Cannabis Usage Linked to Advanced Periodontal Disease


The number of Americans using marijuana is increasing rapidly. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing cannabis to some degree, with Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington having legalized marijuana for recreational use. The JAMA Network recently published a report on the link between long term cannabis use and periodontal disease. Participants belonged to a representative birth cohort of 1037 individuals born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1972 and 1973 and followed to age 38 years, with 95% retention (the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study). Cannabis use was associated with poorer periodontal health (measured by loss of attachment) at age 38 years and within-individual decline in periodontal health from ages 26 to 38 years, even after controlling for tobacco use; however, cannabis use was not related to other physical health problems. A similar study was done in the cohort to test associations between tobacco smoking and problems with physical health. Tobacco use was associated with worse lung function, systemic inflammation, and metabolic health at age 38 years, as well as within-individual decline in health from ages 26 to 38 years.

The Conclusion: Cannabis use for up to 20 years is associated with periodontal disease but is not associated with other physical health problems in early midlife.


In the coming years, as dental professionals, we need to become educators on cannabis usage as it pertains to the oral health of our patients. Proper oral hygiene protocols and regimes will be necessary to treat the declining periodontal health of the cannabis users, as the disease presents itself.


To read more about this study go to ADA News.  



ADA News: Cannabis use associated with periodontal disease June 01, 2016. By Michelle Manchir

JAMA Network: Associations Between Cannabis Use and Physical Health Problems in Early Midlife July 2016

A Longitudinal Comparison of Persistent Cannabis vs Tobacco UsersMadeline H. Meier, PhD1; Avshalom Caspi, PhD2,3,4; Magdalena Cerdá, DrPH5; et alRobert J. Hancox, MD6; HonaLee Harrington, BA2,3; Renate Houts, PhD2,3; Richie Poulton, PhD7; Sandhya Ramrakha, PhD7; W. Murray Thomson, PhD8; Terrie E. Moffitt, PhD2,3,4

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