Cannabis excess linked to bone thinning
October 2016: Researchers have found that people who regularly smoke large amounts of cannabis have reduced bone density and are more prone to fractures.
In the first study of its kind to investigate bone health amongst cannabis users, researchers have found that people who regularly smoke large amounts of cannabis have reduced bone density and are more prone to fractures.
The study also found that heavy cannabis users have a lower body weight and a reduced body mass index (BMI), which could contribute to thinning of their bones. This could mean heavy users of the drug are at greater risk of osteoporosis in later life.
The study, led by Professor Stuart Ralston, of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, has been published in the American Journal of Medicine.
"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." - Professor Stuart Ralston Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, University of Edinburgh.
The team found that the bone density of heavy cannabis users was about five per cent lower than cigarette smokers who did not use cannabis.
Fractures were more common in heavy users compared to non-users, the study found. Moderate users, however, showed no difference from non-users.
The study is funded by Arthritis Research UK.