Date of Award

Winter 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Dental Hygiene


Dental Hygiene


Perceptions of marijuana were studied in healthcare students at EWU. It was found that most students had an average self-reported knowledge of marijuana use. Marijuana comes in several forms such as, edibles, smoked, patches, and lotions. With its recent legalization in Washington State, sales tax alone has accumulated $400 million dollars in the past 3 years. With this increase in use an examination of healthcare students was warranted. Most students also felt there was a need for more education on marijuana and that their current knowledge level was not enough to be competent when talking with patients about use. Overall, participants felt both smoked and smokeless marijuana were harmful to health and understood the increased risk for cancer with smoked use. This need for research was also paired with a desire to discuss this topic with patients. Many areas are understudied in relation to marijuana use. Major areas in need of study include the following: perception based on state of practice, self-responsibility, and years of practice. Educational models need to be formed based on history, systemic effects, perceptions and types used. Educating healthcare professional students on how to bring this topic up with patients’ needs to be addressed as well. Future models should include the use of case studies, mock patients, interprofessional education, and role playing.