We often have patients question why our medical history is so detailed. Every question is an important one, and withholding information can be dangerous for your health. One example I thought I would highlight today is the use of Cannabis products or Cannabinoids. Why do we ask this?
First let me say that our practice is a “no judgement zone”… We are truly looking out for your safety and would never want to cause any harm during your dental treatment with us.
Certain cannabinoids can depress the central nervous system. People take cannabinoids to help them to relax and that relaxation comes from a depression of the central nervous system. Since greater than 50% of the general population has some fear or anxiety about going to the dentist, we occasionally use anti-anxiety agents. Things like inhaled gases in the form of nitrous oxide and oxygen, or with oral anti-anxiety medications (Valium, Ativan are common ones).
If a patient has taken a cannabinoid, it could act synergistically to potentiate the effects of those drugs. And if a patient have not told us that they’re currently taking a cannabinoid and we give them one of these sedative agents, they could go into a deeper level of sedation than we intend and that could lead to a medical emergency situation.