The Cannabis Act will likely become law in 2018. This means that in addition the existing program for medical marijuana, the recreational use of marijuana will be legal for adults 18 years and older. What does this mean for your oral health?


Oral adverse effects of Marijuana

Studies have shown that using cannabis can have a number of adverse effects on your oral health.
  • Xerostomia (dry mouth)
  • Dental caries (cavities/tooth decay)
  • Periodontal disease
  • Soft tissue problems (stomatitis, leukoedema, and leukoplakia)
  • Oral cancer
  • Infections
  • Drug interactions:
    • Increased drowsiness if combined with drugs such as codeine and antidepressants (increased drowsiness)
    • Increased bleeding with aspirin, NSAIDs, blood thinners, antiplatelet drugs
    • May influence sugar levels, so caution is advised in patients taking diabetes medications
    • Other possible interactions with: sedatives, CNS depressants, pain relievers, analgesics, corticosteroids.
Little is known of the potential risks of treating patients who use cannabis, including patients who have active cannabis in their body at the time of treatment. Some possible issues include increased heart rate and changes in blood pressure. Cannabis may also lead to fainting spells. For these reasons caution is advised in using cannabis to manage stress or anxiety associated with your dental appointment.


Approved Medial uses

Currently there are two synthetic cannabinoid-based medications available in Canada: 1) Nabilone, an antiemetic used to treat nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. 2) Nabiximols used to relieve pain. Physicians may authorize the use of cannabis oils and marijuana for patients with specific medical conditions, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, MS, or other chronic diseases, when conventional medical treatments are unsuccessful.


Why don’t we know more?

There is limited research on the therapeutic effects of cannabis because it is considered as Schedule II drug under the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. This is why many physicians and researchers advocate for a change in the schedule.


Your advocate in the future

With these impending legal changes, what we know about the potential medical applications and consequences of using cannabis will increase dramatically. Deciphering this information is not always easy. Dr. Caudry is here for you. With her experience and background in scientific research, Dr. Caudry can help advise you on the latest information as it becomes available to ensure you understand any health and dental risks.