Cannabis/Marijuana Use Negative Impact on Oral Health
There is a lot of hype about the “medical” positives for pain and mood management and other disorders with the use of cannabis or marijuana. However, there is still a stigma attached to its use in general and many people who use cannabis are hesitant to disclose its use to their dentist.
Medical Marijuana can be administered in many ways: pills/capsules, sprays under the tongue, added to food and beverages, suppository, and of course vaped or smoked. Taking a marijuana pill prevents the odor and the damage caused from smoking but still has all the effects of smoking though harder to detect. In dentistry it is important to know if the patient has taken a drug such as marijuana especially when asking for informed consent prior to a procedure or a surgery. Marijuana impairs judgement like alcohol, and alcohol on the breath is easier to detect. Not all forms of marijuana cause impaired judgement, but it is important to know which form the patient is using. The dentist would not perform a surgical procedure on an alcohol impaired patient.
There are many reported adverse effects to using marijuana including the developing brain of adolescents and young adults. The latest edition of Decisions in Dentistry contains an excellent article: Oral Health Care for Marijuana Users http://decisionsindentistry.com/article/oral-health-care-marijuana-users/ that explains the risks and evidence associated with marijuana use.
Chronic marijuana smokers have poorer oral health than the general population with higher numbers of decayed, missing and filled teeth. The changes in the oral mucosa and the higher risk for oral cancers are also due to inhaling marijuana smoke. People seem to look at this drug as a “wonder” cure without understanding the impact on their health and safety and the public safety.