Summary of Evidence on the Effects of Cannabis Use on Oral and Systemic Health
The Office of the Chief Dental Officer of Canada published a synthesis that summarizes existing evidence on the effects of cannabis on oral health and presents the systemic effects of cannabis and the drug interactions (DIs) between cannabis and medications relevant for oral health professionals. Knowledge gaps are identified and evidence-based recommendations are provided to support patients' oral health care with regard to cannabis use.
The objectives of the synthesis are to:
- raise awareness about the effects of cannabis on oral health
- support continuing education of oral health professionals
- facilitate public access to evidence-based information on this issue and
- contribute to a preventive approach to improved oral health.
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CDA Oasis Team
- The effects of cannabis on oral health depend on drug potency (e.g., concentration of THC), other cannabis constituents, toxic byproducts from smoking cannabis (e.g., tar, carcinogens), route of administration (e.g., inhalation or orally), mode of administration (e.g, smoked, vaped or ingested), and the frequency of use (e.g., occasional, regular or daily).
- Cannabis use - and more specifically cannabis smoking - has been associated with poor oral health, and higher prevalence of periodontal disease, caries and gingival hyperplasia. The concurrent use of cannabis and tobacco, however, is a confounding factor in determining the role of cannabis on periodontitis.
- Particularly when smoked, cannabis can cause xerostomia, lower salivary pH and promote plaque and calculus formation, thus increasing the occurrence of caries.
- Because of the absorption of cannabis through the oral mucosa and respiratory system, cannabis use also has systemic effects that oral health professionals should be aware of and familiar with, to adequately manage patients in dental practice.
- It is important for healthcare professionals in general, and oral healthcare practitioners in particular, to be aware of the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics interactions between cannabis and medications used in dental offices.