Cannabis has been used for ages to treat pain, illness, and anxiety. The Vikings and medieval Germans were known to use it for toothaches. Now, evidence from a recent study suggests non-psychoactive cannabinoids – the compounds in marijuana that don’t make you high – also may help fight dental plaque.
For this first-of-its-kind study, researchers took plaque samples from 60 healthy adults and exposed them to either cannabinoids (CBD, CBC, CBN, CBG, or CBGA) or a commercial toothpaste, including one plant-based toothpaste with pomegranate and algae.
After an incubation period, researchers checked the bacterial colony count to see the impact of the compounds they were exposed to. The cannabinoids came out way ahead.
The bacterial colony count was much higher in [toothpaste] treatment, whereas significantly less colony count was observed in all cannabinoid treatments.
While the authors acknowledged that commercial oral care products are “considerably effective in maintaining the oral hygiene of the average population,” they emphasized that natural antibacterial properties of cannabinoids makes them more powerful for overall oral health.
Cannabinoids have the potential to be used as an effective antibacterial agent against dental plaque-associated bacteria. Moreover, it provides a safer alternative for synthetic antibiotics to reduce the development of drug resistance.
Like any study, this one has its limitations. The study was small. It included patients with gum disease and those without. As a preliminary study, it was kept straightforward and simple. Randomized, clinical trials are needed to confirm – or refute – these early results.