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The oral effect of cannabis

Cannabis, also referred to as marijuana is a psychoactive drug that derives from the Cannabis plant. In some provinces, marijuana has been legalized for medical or recreational use. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive part of Cannabis and is one of the 485 compounds contained in the plant. THC is the part of the plant that gives the “high,” and the potency of THC ranges from product to product. There are different ways to consume Cannabis, including smoking, vaporizing, or within food as an extract.

Frequent consumption of marijuana can cause:

• Paranoia

• Short-term memory impairment

• Respiratory problems

• Bronchial complaints

• Diarrhea

• Abdominal cramps

• Tachycardia

• Acute panic

Marijuana contains antiemetic properties which offer its most beneficial use. This is especially useful for patients receiving chemotherapy or to reduce intraocular pressure in the treatment of glaucoma. Marijuana can be useful for cancer patients, AIDS patients, and patients suffering from other chronic diseases.

How Cannabis Affects Your Oral Health

Your saliva is a natural cleaning system in your mouth, it dilutes and washes away food particles and acids in your mouth responsible for causing erosion. When enamel dissolves from the surfaces of your teeth, erosion occurs. There may be visible damage which makes the teeth sensitive. Cannabis use reduces saliva production, which leads to a dry mouth. When your mouth is dry, erosion can damage your teeth quickly.

One of the most common chronic diseases among adults is periodontal disease or gum disease, which is linked to saliva production. Gum disease is associated with inflammation, which causes a breakdown in supporting connective tissue and bone, thereby leading to tooth loss. Cannabis use can damage your:

• Teeth

• Gums

• Lips

• Tongue

• Cheeks

• The roof of your mouth

Slight changes in saliva production can cause bad breath, a sore or burning mouth as well as chewing, swallowing, and speaking difficulties. Also, cannabis use can change the lining of your mouth; this is called cannabis stomatitis. Long-term use can lead to chronic inflammation and heighten your risk of oral cancer.

It is crucial that you speak openly about your cannabis use with your Port Moody dentist. They can monitor your mouth, and potential risk areas (teeth, gums and soft tissues) and devise an individual care plan.