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How to Decrease the Danger of Marijuana Use
According to a long-term health risk study, marijuana use has been linked to an increased risk of periodontal disease.
What does that mean for cannabis users and their health?
Learn about what an increased risk of periodontal disease might mean for you and the serious complications periodontal disease can lead to. Discover how to reduce your risk for developing marijuana induced periodontal disease.
Risks of Marijuana Use
I’m an all-day cannabis user. I’m also a nurse. I can’t help but wonder about the long-term side-effects of any medication I use, including medical marijuana.
Anything we put into our body might cause side effects. When you drink caffeine you put your heart a risk. When you take iron supplements you risk constipation (which in extreme cases can be deadly).
One of the biggest dangers of marijuana is the increased risk of periodontal disease.
How Periodontal Disease May Be Dangerous
Numerous studies have linked periodontal disease to heart disease. Cause and effect has not been established, but a correlation has been observed.
Periodontal disease is associated with inflammation. It’s been suggested that this inflammation affecting the mouth and gums, may also affect the cardiac system.
Here’s a video explaining:
Cardiac Side-Effects of Cannabis
Marijuana increases the heart rate and dilates blood vessels. This usually results in lower blood pressure.
A November 2016 study linked cannabis use to stress cardiomyopathy.
Have you ever heard of someone dying from a broken heart? It can really happen – emotional grief can physically cause stress cardiomyopathy.
Cannabis might increase the risk of developing stress cardiomyopathy.
Stress cardiomyopathy is a sudden weakening of the heart that feels similar to a heart attack and in extreme cases can result in cardiac arrest and death.
More research is needed to determine the long-term effects cannabis has on the circulatory system. However, cardiac risks should be taken seriously.
Patients with heart conditions must use caution with cannabis. Cardiac patients should only use marijuana under the guidance of a licensed medical provider.
Long Term Study of Cannabis Users
A study published in JAMA in July of 2016, followed marijuana users for 20 years.
Why: To determine the long-term health risks cannabis users faced.
Where: New Zealand
Who: 1037 participants; 657 were cannabis users (some using for up to 20 years).
How: The researchers followed participants over the course of their lives. They measured a variety of health indicators such as lung function, metabolism, and inflammation factors.
When: 1970’s – 2010’s
What they found: Cannabis users have an increased risk of developing periodontal disease.
According to this study, the most dangerous long-term effect of cannabis use is the increased risk of periodontal disease.
That’s it. The only significant risk this study found was that cannabis users had an increased risk for periodontal disease. Read about the study on Duke.edu.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a disease of the gums. Periodontal disease ranges in severity from mild bleeding gums/gingivitis to severe gum infection/periodontitis resulting in complete tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of accumulated bacteria adhering to the teeth.
Accumulated plaque eventually creeps below the gum line causing a multitude of issues.
Why would cannabis cause periodontal disease?
If cannabis causes periodontal disease, it’s possible that dry mouth is a contributing factor.
The mouth has saliva for a reason. Its function is to continually bathe and clean the teeth.
Watch this to learn how important your spit actually is:
Dry mouth allows plaque bacteria to proliferate.
Other Causes of Periodontal Disease
It’s not just cannabis, many medical disorders increase the risk of periodontal disease.
Disorders such as diabetes & hormone problems – even genetics can increase your risk of periodontal disease.
MANY Medications Increase the Risk of Periodontal Disease
More importantly, MANY pharmaceuticals increase your risk for periodontal disease.
Here’s a 23 PAGE list of other medications (besides cannabis) that can cause dry mouth. (That’s a really long list.)
Will marijuana stain my teeth?
(FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click them and make a purchase, I may be paid a commission.)
Smoking marijuana will definitely stain your teeth. How vaporizing affects the teeth, however, has yet to be established.
Anecdotal evidence says vaporizing cannabis results in less tooth stain than smoking marijuana does.
Personally, my regular tea drinking appears to do more damage than my marijuana vaporizer.
Smoking Vs Vaporizing
I should point out that during the New Zealand research, smoking marijuana was the standard method of consumption. This was prior to the vaporization era.
Smoking anything increases the risk of periodontal disease. If you’re smoking marijuana, consider switching to vaporization.
Read on Leaf Science: Benefits of Vaporizing
Dental Wellness & Marijuana
How to Naturally Protect Your Teeth
Dry mouth might increase the risk of periodontal disease, which might increase the risk of heart disease.
Here are ways for cannabis users to prevent dry mouth and reduce the risk for periodontal disease.
Dry Mouth Prevention
- Avoid mouthwash with alcohol (Try: Oral Essentials Dry Mouth)
- Suck on lozenges (TRY: Thera-Breath Lozenges)
- Use a humidifier (TRY: Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier)
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Don’t smoke
- Drink water – sip regularly
*If you’re concerned about dry mouth associated with cannabis use, explore other strains. Some strains of cannabis cause more intense dry mouth than others.
Learn more about Treating Gingivitis from Positive Health Wellness.
But – Can Cannabis Also Protect & Heal Teeth?
Marijuana: A Potent Anti-Inflammatory
Let’s assume for a moment that periodontal disease is a caused by inflammation.
Research has repeatedly deemed marijuana a potent anti-inflammatory. Could the dental application of cannabis reduce the risk of periodontal disease?
Some say yes.
CBD’s Bone Healing Properties
Additionally, cannabis has been found to improve bone health.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, demonstrated the remarkable bone healing properties of cannabidiol. The study found that administering CBD (cannabidiol) to rats with leg fractures significantly improved healing.
Cannabinoids & Dental Care
Could the bone-healing and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis naturally protect (and possibly even heal) teeth?
There isn’t much research about cannabis’ dental effects, but studies suggest that marijuana might benefit our pearly whites. It may simply depend on the method of consumption.
In fact, the research is so exciting that entire oral care lines are being designed around the possible dental effects of cannabis. New dental care line, Orimax features the cannabinoid, CBG.
Consider Holistic Dental Care
Expand Your Dental Horizons
Brushing your teeth regularly and flossing is essential to maintain good oral hygiene, but consider diving a little deeper into your dental wellness routine.
How to Naturally Clean Your Teeth
There are good reasons natural care lines are flooding the market.
I want whiter teeth, but I don’t use bleach on my clothes, there’s no way I’m putting it in my mouth.
I scoured the internet for a natural tooth whitener more potent than baking soda. My discovery surprised me.
Naturally Whiten Teeth
The Amazon reviews wooed me. (Some have before & after photos.)
What it is: Ground Charcoal and Clay
I never imagined rubbing black power into my teeth could be a way of cleaning them. After using this stuff, I feel like I just left the dentist. They feel clean, strong and it really does whiten teeth naturally.
Note: If you’re looking for a quick, easy brush – this stuff isn’t for you. If you’re looking to get a whiter smile, without chemicals – this stuff is worth the trouble.
DIY Cannabis Toothpaste
Or try making our own cannabis toothpaste at home with this recipe from Herb: How To Make Your Own Cannabis Toothpaste
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