Dental treatment planning considerations for patients using cannabis: A case report.

J Am Dent Assoc. 2016 Jan 5. pii: S0002-8177(15)01149-6. doi: 10.1016/j.adaj.2015.11.019. [Epub ahead of print]



There is a deficit in clinical research on the potential risks involved in treating dental patients who use cannabis for either medicinal or recreational purposes. The aim of this case report is to illustrate the need for additional education for oral health care professionals so they can understand the wide variety of available cannabis options and their potential effects on dental treatment.


A 27-year-old man sought care at the dental clinic with a nonrestorable molar requiring extraction. During the review of his medical history, the patient reported taking a "dab" of marijuana approximately 5 hours before his appointment. Because of the admission of recent illicit drug use, no treatment was rendered. The patient was offered an appointment the next day but he refused, citing bias in regard to his cannabis use.


The number of Americans using marijuana is increasing rapidly. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing cannabis to some degree, and Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational use. This drastic upswing in availability and usage will require dentists to address the possible effects of cannabis on dental practices. It is imperative that dental care providers make clinical decisions based on scientific evidence regarding the pharmacologic and psychological effects of marijuana, not on the societal stigma associated with illegal drug use. Dentists should be familiar with popular delivery systems and understand the differences between various marijuana options. Clinical guidelines may need to be developed to help providers assess the patient's degree of cognitive impairment. Dentists should be able to advise patients on the potential consequences of this habit on their oral health.


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