Study Shows That Cannabis Users Experience Worse Pain After Surgery

Based on the most recent recommendations, all patients who undergo anesthesia-related surgery should be questioned about their use of marijuana, whether it be for recreational or medicinal use.

New Guidelines Issued

The American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine issued guidelines for physicians during the week on this topic.

The kind of marijuana products that are consumed, how they’re consumed (smoking, consuming, etc.), how frequently they’re consumed, how much is used, and when the most recent dose was are some of the things an anesthesiologist may need to ask.

Prior to surgery, many anesthesiologists already inquire concerning their patients’ use of illicit substances, but some marijuana users those who reside in states that permit recreational use might not view cannabis as an illicit substance.

Therefore, they may choose not to disclose their use to their medical professionals.

According to ASRA president Dr. Samer Narouze, the new guidelines support the use of “straight plain queries” about marijuana use by anesthesiologists who are not really currently doing so.

The recommendations are based upon research showing, contrasted to those who use marijuana infrequently or never, regular marijuana users may feel higher nausea and discomfort after surgery. They may occasionally need additional drugs, such as opioids.

Although many people may use marijuana responsibly and experience a straightforward postoperative course, some could not be as successful and need extra treatment, according to Narouze.

Other guidelines include delaying surgery if clients have a distorted mental status or are high at the time of their surgery.

Educating regular marijuana consumers about the substance’s potentially negative effects on postoperative pain management and warning pregnant women about the dangers of cannabis to an unborn child are also good ideas.

The guidelines advise anesthesiologists to postpone operations for a minimum of two hours after marijuana use, due to a higher risk of a heart attack prior to, during, and after surgery; albeit the data supporting this advice isn’t as solid.

The suggestions were created by a group of anesthesiologists, doctors of chronic pain, and a patient representative in reaction to the rise in marijuana usage over the past 20 years, particularly among young adults as legalization spreads across the US.

Cannabis Usage on the Rise

According to a National Institutes of Health report released last year, marijuana use among adults aged 19 to 30 has reached its highest levels since the study’s authors started tracking these patterns in 1988.

In this demographic, the percentage of people who reported using marijuana in the past year increased from 29% in 2011 to 34% in 2016 to 43% in 2021.

Based on the survey, more than one in ten young individuals reported using marijuana daily in 2021, meaning they used it 20 or more times in the previous month.

Ultimately, marijuana is the most frequently used substance in the US that is prohibited by federal law.