Potential Mechanisms Underlying Marijuana-Associated Periodontal Tissue Destruction

D. A. Scott, H. Dukka, D. Saxena

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


While definitive evidence awaits, cannabis is emerging as a likely risk factor for periodontal tissue destruction. The mechanisms that underlie potential cannabis-induced or cannabis-enhanced periodontal diseases, however, remain to be elucidated. Herein, we 1) examine insights obtained from the endocannabinoid system, 2) summarize animal models of exposure to cannabinoid receptor agonists and antagonists, 3) review the evidence suggesting that cannabis and cannabis-derived molecules exert a profound influence on components of the oral microbiome, and 4) assess studies indicating that marijuana and phytocannabinoids compromise the immune response to plaque. Furthermore, we address how knowledge of cannabinoid influences in the oral cavity may be exploited to provide potential novel periodontal therapeutics, while recognizing that such medicinal approaches may be most appropriate for nonhabitual marijuana users. The suspected increase in susceptibility to periodontitis in marijuana users is multifaceted, and it is clear that we are only beginning to understand the complex toxicological, cellular, and microbial interactions involved. With marijuana consumption increasing across all societal demographics, periodontal complications of use may represent a significant, growing oral health concern. In preparation, an enhanced research response would seem appropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-142
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • bacteria
  • cell biology
  • inflammation
  • microbiology
  • periodontal diseases
  • toxicology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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