tested associations between cannabis use over decades and “multiple areas of physical health” and examined 12 health outcomes. Tobacco use was associated with poor health in 8 of the 12 health outcomes, from impaired lung function to systemic inflammation and metabolic disorders. However, cannabis use has been linked to … gum disease. That’s it? In fact, “cannabis use had nothing to do with any other physical health problem”.

Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss and other dental health problems can arise connected with with smoking marijuana, but when cannabis is described as “nefarious,” gingivitis is probably not the first thing that comes to mind.

Is it possible for cannabis users Life live healthier than average to counter the effects of the drug? For example, do they eat more fruit and vegetables or maybe drink less alcohol? No, and cannabis smokers stop exercising either. The “lack of associations between cannabis use and poor physical health in mid-life could not be attributed to better initial health, more physical activity, better diet or less alcohol abuse”. Maybe marijuana just isn’t that bad.

Heroin use and cocaine use can increase Your risk of death, but no association was found between mortality and marijuana. But only the researchers followed the subjects up to the age of 38 years. To find out what happens after that, we have to turn to Sweden, where she recently released the longest study of all time on cannabis and mortality. Fifty thousand men were persecuted “until the age of about 60”. About 30 years ago when they first reported on this cohort, there was no significant excess mortality found among cannabis users or “abusers” as they called them. But then, like in the other study, the men were in their thirties. What if you pursue them beyond middle age, “when the health-related adverse effects” might begin? Pop up? Those with a history of heavy cannabis use ended up having “a significantly higher risk of death,” a 40 percent higher risk of dying prematurely.

But I thought cannabis didn’t kill. As you can see in mine at 3:20 Video, Cocaine kills Thousands of Americans every year, alcohol kills tens of thousands, and tobacco breaks the graphics, killing hundreds of thousands of people in the United States every year – but marijuana doesn’t even make it onto the graphics.

What they were referring to, however, is that “no deaths have occurred directly”. attributed to on the acute physical toxicity of cannabis. ”If a 19 year old eats a cannabis biscuit and then jumping off a fourth floor balcony, the direct cause of death – trauma – is attributed to the fall, but that doesn’t mean cannabis didn’t contribute.

It is true that people don’t do that directly Overdose on cannabis like opiates, which can stop your breathing. Unlike many drugs, where a harmful dose can only be a few times higher than a prescribed dose, the therapeutic index is for cannabis is 40,000 to 1. Does that mean you could smoke 40,000 joints without overdosing? No. You might even be able to smoke two million joints from a fatal overdose. Cannabis use contributes to it disease rather than death, in part because people don’t inject it, but the harm to health from cannabis wasn’t quantified on a global scale until 2013.

As you can see in mine at 4:47 am Video, Cannabis is estimated As a result, two million healthy years of life are lost due to disability every year. This is tiny now compared with the hundred million or so years attributed to alcohol or tobacco use, but it still leads to much pain and suffering. But what about the gum disease study I discussed earlier? I thought the only physical health problems related to cannabis use were dental in nature. In this study were the researchers Looking for with certain health concerns, stressing that periodontal problems are in addition to any other potential problems such as increased risk of accidents and injuries, bronchitis, heart attacks and strokes, possible infectious diseases and cancer, and mental health concerns. However, marijuana can be a more direct cause of death allegedly in just hundreds of deaths over an eight-year period, while a single drug – Viagra – contributed to thousands.


  • A long-term longitudinal study with objective health measures tracked more than a thousand people from birth to 38 years of age. The researchers found that tobacco use was associated with gum disease only and was not found to be associated with other physical health problems in 8 of the 12 health outcomes assessed, such as z and systemic inflammation.
  • Cannabis users have not been found to lead healthier lifestyles than average, so this lack of association between marijuana use and poor mid-life physical health is not due to better initial health, more exercise, healthier diet, or less alcohol consumption.
  • The longest study of cannabis and mortality ever came from Sweden, where researchers followed 50,000 men up to around the age of 60. They reported for the first time on the subjects at the age of about 30 years and found no significant excess mortality among cannabis users. By the age of around 60, those with a history of heavy marijuana use were 40 percent more likely to die prematurely.
  • Then why does marijuana have a reputation for not being a killer? Cocaine, alcohol, and tobacco have all been directly linked to deaths, but marijuana has not. This is because deaths were not directly attributed to “acute physical toxicity of cannabis” – but that does not mean that marijuana did not contribute to an accident that occurred after, for example, cannabis use.
  • Unlike opiates, for example, cannabis users do not overdose, but marijuana use contributes to disease. It is estimated that cannabis use results in two million years of healthy life being lost due to disability each year.

If you want to dive deep into cannabis research, I made an entire DVD that you might be interested in. Please refer Cannabis: what does science say.

My other videos on cannabis include:

The cannabis question reminds me of a similar clash of politics and commercial interests in the cell phone debate. If you are interested, take a look at my videos Does cell phone radiation cause cancer? and Cell phone brain tumor risk?.

You may also want to check out some of my smoking-related videos:

In health,

Michael Greger, MD

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