Marijuana Use, Gum Disease and Erectile Dysfunction: Are They Related? Part 2

Hello, again, to our faithful followers as well as any new readers who are joining us today.  Recently, we have been discussing a variety of conditions which have linked to gum disease and marijuana use.  Just so you know, Dr. Scharf is a Periodontist in Long Island who delights in the education of his readers as well as his patients, keeping them up-to-date regarding all things dental, especially as they may apply to their overall general health.  Today, as promised last week, we will continue a discussion on the very sensitive topic of ED, pointing out some ways to protect and possibly prevent the ED risks which increase with marijuana/cannabis use. You are invited to follow along as we continue to part 2 of a new article series on the effects of marijuana use, and gum disease as these pertain to erectile dysfunction (ED).

Guys, you have control

As we mentioned last week, our lifestyles can affect our bodies and any of the various systems of it.  Marijuana/cannabis use is one of those lifestyles which can affect our bodies, whether you’re male or female, whether you imbibe regularly or only once in a while.  We specifically refer to sexual function and how it can be affected by cannabis use, and this is especially so if you are male in the form of erectile dysfunction (ED).  There are some things that you can do to prevent these problems or reverse them. I found ten ways that you can control, let’s begin to discuss them.

Some medications

There are some types of medications which are known to affect penile erection function.  Those medication types are:

  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Narcotic types of pain management
  • Allergy and cold medications, whether prescription or over the counter

The chemical mechanism that is said to be responsible is medications like Sudafed, for example, behaves like epinephrine, which is an adrenaline hormone; i.e., an adrenaline rush.  Since an erection is an action which is opposite of an adrenaline rush, Sudafed kills any opportunity for erection. We recommend that you read those medication labels very carefully and try to avoid medications containing Sudafed. If you have other medications which you think may be conflicting with each other, consult your doctor for clarification, management, and possible substitutions.

Belly Fat

Is your waist larger than 35 inches?  If so, then you are twice as prone to have erection issues.  The larger waist size refers to those visceral fat layers which are dangerous for all of us but, for males, it can decrease testosterone levels and increase inflammation.  Both of these results can wreak havoc on erectile function.

Next time, we’ll talk about more of the ten ways to protect your penis.  In the meantime, we want to emphasize how important it is for you and every member of your family to establish with a dental professional who can identify and treat any gum disease which may be present.  Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island, and in that role, he can detect and treat gum disease in any stage in any member of your family.  Call him at (631) 661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.

Marijuana Use, Gum Disease and Erectile Dysfunction: Are They Related? Part 1

Welcome back!  We are again, with our faithful followers and any new readers to our blog, here today to discuss marijuana and gum disease. Dr. Scharf is a Periodontist in Long Island who delights in the education of his readers as well as his patients,  keeping them up-to-date in regard to all things dental, especially as they may apply to their overall general health. For those of you who have been following this blog, you may recall that we have been discussing various health topics as they apply to marijuana / cannabis use, gum disease and how the two might be connected.   Last week, we discussed how marijuana/cannabis use can have effect on various systems in your body, specifically focusing on men’s health and issues with erectile dysfunction (ED). Today, as promised last week, we will continue discussion on this very sensitive topic, pointing out some ways to protect and possibly prevent the ED risks which are increased with marijuana / cannabis use.  But instead of adding another installment to our previous article series, we’re starting a new one focusing on men’s health as it is affected by cannabis use because this is an important medical and psychological issue. You are invited to follow along as we continue to part 1 of a new article series on the effects of marijuana use and gum disease as these pertain to erectile dysfunction (ED).

You have some control

For many men, the risks of some of the less beneficial habits in their lifestyle are not really a high priority to them … that is until they begin to experience the effects of some of those habits in areas of their lives which they consider most important.  For most men, one of those more important areas of their lives is buried in their pants … specifically, their penis and the associated sexual implications which accompany erectile dysfunction. If you are, or if you know someone who is, a marijuana/cannabis user, it is important to know the risks and potential outcomes of those risks to the various body systems and parts.  While all this is true, let me point out that, like many other health conditions, there are some things that you can do to protect yourself and your important parts. I found 10 simple ways to protect one of your most basic urges and needs from the dreaded condition called erectile dysfunction or ED. We will be discussing each of them in the coming weeks.

A sensitive issue for sure

While some of our readers may feel this topic is inappropriate, allow me to point out that this blog has covered some pretty sensitive areas for the feminine gender and these sensitive areas have been equally important from a medical standpoint.  Our male readers, just like our female readers, need to know what they need to know about what is happening to their bodies from within in regard to some of their habits, whether the habit is poor oral hygiene, alcohol imbibement, overeating or cannabis use or anything else which is considered damaging to their health.

Next time, we will begin a discussion on each of the 10 ways I found to help protect guys from ED.  In the meantime, we cannot stress enough the importance of getting established with a dental professional and maintaining a routine of follow up care and oversight for your oral health — and that includes every member of your family.  Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist on Long Island and, in the role, he can identify and treat gum disease in any of its various stages of development in any member of your family.  Call him at (631) 661-6633 or pay him a visit online at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

Marijuana Use and Gum Disease: Are They Related? Part 13

Well, here we are again … our faithful followers and any new readers to our blog … and we thank you for joining us again today for another segment in our article series on marijuana and gum disease. As you may already know, Dr. Scharf is a Periodontist in Long Island who delights in the education of his readers as well as his patients, as he loves to keep them informed about all things dental, especially as they may apply to their overall general health. For those of you who have been following this blog, you may recall that we have been discussing various health topics as they apply to marijuana / cannabis use, gum disease and how the two might be connected.   Last week, we continued this article series about marijuana and gum disease, discussing how marijuana/cannabis use can have a long term effect on your brain, discussing the last two of the six major health issues which dentists can see very early in their development as the routine cleaning and evaluations are done. Today, as promised last week, we will discuss a very sensitive topic, the risks of which are increased with marijuana / cannabis use …men’s health, specifically erectile dysfunction. We invite you to come along as we continue to part 13 of this article series as we continue this discussion about men’s health issues as they apply to marijuana use and gum disease.

Gum disease and ED are related… really?

Are you reading this blog post and are finding yourself thinking … “yeah…right!  If this is the case, you could be in for a quite a surprise when, perhaps at the worst possible moment, you experience a “deflated” tool that can’t be revived.  While this situation is certainly inconvenient as well as embarrassing, it can also be a warning sign to bigger, more serious health problems.

Vascular issues run deeply

There is some recent preliminary research which has been done in Taiwan which reveals that poor dental hygiene can lead to erection difficulties over time.  In this study, it showed that men with erectile dysfunction (ED) were 79 percent more likely to have chronic periodontal disease (CPD) than men without ED. Chronic periodontal disease (CPD) is basically an infection of the gum tissues which causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, which creates pockets in which more bacteria and germs can live and breed, wreaking further havoc on the bone that surrounds your teeth.

Chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammation causes changes in the epithelial lining of all of your blood vessels, interfering with normal blood flow, and it is blood flow to vessels in your penis that results in its erection.  Medical professionals are concerned when erectile dysfunction is present because the blood vessels in the penis are only about a quarter of the size of blood vessels in other parts of the body. If these vessels are experiencing impeded blood flow, the chances are that other parts of your body will soon or perhaps already are suffering damage, increasing your risks of heart disease and other vascular diseases.  

What all of this means to those of you who are currently suffering from ED is this: while it is important to have your medical doctor get involved, ascertaining if other parts are also experiencing dysfunction, it is also important for your oral health to be regularly evaluated and treated as needed to identify and control the gum disease which is likely at the root of the problem.  Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island and, in that role, he can identify and treat gum disease in any member of your family.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.  And, stayed tuned and come back next week as we will continue our discussion of this topic and provide some important information to you guys out there that will help to protect your member.

Marijuana Use and Gum Disease: Are They Related? Part 12

Hello to all of  our faithful readers and to you who are new readers of this blog who are joining us today!  If you know anything at all about this blog, then you are already acquainted with the fact that Dr. Scharf is a Periodontist in Long Island who delights in the education of his readers as well as his patients, keeping them informed about all things dental, especially as they may apply to their overall general health. Over the past few weeks, we have been in the midst of an article series in which we are talking about marijuana / cannabis use and gum disease and how the two might be connected.   Last week, we continued this article series about marijuana and gum disease, discussing how marijuana/cannabis use can have a long term effect on your brain, discussing two more of the six major health issues which can be seen very early in their development by your dental professional as the routine cleaning and evaluations are done. Today, we will discuss the last two of those six major health issues … specifically cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, the risks of which are increased with marijuana / cannabis use. You’re invited to come along as we continue to part 12 of this article series as we continue this discussion about those major health issues as they apply to marijuana use and gum disease.

Cancer

So what is it that your dentist sees in your mouth that would lead him to think about cancer?  Basically the gum tissue is discolored … either redder or whiter that normal … and it can be seen even in the back of your mouth, far back in your throat.  This sign often represents a cancer that is the result of human papillomavirus (HPV), a condition which is increasing in young men. Many dentists are looking more carefully at those tissues in males aged 14 years and older — and, yes, that means it is also a concern in older men as well.  As with many cancers, early detection can mean much better results with treatments.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) is a sign that could signal the presence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), especially if it is noted in young people.  This type of arthritis is different from osteoarthritis which generally develops as we age, rheumatoid arthritis is actually an autoimmune disease which is known to sometimes affect younger people.  Research shows that half of those people with early onset RA have exhibited symptoms of TMJ. So, if you have jaw swelling or achiness in your jaw, be sure to get in to see your dental professional as soon as possible for an evaluation.  Early detection and treatment can help ease and slow down the development of this debilitating disease.

Now we have discussed all of the six major health issues which can be seen by your dentist in their earliest stages and, in our next segment, we’ll talk about a very sensitive topic related to health conditions, the risks of which are increased with marijuana / cannabis use …men’s health, specifically erectile dysfunction  . Because frequent marijuana users continue to be shown, statistically, to be twice as likely to develop periodontal disease, it is vital that you get established with a qualified dental professional who can identify and treat gum disease in its earliest stages in any member of your family. Dr. Scharf wants to be that dental professional.  As your Periodontist in Long Island, he can fill that role expertly.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell your how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.

Marijuana Use and Gum Disease: Are They Related? Part 11

Welcome back to our faithful readers as well as those new readers who are joining us today!  For those of you who are already acquainted with this blog, you are well aware that Dr. Scharf is a Periodontist in Long Island who likes to educate his readers as well as his patients, to keep them informed about all things dental, especially as they may apply to their overall general health. We are currently in the midst of an article series in which we are talking about marijuana / cannabis use and gum disease and how the two might be connected.   Last week, we continued this article series about marijuana and gum disease, discussing how marijuana/cannabis use can have a long term effect on your brain, discussing two of the six major health issues which can be seen very early in their development by your dental professional as the routine cleaning and evaluations are done. Today, we will discuss more of those major health issues which are at risk with marijuana / cannabis use. You’re invited to come along as we continue to part 11 of this article series as we continue this discussion about those major health issues as they apply to marijuana use and gum disease.

A Brief Review

In our last segment, we talked about diabetes, with dryness in various oral tissues being one of the earliest symptoms noted by your dentist of undiagnosed diabetes mellitus.  Acid reflux is the second major health issue that we discussed, pointing out that you can don’t have to be experiencing the heartburn symptoms for your dentist to know you have the condition.  Actually, the acid reflux eats away at the tooth enamel on the bottom teeth and this is said to be occurring in approximately 25 percent of people who suffer from chronic reflux without their having experienced the heartburn symptom.  Now, we’ll move on to the next couple of major health issues.

Crohn’s Disease

While Crohn’s disease is an affliction which affects the intestinal system, there are markers in the mouth, which can be noted by your dental professional, which will signal the likelihood of this disease.  How can the dentist tell? Basically, there are small bumps resembling cobblestones around your teeth that form on the gums. These bumps aren’t painful and most likely you won’t even notice them yourself. These bumps are caused by the same inflammation which is occurring in your intestines, making these bumps a classic sign for doctors.  Not only can these bumps signal intestinal issues but also canker sores in your mouth can signal the presence of Crohn’s as well as other inflammatory bowel conditions.

Heart Disease

Basically, when this is an issue, it is most likely because the dentist has noted classic symptoms like swelling and red gums which bleed easily in the mouth.  Couple these symptoms with increased weight and family history in a person who doesn’t necessarily fit the usual profile (i.e. a younger guy or gal who brushes their teeth frequently) and you could have a recipe for undetected and undiagnosed heart disease.  At this point, both your dentist and your primary care doctor will likely be involved in your care with special deep cleanings from the oral side and a cardiac workup and possible medication intervention to attempt to avoid heart attacks and strokes.

Now we have discussed four of the six major health issues which can be seen by your dentist in their earliest stages and, in our next segment, we’ll talk about the remaining two … cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.  Because frequent marijuana users continue to be shown, statistically, to be twice as likely to develop periodontal disease, it is vital that you get established with a qualified dental professional who can identify and treat gum disease in its earliest stages in any member of your family.  Dr. Scharf wants to be that dental professional. As your Periodontist in Long Island, he can fill that role expertly.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell your how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.

Marijuana Use and Gum Disease: Are They Related? Part 10

Hello again to our faithful followers and those new readers who are with us today!  As many of you know, Dr. Scharf is a Periodontist in Long Island who likes to educate his readers as well as his patients, keeping them informed about all things dental, especially as they may apply to their overall general health. We are currently in the midst of an article series in which we are talking about marijuana / cannabis use and gum disease and how the two might be connected.   Last week, we continued this article series about marijuana and gum disease, discussing how marijuana/cannabis use can have a long term effect on your brain. Today, as promised in last week’s segment, we will discuss risks for other physical and mental conditions and problems which can be increased with marijuana / cannabis use. You’re invited to come along as we continue to part 10 of this article series as we talk a bit about brain changes as they apply to marijuana use and gum disease.

Serious Health Conditions

Your dentist can literally be a life-saver (not the candy) when it comes to spotting symptoms and signs in the oral cavity which can suggest systemic health conditions which can be serious and even life-threatening.  While, you are able to hide the truth when questioned about symptoms of a variety of health conditions, your lips, teeth and gums can’t. There are a number of things for which your dental professional is looking when he or she looks into your mouth during that routine examination, and those things can go much deeper than those oral tissues!  There are six serious health issues which can be seen first in the mouth while you’re having those teeth cleaned, and, over the next few weeks, we will be discussing each of them. The better you are armed, the better and more successful your battle against these conditions will be.

Diabetes

The first one on the list is diabetes mellitus.  One of the first signs of diabetes is dryness which can be noted in a decrease in saliva.  You won’t notice this decrease until the production of saliva has decreased by at least 50% but your dentist will.  Not only can your dentist spot decreased saliva production as an early sign of diabetes, but, chronic bad breath and slow healing of cuts or burns in the mouth can also be spotted.  These are also early signs of undetected diabetes and may arouse the suspicion of your dental professional.

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux can cause erosion in the bottom teeth — gastric acid can certainly munch away at those pearly whites!  Statistics reveal that about 25% of the people having chronic reflux have already experienced erosion of the tooth enamel, sometimes without any of the other symptoms like heartburn showing up.

These are just two of the six major health issues which can be seen by your dentist in their earliest stages.  Since frequent marijuana users have been shown to statistically be twice as likely to develop periodontal disease, it bears repeating that you need to be established with a qualified dental professional who can identify and treat gum disease in its earliest or latter stages in any member of your family.  Dr. Scharf wants to be that dental professional. As your Periodontist in Long Island, he can fill that role expertly.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell your how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.

 

Marijuana Use and Gum Disease: Are They Related? Part 9

We welcome back our faithful readers as well as to those new readers who are with us today!  Dr. Scharf is a Periodontist in Long Island who likes to educate his readers as well as his patients, keeping them informed about all things dental, especially as they may apply to their overall general health. We recently posted several segments of this article series which discussed 25 unusual and, perhaps, previously unknown facts about marijuana/cannabis use.   Last week, we continued this article series about marijuana and gum disease, discussing how marijuana/cannabis use can have an effect on your brain in the short term. Today, as promised, we will discuss the long term effects on the brain. So we invite you to follow along as we continue to part 9 of this article series as we talk a bit about brain changes as they apply to marijuana use and gum disease.

There are long term effects in the brain

While research has documented the presence of long term effects on the brain with cannabis/marijuana use, it has not yet established the duration of these effects nor whether they are permanent or if they will improve as goes on after cannabis use has been discontinued.  We know that cannabis use affects the development of the brain. For example, when people begin using the cannabis as teenagers, it is possible that the drugs contained in marijuana/cannabis use can impair thinking, memory and learning functions, affecting the way the brain develops the connections between these areas for appropriate function.

Are brain changes lasting?

Currently, researchers are trying to determine if the changes to the brain with cannabis use are permanent, or, if not, just how long the effects will last once the cannabis use has been discontinued.  In a study done by Duke University in New Zealand, researchers looked at people who had begun using cannabis heavily as teens and continued until well into adulthood. They found that those who began heavy use of cannabis in their teens, and who had an ongoing marijuana use disorder, lost an average of 8 I.Q. points between the ages of 13 years and 38 years.  Those who began cannabis use as adults showed no notable I.Q. loss.

A Look Ahead

While research is still digging to ascertain if the effects on the brain with cannabis use is permanent, anyone who is considering beginning or for those who continue to use marijuana, it is important to note that the levels of THC in marijuana is higher now than it has been in previous decades.  This increased exposure elevates the risks of harmful reactions to its use, especially for new users. This fact may be supported by the increased number of emergency room visits being felt all across the country. Add to this the fact that edibles are becoming more popular, exacerbating the already increasing levels of THC, and you have a recipe for significantly higher risks of addiction as well as increased health risks.  

In our next segment, we will talk a little bit about several of those risks for other physical and mental conditions or problems which are increased with marijuana/cannabis use.  Until then, we urge you to get established with a dental professional who can evaluate the oral health of each member of your family, regardless of whether they are cannabis users or not.  Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist on Long Island and, in that role, he can identify and treat gum disease in you and your family members.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.

Marijuana Use and Gum Disease: Are They Related? Part 8

Welcome back, faithful followers and those of you who are new readers who are with us today!  For those of you who have been following this blog for any period of time, then you’ve likely already noticed that Dr. Scharf is a Periodontist in Long Island who likes to educate his readers as well as his patients, keeping them informed about all things dental, especially as they may apply to their overall general health. We recently posted several segments of this article series which discussed 25 unusual and, perhaps, previously unknown facts about marijuana/cannabis use.  We continue this article series about marijuana and gum disease today as we discuss how marijuana/cannabis use can have an effect on your brain, both short term as well as long term. So we welcome to those of you who are new to this blog, and invite you to follow along as we continue to part 8 of this article series as we talk a bit about brain changes as they apply to marijuana use and gum disease.

What is marijuana?

Marijuana is a term which is applied to the dried stems, leaves, flowers and seeds of the Cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica plant.  This substance is used for smoking as well as ingestion, the history of the use of this cannabis going back into the Old Testament.  It contains mind altering substances like THC and other similar compounds and it is probably the most popular illegal substance currently in use.  Some states have legalized its use for medical purposes and still others have gone one further step to legalize it for recreational or non-medical use.  In 2015, over 11 million young adults, aged 18 to 25, reported using it in the past year.

Short term effects of marijuana on the brain  

THC and similar compounds affect some specific brain cell receptors that generally have a part in the normal development and brain function.  Marijuana activates or lights up various parts of the brain which have the greatest number of these specific receptors, causing the “high” feeling that many experience.  Here are some of the other types of things you might notice:

  • Altered senses: for example, one might see a variety of colors which are brighter than normal
  • Sense of time is altered
  • Mood changes
  • Impaired movement of the body
  • Problem-solving and thinking difficulty
  • Memory impairment
  • High doses can cause hallucinations
  • High doses can cause delusions
  • High doses can cause psychosis

In our next segment, we will discuss the long term effects of marijuana/cannabis use.  In the meantime, we want to encourage you to get established with a dental professional who can evaluate and monitor the oral health of every member of your family.  Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.

 

Marijuana Use and Gum Disease: Are They Related? Part 7

Welcome back, to all of our faithful followers and to those of you who are new readers who are with us today!  If you have been following this blog, then you’re already aware that we recently posted several segments of this article series which discussed 25 unusual and, perhaps, previously unknown facts about marijuana/cannabis use.  Also, if you have followed this blog for any length of time, I don’t have to tell you that, historically, Dr. Scharf has been a Periodontist in Long Island who likes to spread the word to his readers as well as his patients, keeping them informed about all things dental, especially as they may apply to their overall general health.  We welcome those of you who are new to this blog, and invite you to follow along as we continue to part 7 of this article series as we talk a bit about weight gain as it applies to marijuana use and gum disease.

Can you gain weight with marijuana use?

For those of us who already have a propensity for putting on unwanted weight, yoyo dieting and a variety of health conditions which are associated with obesity and uncontrolled weight gain, you probably really don’t want to talk about this particular aspect of cannabis use.  While I know you don’t need to hear yet another potential cause for unintended weight gain, this is an aspect of which you should be aware if you partake of marijuana/cannabis use.  There is data which has been released from a study done several years ago that supports this. There are several factors which can have an affect on your weight-gaining potential, like the quantity of marijuana that you smoke and your gender for example.  Researchers wanted to ascertain if pot users were at risk for putting on some extra poundage because, one of the side effects of pot use tends light up the munchie fire in many users.  The researchers reviewed data amassed on teens, aged 12 or 13, who enrolled in a 13 year study on nicotine dependence in teens.  When they reached the age of 20, 271 men and 319 women were queried about whether they had smoked marijuana in the past year and, if so, how often.  The frequency of smoking cigarettes was also ascertained at this same time. Body mass indexes and waist sizes were also tracked from age 17 to 24 in this same group.

What the study revealed

The researchers found that for those in the study group who smoked marijuana with regularity but did not smoke cigarettes did gain weight — the more often they smoked marijuana, the more weight they gained.  They found that men, for example, who smoked marijuana daily gained more weight than those men who only smoked the cannabis weekly.

More interesting information

The researchers ascertained that there are other factors which have an effect on weight gain with cannabis use … i.e. gender, level of marijuana use and cigarette smoking.  The caveat, then, is this, the researchers also looked at the data for those men who smoked both cigarettes and marijuana and found that men who smoked both marijuana and cigarettes gained less weight than those who smoked marijuana only.  I’m sure you’re curious as to the reason why they think this is so … the nicotine in the cigarettes tends to decrease appetite.  And the gender issue … well, the study revealed that women did not gain any less weight whether they smoked marijuana only or both cigarettes and marijuana.  They felt that the THC in marijuana and the nicotine in cigarettes is somehow modified by hormonal influences in the women’s brain.

Next time, we’ll talk about what happens in the brain with cannabis use.  Until then, we want to impress upon you the importance of getting established with a dental professional who can evaluate, identify and treat any oral issues which may exist for any member of your family, whether marijuana is being used or not.  Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island and, in the role, he can identify and treat gum disease in you and your family.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or pay him a visit on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.

Marijuana Use and Gum Disease: Are They Related? Part 6

Hello again, to all of our faithful followers and to those of you who are new readers who are with us today! We are so happy that you’ve returned for the last three of the interesting and unusual facts about marijuana discussion which we began several weeks ago.  If you are a returning reader, I don’t have to tell you that, historically, Dr. Scharf has been a Periodontist in Long Island who likes to spread the word to his readers as well as his patients, keeping them informed about all things dental, especially as they may apply to their overall general health.  We welcome those of you who are new to this blog, and invite you to follow along as we learn some things you may not have known before, as we get into part 6 of the article series which covers marijuana use and gum disease.   

As you may recall …

Over the past several segments, we have been discussing 25 odd and unusual (and interesting!) facts about marijuana that may not necessarily be well known to the mainstream population.  We felt it was important to share these facts with you as marijuana use is increasing across the United States as well as worldwide as more and more states in the U.S. and communities globally are approving the use of marijuana for legal medicinal and non-medicinal purposes.  One should always know as much as possible about what one is putting into one’s body.

Now, let’s finish the 25 …

  1.  How long will your cannabis survive?  Have you ever had cause or reason to find out if your harvested and dried marijuana would still look like marijuana several years down the road?  Researchers and archaeologists studied some ancient remains in 2008. It seems the remains belonged to a 45-year-old male who died most likely in the highlands of the Tianshan Mountains in Xinjiang, China about 2, 700 years ago.  Soon after his death, it is believed that his bones were taken for interment to a cemetery called Yanghai in the Gobi Desert. Amid the remains, they found a bag and a bowl containing 28 ounces (789 grams) of cannabis sativa. Believe it or not, having apparently been preserved by the dry desert conditions, the plant substance was still green but without the distinctive cannabis smell.  The researchers tried to germinate the seeds but were unsuccessful and the plant found in the bowl was slightly ground up, suggesting, they believe, that the weed was used for “medicinal or mystical attributes”.
  1.  Buried in cannabis –  Archaeologists found the grave of another gentleman who was buried in a cemetery close to the cemetery in which the above gentleman was buried and felt that this second gentleman met his Maker about the same time as the previously found man.  This one was a 35-year-old man buried in Jiayi, a cemetery relatively near Yanghai in Western China. This man was strangely buried as well … under a shroud of cannabis! Researchers found 13 cannabis plants draped over his chest, extending from his chin to his groin in a diagonal fashion, the estimated age of the burial being between 2,400 and 2,800 years old.  While it is not known why he was buried in this fashion, the fact that the cannabis plants were grown plants which had been uprooted suggested that he had died and been buried in August or September.

25.  The green that can alter your “rewards” processing – In 2016, researchers did a study of marijuana users, some heavier users than others, to ascertain what, if any, affect the drug had on how the user perceives winning and losing.  They studied participants while they played a game in which they could win a few cents or lose a few dollars and brain scanning was used to monitor changes to the part of the brain which processes rewards … the nucleus accumbens.  The study data showed that the more frequent users of marijuana showed weaker responses to the nucleus accumbens responses than those who used less frequently. The study could not, however, definitively affirm that marijuana use was the cause of these brain changes, stating that there could be a third cause involved or some underlying reason why an individual with a somewhat reduced response to rewards might gravitate toward marijuana use.

Well, there you have it … all 25 odd, unusual and interesting facts you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask about marijuana!.  Seriously though, we truly hope that you have learned something important from this discussion and can look at marijuana use through more informed eyes.  We also hope that you have taken the initiative and gotten established with a dental professional who can evaluate and treat your family’s oral health conditions.  Dr Scharf wants to be be your Periodontist in Long Island.  In that role, he can help to identify and treat gum disease in any member of your family.  Call him at (631)661-6633 or pay him a visit online at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.