We recently had a college student return from college in Colorado who came to the office for a general visit. Dr. Ryne Johnson, prosthodontist and managing partner of Newton Wellesley Dental Partners reports that, “Upon reviewing his medical history before a routine cleaning appointment, “John” admitted to “smoking a lot of pot” during his four years away. There was a raised, white area along the cheek”.

Like Colorado, Massachusetts has recently adopted policies that allow for recreational use of Marijuana. There are dispensaries being planned around the state and a likely increase in recreational use of Pot is certainly coming.

Ganja, Hash, Weed, Mary Jane are but a few of the more common names for cannabis which is a plant-derived drug. Commonly abused, about 2.5% of the world’s population uses cannabis. It can be used in several preparations, with dried leaves and flower (marijuana) that are smokes being the most common. Other methods include smoking via water pipe or vaporizer, adding marijuana to food and consuming it, and using concentrated liquid forms.

Dry mouth is a common problem experienced for one to six hours after using cannabis, as well as an increased appetite. Both lead to becoming more vulnerable to an oral attack from foods and sweet drinks. Thermal injury to the tissues is seen in an additional effect by other opportunistic infectious agents.

And our college student? Because it is virtually impossible to distinguish between these benign entities and carcinoma, biopsy is essential. If dysplasia is demonstrated, consider such lesions premalignant. They have the propensity to transform into carcinoma in situ or invasive squamous cell carcinoma. Thus, such leukoplakic growths must be excised completely and the region observed closely for recurrence. … a biopsy report of hyper-keratosis.

Lessen learned!

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Artwork: www.researchgate.net
Original article: Dr. Gerald Fine