After the 2018 midterm elections, voters in Michigan legalized recreational marijuana, making it the 10th state in the nation to do so. Along with this ballot measure, voters in Utah and Missouri legalized marijuana for medical use, while voters in North Dakota rejected a ballot measure for recreational use. There are even signs that it might be coming to South Carolina. Regardless of your stance on legal marijuana, this decade-long trend towards deregulating the substance has allowed for more research to be done on the plant’s medicinal effects.

Although research is in its early phases, and of course the long-term effects of use have not been properly studied, the abundance of new research can only be a good thing for the science community, especially considering that patients and doctors are now seeking alternative pain treatments because of skyrocketing opioid addiction.

Temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ can be tricky to live with. Pain can be severe and debilitating, causing jaw pain, frequent headaches , even vertigo and dizziness. It’s no wonder patients are seek treatments and alternative pain relief. But is marijuana the answer?

There Are No Conclusive Studies

Even though there have be a major strides in the medicinal qualities or marijuana, looking at its effects on PTSD, depression, and pain relief, no major studies have confirmed its effectiveness in treating TMJ. Some studies have produced promising results. Conducted at the School of Dentistry in Daegu, Korea, one study found that low doses of cannabinoids enhanced the effectiveness of other treatments used for pain-relief in TMJ patients. Yet many other studies suggest there is little to no benefit.

In fact, many culturally-held beliefs in the pain-relieving power of marijuana have also come into question as of late, especially in regard to chronic pain sufferers. An observational study in Australia found little to no evidence that cannabis was effective in managing pain.

Are There Drug-Free Treatment Options?

If you’ve been diagnosed with TMJ or if you’re struggling with TMJ-like symptoms, including, tingling fingers or numbness , ear pain or tinnitus , and worn or chipped teeth, there are effective treatment options that are available to you. TMJ is a disorder than can affect your entire body, not just your mouth. Because of the complex systems of the jaw, any disruption in the process can travel further out to your head, neck, and fingers. To treat this disorder, you must address the underlying problem.

TMJ is essentially continuous damage being caused to the joint which disrupts the body’s natural healing process. It’s like a walking on a sprained ankle. You use your jaw all the time, reinjuring the joint again and again, making it more difficult to recover.

It’s not a bad idea to start by eliminating bad jaw habits, such as chewing gum. Next, see a neuromuscular dentist like Dr. Adam Hahn who can evaluate your jaw thoroughly. We can identify the true cause of your symptoms. To help diagnose them, we apply TENS, a kind of gentle electric massage. This often provides immediate pain relief. In fact, for some people intermittent TENS is all the treatment they need. For most people, though, we provide an orthotic dental appliance, also known as a bite splint , which will help position your jaw so that it can begin to heal.

You may have lived in Columbia, SC with TMJ symptoms for many years. You don’t have to live with them any longer. To start your TMJ treatment, please call (803) 781-9090 or email Smile Columbia Dentistry today.