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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.  

Marijuana Use and Gum Disease: Are They Related? Part 5

Hello to all of our faithful followers and to those of you who are new readers who are with us today!  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.  For those of you who are new to this blog, we welcome you and invite you to follow along as we learn some things you may not have known before, as we get into part 5 of an article series which covers marijuana use and gum disease.   

First, a brief review

Our returning readers may recall that in the past couple of segments of this series, we have been talking about 25 interesting, unusual and perhaps previously unknown things about marijuana.  We have covered number 1 through 19 thus far and it is our plan to cover several more of these 25 points, though it is doubtful that we will complete the list today in this segment. We’ve also talked about the fact that each year more of our states are approving marijuana use for medicinal purposes and many are taking the next step toward approving it for non-medical use.  It is for this latter use that we feel it is important to know some of the lesser-publicized facts about marijuana since it is being made legally available to more people without the oversight of a medical professional.

On to the next group of the 25

  1.  Records of confiscation – Have you ever wondered (or even researched it for yourself) how many things the Guinness Book of Records actually records and reports?  Well, marijuana does show up in the record book but not for the amounts that are grown, smoked or consumed by the various methods available.  It has the dubious honor of being the “bulkiest drug seizure” up to 1982, the seizure weighting 2,903 metric tons (for those of us on the Imperial standard … that’s 6.4 million pounds).  The seizure was made from a Columbian drug operation (Operation Tiburon) which also included 495 people being arrested and the seizure of 95 boats which were suspected of illegal involvement in the operation.  The seizure amount of 2,903 metric tons represented about one-fifth of the entire illegal import of marijuana into the U.S. per year at the time of the seizure which was reported in 1982 in a New York Times article.
  1. Was William Shakespeare a marijuana user?  For those of you who have not heard that rumor, allow me to briefly bring you up to speed.  In 2001, an anthropologist’s curiosity was peaked when he allegedly found some marijuana residue on a pipe which was found in Shakespeare’s garden.  This incident, coupled with a reference to a “noted weed” found in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 76, caused the anthropologist to petition to exhume the grave of the famed playwright so that he could further the search for cannabis in hair and fingernail fragments.  Are you ready for the punchline? First of all, the anthropologist was denied the request for exhumation … and … according to a ground-penetrating radar survey done in 2016, Shakespeare doesn’t likely have any hair because they believe the skull is missing!
  1.  How old is marijuana trade?  Have you ever wondered if civilizations before ours had access to marijuana?  Well, interestingly, if you go back into ancient history, you will find that the first known pot dealers were nomads who roamed the Eastern European Steppe region.  According to a 2016 study, it is believed that the Yamnaya (traders from present day Russia and Ukraine) may possibly have traded cannabis throughout East Asia and Europe as far back as 5,000 years ago.  What makes this even more believable is the fact that the plant grows naturally in both continents, making it possible that as far back as 10,200 years ago the plant was available for multiple uses. It is believed that the increase in cannabis use which was found in this study was as a result of the Yamnaya bringing the smoking habit along as they traveled about.  

In our next segment, we will finish up the final three interesting and odd facts about marijuana, so please be sure to come back next week.  It is our hope that you are learning some new things about marijuana and its effects on the human body. Until next week, we encourage you to get established with a dental professional who can evaluate and monitor the oral health of each member of your family.  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.  

 

Marijuana Use and Gum Disease: Are They Related? Part 4

Welcome back! We so happy that all of our faithful followers as well as to those of you who are new readers are with us today!  For those returning readers, you know that, historically, Dr. Scharf is a Periodontist in Long Island who likes to keep his readers as well as his patients informed about all things dental, especially as they may apply to the overall general health of those patients and readers.  If you are new to this blog, we wish to welcome you and invite you to follow along as we learn some things you may not have known before, as we get into part 4 of a new article series which covers marijuana use and gum disease.    

From Our Previous Segment

In our previous segment, as you may recall, we continued a discussion about twenty-five interesting and unusual facts about marijuana.  You may also recall that we have been discussing why some of these things, as well as other things, may be important to you — with emphasis being given mainly because more and more states are legalizing marijuana for medical use while others are going a step further to legalize it for non-medical uses.  The result of these legal actions has been the increased use of this cannabis a it becomes more prevalent. It is our feeling that you should know as much about it as possible, especially if you or a loved one are currently involved or plan to become involved in its use. We can never know too much about what we’re putting into our bodies.

More of the Interesting and Unusual 25

In our last segment, we had gotten about halfway through the list of 25 unusual things we found about marijuana and, our plan is to make you aware of all 25 of them.  So, without further ado, let’s look at a few more of them:

  1.  Potential allergies to pot – Both the pollen as well as the smoke from the marijuana plant can cause the usual hay fever-like symptoms of coughing, itchy eyes, sneezing and occasional hives.  The reported cases are fewer than one might expect, but you must remember that until recently it was an illegal substance and still is in some areas, so reporting of these types of allergies simply may not have been considered safe and beneficial for the sufferer.  It is important to note as well that there exists a few cases which have been reported in which the victim has suffered from anaphylaxis symptoms, which is a life-threatening condition in which the allergen causes the airway to swell and close off.
  1. Potential for addiction with pot – Dependency on pot by some users has been documented, though the debate continues as to the percentage of users who are at risk.  The symptoms for withdrawal when attempts are made to stop using pot are things like irritability and restlessness and science is looking at the possibilities of a genetic link to show who’s at risk for dependency.  They have found some genetic factors which are suggestive of this but firm evidence remains elusive at this time to make the connection to these genetic factors and pot dependence. They have, however, shown that the variations in the genes which they have found are also seen frequently in people suffering from depression, suggesting that dependence and depression may accompany each other.
  1.  Have you ever wondered if pot mixes with other medications … like Viagra?  Marijuana compounds are known to break down certain liver enzymes, specifically noting that cytochrome P450 is one very important effected enzyme.  It seems that Viagra (sildenafil) relies on cytochrome P450 to break down in the blood and, when used by someone who has been using pot, can increase cardiac issues by causing elevations of the drug in the plasma.  The case of a 41-year old man having a heart attack after combining Viagra and pot the previous night has raised an alarm in the medical community. While it can’t be proven that it was a drug interaction which caused the heart attack, it has thrown up a warning to doctors to exercise more caution when prescribing Viagra.
  1.  The cannabis “back to the future” – Did you know that prior to the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, cannabis ingredients were fairly common in some medical tinctures … and … believe it or not, the manufacturers were not required to list those ingredients on the label?  How about the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937? It came about to control the influx of marijuana that came with cultural changes brought to the United States with the Mexican immigration.  The control of the substance came as a result not of making it illegal but rather a result of this tax being added to the cost of the substance, making the cost to consumer too high for recreational use.  Truly, the legalization of marijuana seems like a”blast from the past” in this “back to the future” scenario.
  1.  How familiar are you with uncontrolled vomiting?  – Did you know that pot can cause paranoia?  While this is probably a well known fact, the fact that it can also cause a condition called hyperemesis syndrome may not be common knowledge.  F.Y.I , any word containing “emesis” means vomiting and, yes, in 2011 doctors reported an additional potential side effect of marijuana use.  It is called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome and generally it is said to have three phases, beginning with morning nausea and abdominal cramping and progressing to vomiting up to 5 times an hour, a condition which can have a duration of 1 or 2 days.  It can be so severe that it can take a chronic user who suffers from this syndrome days, weeks or months to recover. Stopping cannabis use can prevent repeat episodes.
  1.  Legalizing can mean changes in methods of consumption.  Since November 2016, several states joined other states who had previously approved recreational use of marijuana.  Those approving states were (in 2016): California, Massachusetts, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon and Washington. A non-representative poll of about 2,800 users was done to determine what method was used to partake of marijuana.  It was found that vaping and ingestion of edibles was becoming more prevalent in those states in which marijuana was approved for recreational use. As more time passes after legalization, the numbers of pot shops will likely continue to increase which will lead to increases in the numbers of users utilizing the vaping and ingesting of edibles as methods to get their fix.  

Next time, we’ll finish up our list of 25 unusual and odd things about marijuana.  It is our hope that you have gained some new knowledge about marijuana and its effects on the human body.  In the meantime, we urge you to get established with a dental professional who can evaluate and monitor the oral health of each member of your family.  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.