Hi, I’m Dr. Promila Mehan and in this video, I would like to talk to you about how Cannabis affects your oral health.
For anyone that knows me really well, you probably fell off of your chair when you heard the topic of my video today. I’m sure you’re wondering, why would I be talking to you about Marijuana and then why would a dentist be doing a video on this topic.
My interest and curiosity have come through my work in treating patients with sleep disorders. Many of my patients have told me that they have tried CBD oil to help them sleep, for some it made a difference and for some, it didn’t help at all.
And then I started hearing many of my seniors telling me that they have tried Cannabis oil topically to help them with their arthritic pains and then recently I had a young man tell me that it was hard for him to make a decision about his treatment choices because he had smoked too much pot earlier that day. That’s when I knew I needed to learn more about Cannabis. I had actually signed up for a seminar on Cannabis and oral health but it was cancelled due to COVID 19 so I’ve been doing my own research.
So let me share my research with you now.
Cannabinoids are the main active ingredients in cannabis. There are more than 100 active ingredients in cannabis and THC and CBD are probably the most researched.
Cannabinoids are produced by the human body
Found in plants
And also can be manufactured in a lab
Cannabis varieties differ in their THC and CBD levels
Humans naturally produce cannabinoids and these are called endocannabinoids
Endocannabinoids interact with cells receptors throughout the body
Endocannabinoids are like a key and the receptors are like a lock and when the two fit together, it will produce an effect on the body.
These endocannabinoids are involved in a number of body functions including
and so much more
Most people think of Cannabis as an illegal drug that is used for recreation purpose, but we know there are thousands of Canadians finding legitimate therapeutic value in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions such as
Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
My goal was to learn how it affects your oral health.
One of my biggest negative side effects is significant dry mouth
The reduced salivary flow causes plaque retention which is a big risk factor for
And candidiasis, a fungal infection
Cannabis can increase your appetite but the cravings tend to be for high carb sugary foods which will also lead to more cavities,
Combine that with a dry mouth, the cavities will grow at an alarming rate causing a great amount of tooth destruction in a very short period of time.
The effect of cannabis smoke and oral cancer is unclear at the moment and I know there is a lot of research currently being done on this topic. More and more of our younger adolescents are using marijuana and may be using it for many years and we need to really understand what impact cannabis smoke will have on their oral cavity and their general health over an extended period of time.
I am not aware of any studies that have linked cannabis smoke to oral cancer at the moment.
A big concern for me also is when a patient comes into the office intoxicated. You know what, I can’t provide you with treatment because when you come in intoxicated, you can’t give me conscious consent to proceed with treatment. Don’t take cannabis before your dental treatment.
Many people use cannabis to relax them, it works for some and others have reported that they feel even more anxious. Wow, how much more challenging is it going to be for you and me to provide you treatment when you are feeling that way?
Cannabis also can create drug interactions, in my world, I’m concerned about it’s the potential effect on my local anaesthetic. The THC in cannabis can potentially interact with an ingredient in local anaesthetics that can result in a very rapid increase in your heart rate. This is a huge concern for anyone that has had a heart attack or suffers from arrhythmias.
In Canada, Cannabis was federally legalized for recreational use with the recent passing of the Cannabis Act. If you are using Cannabis, for recreational or medical purposes, please share that information with your dentist. We should have a discussion about how Cannabis is affecting your oral health and what we can do to prevent the destruction of your teeth and to make sure you have a safe and happy dental appointment.
Dr. Promila Mehan
350 Conestoga Blvd. Unit B16 Cambridge, ON