I had the opportunity to contribute to an excellent piece authored by Emma Stone concerning cannabinoids and surgery. I believe it to be a very important subject given the increased numbers of cannabis users nationwide and the relative small amount of research available on CBD and cannabinoids. This lack of knowledge can and should be concerning. Here’s a snippet:

Smoking tobacco before surgery is emphatically discouraged by surgeons, and for good reason: It can increase the chance of complications and may prolong the recovery process.

But what about smoking weed? Two recent studies have explored the implications of cannabis use before surgery. The findings indicate that while cannabis-consuming patients are a generally safe group to put under anesthesia, they do require special considerations before, during and after surgery and may have different pain experience than non-users.

Cannabis Users Require More Care Around Surgery

The first study, published in November 2018, investigated the surgical experience of 50 patients who were defined as regular cannabis users; — they had used cannabis at least every other day for a minimum of a month prior to surgery. The researchers reviewed each patient’s case, comparing differences between cannabis and non-cannabis users before, during, and after surgery.

Three patients were unable to provide informed consent due to cannabis consumption several hours before surgery, resulting in the cancelation of their procedures. Twenty-six of the 50 patients required albuterol, a bronchodilator, to help open and clear their airways. Thirty-one patients were given glycopyrrolate to prevent increased secretions such as saliva to keep airways clear and reduce the risks of associated respiratory conditions such as laryngospasm, or spasm of the vocal cords, that can make intubation difficult.

“These issues are all common in chronic smokers,” said Dr. Hervé Damas, a physician specializing in cannabis treatment who received surgical training at Albert Einstein Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, New York. Long-term cannabis smokers can experience some of the same respiratory issues as chronic tobacco users and may exhibit a lower respiratory capacity.

Read the rest of the story here

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