Oral Implications of Marijuana Use/Abuse

Stonebrook Dental

Marijuana use can lead to several oral problems. Of most concern to dental providers are the development of dry mouth and an often dramatic increased rate of caries, irritation, inflammation and redness of the oral tissues. Heavy use of marijuana may cause xerostomia in the mouth and dryness in the throat, irritation of oral tissues, edema, and erythema of the uvula. As an added detriment, the dry mouth may increase the caries rate. Candida has been reported to be higher in marijuana users compared with tobacco users.

A limited number of studies have linked a correlation between marijuana use and the risk of periodontal disease. Smoking marijuana may contribute to periodontal disease in a way similar to tobacco smoking

As far as a link to the development of oral cancer, the high intraoral temperature from marijuana smoking can cause changes in oral tissues and cellular disruption. Although these changes likely could lead to oral cancer, the link has not been established.

We need to educate ourselves about the marijuana is the new cigarette, the magical herb, or the prescription needed for some patients.

Other Implications

In addition to oral tissues effects, Marihuana smoking has been implicated in cardiovascular disease. Systematic review reports atrial fibrillation, increased heart rate, and postural hypotension in healthy men who used marijuana. In elderly can led to angina attacks from lack of oxygenated blood in cardiac muscle.

Taken partially from Sources

1-April 2016 issue of the Multnomah Dental Society Hotline Newsletter. Dr. Melissa Beadnell is the editor of the publication and practices as a general dentist in Portland, Oregon.

2- CDA and Dr. Mark Donaldson, pharmacologist and senior executive director at Vizient Pharmacy Advisory Solutions. He is also clinical professor in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy at the University of Montana. Dr. Donaldson shared his expertise on the topic of cannabis in the dental office. April 4, 2018.

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