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Oral healthcare practitioners face significant challenges today as patients are living longer, collecting chronic diseases and the myriad of medications to treat these, all while retaining their dentition and requiring the services of dental professionals.  In the management of oral health dentists will often employ surgical as well as pharmacological interventions which have been time tested yet continue to evolve based on current medical evidence.  Keeping current with the latest therapies to treat patients, while trying to keep a pulse on the many more medications patients may be taking outside of the office (nutraceuticals, herbals, botanicals, prescription, non-prescription, social and illicit drugs), adds to this overall challenge of being able to treat patients both safely and effectively.

Medicinal marijuana is a highly controversial topic in the United States today. While it is unlikely to play a role at this time in patient management from a dental perspective. The number of patients using marijuana is steadily increasing, therefore, OHCPs need to understand and be able to manage patients who are using marijuana for both recreational and medical purposes. There is much to learn about medicinal marijuana from evidence other than clinical trials since many more patients are exposed to this medicine. This course includes historical data and evidence from in vitro studies, literature reviews, meta-analyses, surveys, and community health studies that have contributed in a meaningful way to current scientific understanding of the health outcomes witnessed in the public sphere, where marijuana use is proliferating. It is now up to oral healthcare practitioners to learn about the pharmacology and current state of medicinal marijuana since the impact of this drug has specific consequences on oral pathology, drug interactions and oral health care.

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