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What marijuana could do to your mouth

The use of marijuana in the United States isn’t as taboo as it used to be. Marijuana — also known as cannabis, grass, hash, pot or weed — is now legal for adult recreational use in 11 states and for medical use in 33 states. A national survey showed 1 in 7 U.S. adults used marijuana in 2017.1

Potential health benefits include:

• Treating epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety

• Managing chronic pain and the side effects of chemotherapy

• Relieving migraine symptoms

• Improving sleep and reducing inflammation

Potential oral health problems include:

Dry mouth and an increased risk of cavities and gum disease

• Irritation, swelling and reddening in your mouth

• White or gray patches on your gums, inside your cheeks, on the bottom of your mouth or on your tongue

• Increased risk of mouth and throat cancers

Problems exist with other forms of marijuana, as well. Some people use the drug by vaping it, brewing it as a tea, or eating it in food such as brownies and gummies. Beyond the potential negative health effects of marijuana itself, some of those edible products can expose your teeth to sugar for hours and promote tooth decay.

Our verdict: Consult with your physician before making any decisions regarding marijuana use. It is still illegal to buy, grow, possess or use marijuana in many states. Follow the laws of the state you live in and be aware of the potential effects on your oral and overall health.