Is it Permissible to Consume Cannabis Prior to and Following Surgery?

Is it Permissible to Consume Cannabis Prior to and Following Surgery?

Marijuana and Health: The Use of Medical Cannabis for Postoperative Pain Control

The use of medical marijuana has been on the rise in recent years, with more and more patients turning to this alternative form of medicine as a way to manage their symptoms. With medical cannabis now legal in most American states, there has been growing interest in whether or not it can be used as an alternative for postoperative pain control.

While some patients may feel uncomfortable discussing medical marijuana with their doctor, it is important to have an open dialogue about any pain medication you are provided with and how it may interact with cannabis.

Can Patients Use Medical Cannabis in a Hospital?

Unfortunately, patients cannot be administered or use medical cannabis in a healthcare facility. This is due to the fact that it is an insurance liability for providers to dispense medical cannabis, and hospitals risk losing funding if they allow cannabis use. However, if you have a medical card, nothing can stop you from using medical cannabis to help with your postoperative recovery at home.

The First-Pass Effect of Marijuana and Prescription Medications

When marijuana is ingested, it undergoes significant changes as it is absorbed into the body. Similarly, when other drugs pass through the body, they are also changed themselves. These drug interactions can have many different results and may not just add together or cancel each other out. It is important to consider how marijuana may interact with other drugs processed within the liver and compare oral and sublingual doses.

Can I Use Medical Marijuana Before Surgery?

Long-term use of marijuana can change the way pharmaceuticals react in the body. Specifically regarding surgery, marijuana use resulted in both airway obstruction and an increase in anesthetic doses needed. Furthermore, heavy marijuana users require more anesthesia which can impact safety during surgical procedures.

Surgeons and anesthesiologists are aware of the physical effects caused by marijuana, along with the previously mentioned drug interactions. That is why it is crucial to your safety to have an honest discussion about medical cannabis use before surgery. If your prescribed pain medicine conflicts with cannabis, you could find yourself in more pain.

Using Medical Marijuana After Surgery to Help With Recovery

Marijuana may cause problems in certain cases or raise the risk of injury due to misuse, but it may also provide relief to some users after surgery. In some cases, postponing elective surgery may be required if a patient has moderate to heavy marijuana use.

In conclusion, the use of medical cannabis for postoperative pain control is a complex issue that requires careful consideration and consultation with healthcare professionals. While medical marijuana can offer benefits as an alternative form of treatment, it is important to weigh the potential risks and benefits before deciding whether or not to use it in conjunction with traditional pain medications. Discussing this with your care team before and after surgery can help ensure safe and effective pain management during recovery.

Dr. Paul Miller, MD

Dr. Miller is committed to finding new and innovative ways to help his patients manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. He has a particular interest in the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis and is passionate about educating both his colleagues and patients on its safe and effective use. He is also committed to continuing his education and staying up-to-date on the latest advances in neurology and cannabis research.

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