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Cannabis may thin bones

Thursday October 13th, 2016

People who are heavy users of cannabis face loss of bone density and potential risk of osteoporosis, according to a new study.

Researchers at Edinburgh University, UK, found heavy cannabis users were prone to fractures.

The findings only applied to those who used the drug intensively.

They come from a study of 170 regular smokers compared with 114 non-users reported in the American Journal of Medicine.

The researchers found that heavy smokers had a bone density about 5% lower than cigarette smokers who did not use cannabis.

They also found that heavy users had low body mass index.

The researchers classified heavy users as those who had smoked the drug more than 5,0000 times - but about half had in fact used it more than 47,0000 times.

Researcher Professor Stuart Ralston said: "We have known for a while that the components of cannabis can affect bone cell function but we had no idea up until now of what this might mean to people who use cannabis on a regular basis.

"Our research has shown that heavy users of cannabis have quite a large reduction in bone density compared with non-users and there is a real concern that this may put them at increased risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures later in life."

American Journal of Medicine 1 September 2016 [abstract]

Tags: Alternative Therapy | Orthopaedics | UK News

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