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Marijuana Is Helpful in Xerostomia

Medical ConditionCancer chemotherapy

Abstract

A 39-year-old retired cab driver treated with radiation and chemotherapy for tonsillar cancer 4 years ago finds medical marijuana helpful in reducing oral mucosal dryness and the need for special dental hygiene.

Symptoms

Hyposalivation

Gender

Male

Age

35-44

Brief history and target symptomatology

The patient drove a cab for 39 years and retired 2 years ago. He has suffered from psoriasis for 16 years and currently takes IV Orencia w. maltose ( generic: Abatacept) for severe hand pain due to psoriatic arthritis. He was a longtime tobacco smoker until 2010 when he was diagnosed with right tonsillar cancer and treated with radiation and long-term chemotherapy. He now suffers from dry mouth and decreased appetite. He spends a long time flossing and brushing his teeth after every meal to decrease his risk of dental caries. He does not suffer from xerostomia and does not have Sjogren's syndrome to his knowledge.

Previous and current conventional therapies

Cough lozenges were not effective.

Clinical response to Cannabis

Marijuana subjectively decreases the unpleasant feeling of dry mouth and subjectively increases his production of saliva. It also "definitely" improves his appetite.

Additional Comments

Alterations in whole saliva flow rate induced by fractionated radiotherapy
WB Wescott, JG Mira, EN Starcke, IL Shannon and JI Thornby
American Journal of Roentgenology. 1978;130: 145-149.

Read More: http://www.ajronline.org/doi/abs/10.2214/ajr.130.1.145

Usual method of Cannabis administration

Smoked

Frequency of Usage: Time Per Day

3

Frequency of Usage: Days per Week

7

Contributing Physician

Stefan Arnon M.D.