Boost your DentistryIQ: Dental considerations for marijuana use

Dec. 29, 2020
Cannabis is now legal in many states, and its use is more widespread. How does this affect dentists and their treatment of patients who use cannabis? Are many dentists prescribing it in lieu of pain medications?

Since marijuana is now legal in several states, what do dental professionals need to be concerned about? Today’s cannabis is more potent and refined than the marijuana of the '70s and '80s, says Tom Viola, RPh, CCP. He mentions the different species and their effects.

Dr. Pamela Maragliano-Muniz asks Viola about the dental considerations of cannabis. Since there are so many forms of it, are dentists even aware of their patients who use it? Viola says it goes far beyond looking for the smell of burned plant material and it’s harder to detect.

Are very many dentists suggesting that their patients take cannabis for pain and therapeutic purposes? Is it a good alternative to NSAIDS and opioids, or a viable replacement for nitrous oxide in the treatment of dental anxiety?

Where can dentists get more information about cannabis? Where can they learn more about dosing and route of administration? Viola says this information is not yet widely available in dentistry, but he shares a lot of good information here.

Viola encourages dentists to learn more about cannabis both for their patients who use it (it can increase blood pressure and heart rate and lead to resistance to local anesthetic), and before considering prescribing it to their patients.

Learn more about how this hot topic affects your practice in this conversation between Drs. Viola and Maragliano-Muniz.

About the Author

Pamela Maragliano-Muniz, DMD

Pamela Maragliano-Muniz, DMD, is the chief editor of DentistryIQ and editorial co-director of Through the Loupes. Based in Salem, Massachusetts, Dr. Maragliano-Muniz began her clinical career as a dental hygienist. She went on to attend Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, where she earned her doctorate in dental medicine. She then attended the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Dental Medicine, where she became board-certified in prosthodontics. Dr. Maragliano-Muniz owns a private practice, Salem Dental Arts, and lectures on a variety of clinical topics. You may contact her at [email protected].


Pamela Maragliano-Muniz, DMD, named chief editor of DentistryIQ