Oral and dental diseases are a major global burden, the most common non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and may even affect an individual’s general quality of life and health. The most prevalent dental and oral health conditions are tooth decay (otherwise referred to as dental caries/cavities), oral cancers, gingivitis, periodontitis, periodontal (gum) disease, Noma, oro-dental trauma, oral manifestations of HIV, sensitive teeth, cracked teeth, broken teeth, and congenital anomalies such as cleft lip and palate. Herbs have been utilized for hundreds of years in traditional Chinese, African and Indian medicine and even in some Western countries, for the treatment of oral and dental conditions including but not limited to dental caries, gingivitis and toothaches, dental pulpitis, halitosis (bad breath), mucositis, sore throat, oral wound infections, and periodontal abscesses. Herbs have also been used as plaque removers (chew sticks), antimicrobials, analgesics, anti-inflammatory agents, and antiseptics. Cannabis sativa
L. in particular has been utilized in traditional Asian medicine for tooth-pain management, prevention of dental caries and reduction in gum inflammation. The distribution of cannabinoid (CB) receptors in the mouth suggest that the endocannabinoid system may be a target for the treatment of oral and dental diseases. Most recently, interest has been geared toward the use of Cannabidiol (CBD), one of several secondary metabolites produced by C. sativa
L. CBD is a known anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic, anti-microbial and anti-cancer agent, and as a result, may have therapeutic potential against conditions such burning mouth syndrome, dental anxiety, gingivitis, and possible oral cancer. Other major secondary metabolites of C. sativa
L. such as terpenes and flavonoids also share anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic and anti-microbial properties and may also have dental and oral applications. This review will investigate the potential of secondary metabolites of C. sativa
L. in the treatment of dental and oral diseases.