Clinical trials looking at whether cannabidiol (CBD, the second most common ingredient of cannabis, which doesn’t make you stoned) treats gum disease are in the offing in Strylia. The medical cannabis company Impressions Healthcare will mount the research while the CBD will come from the US cannabis manufacturer Axim Biotechnologies.

Might CBD be good for gum disease? Photo: oliver.dodd

Might CBD be good for gum disease? Photo: oliver.dodd

Another three trials staged by Impressions Healthcare looked at the effects of CBD on concussion, sleep apnea and temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the side of the head. CBD also helps with toothache, tooth sensitivity and teeth grinding.

Just what happened

Not a day goes by without most of us covering our gums with acidic foods, environmental toxins, sugar and other harmful substances. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will tell you that over 57% of US adults have gum disease, so considering whether CBD treats it is well worth a try. The 40 subjects will use mouthwash and toothpaste infused with CBD three times a day for 30 days.

It is thought that CBD helps with the common gum diseases gingivitis and periodontitis. Periodontitis is the second most common problem with teeth after tooth decay. Impressions’ CEO, Joel Latham, called this “the culmination of many months of work by our team and research partners” and “significant progress in IHL’s medicinal cannabis activities”. He also described it as “a world-first trial for the use of CBD in treatment of gingivitis and gum disease,” which are “major problems”.

CBD is as good as leading antibiotics

Some studies revealed that CBD is as effective as leading antibiotics, such as azithromycin and tetracycline. The University of Queensland’s Centre for Superbug Studies was one institution to find in recent years that CBD has anti-bacterial properties. Mark Blaskovich, PhD, the centre’s senior research officer, explained that it is believed that CBD kills bacteria by bursting their outer cell membranes. He added that CBD even kills the antibiotic-resistant bacterium methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA.

Don’t forget that CBD is anti-inflammatory

Famously, CBD is anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is one of the key symptoms of gum disease. A study conducted in 2009 showed CBD to decrease inflammation in gum tissue. This, alas, only looked at rats.

CBD counters anxiety

CBD is also famed for easing anxiety: a study conducted by the University of Colorado in 2019 found 79% of people given CBD on a daily basis felt less anxious. While we’re at it, we could take it to reduce the fear of dentists, which is more common than that of heights.

Gum disease can be the result of poor oral hygiene, but some people are more susceptible to it due to genetics. There is thought to be a link between bad gums and a variety of serious health problems, including stroke, artery disease and rheumatoid arthritis. It’s early days yet, but many studies of CBD never made it past animal testing.

But doesn’t smoking cannabis make gum disease more likely?

OK, so there was one study of around 1,000 New Zealanders over 20 years that found cannabis smoking to make gum disease more likely. The research by Impressions Healthcare administered CBD through mouthwash and toothpaste. It looks like the reason for cannabis smokers getting more gum disease is that they’re more prone to dry mouths, which lead to gum disease. Another possibility is that stoners brush their teeth less often. Earlier studies have found this, but the lead researcher in this case, Madeline Meier, an assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University, insisted that this wasn’t true here. Study co-author Avshalom Casp summed things up nicely: “overall damage to physical health is not apparent in this study.”

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