Cannabis users need 220% more anesthesia to undergo surgery, research findings
- The report comes from a small study of 250 surgery patients in Colorado
- Marijuana has been legally medical and recreational in Colorado since 2012
- The researchers found a need for more anesthesia in patients who regularly used marijuana
According to a new study, cannabis users need more than three times the anesthetic to undergo surgery.
The report, from a small study of 250 surgical patients in Colorado, found that the normal dose of anesthesia was less effective in those who consumed marijuana weekly or daily.
Since 1980, anesthesiologists have been warning marijuana weeks before surgery because the risks are unclear. Last year the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists issued another warning.
But researchers are now racing to understand exactly what those risks are if the drug becomes ubiquitous, with legal medical marijuana in more than half of the US.
The report comes from a small study of 250 surgery patients in Colorado, where marijuana has been legal and recreational since 2012
The research team in Colorado, where marijuana has been legally medical and recreational since 2012, investigated the medical records of 250 patients with endoscopic procedures after 2012.
These procedures include a camera at the end of a long, thin tube that is inserted into the mouth (a gastroscopy) or the bottom (a colonoscopy). It can also be introduced through a small cut into the skin during a viewing operation.
Researchers found that patients who smoked or used cannabis daily or weekly needed more than three times more propofol, a common anesthetic, to relax.
They looked at two other anesthetics and found that patients needed 14 percent more fentanyl and 20 percent more midazolam to achieve optimal sedation for routine procedures, including colonoscopies.
Principal investigator Mark Twardowski said that colleagues in nearby emergency departments say more patients are complaining about chronic nausea, a symptom of regular cannabis use.
He also said that colleagues in anesthesiology have found that cannabis users need a much higher dose of medication to make them fall asleep and attack higher amounts after their surgery.
US cannabis use increased by 43 percent between 2007 and 2015. An estimated 13.5 percent of adults have used it during this period.
As more countries legalize cannabis, researchers say people are more likely to admit to using it. This means that they are more likely to answer questions from a medical professional so that data about their effects can be collected.
Asking questions about cannabis on patient forms is the first step towards obtaining useful information that influences patient care, scientists say.
Dr. Twardowski, an osteopathic internist, said: “Some of the sedative medications have dose-dependent side effects, meaning that the higher the dose, the greater the chance of problems.
& # 39; That becomes especially dangerous if the suppressed respiratory function is a known side effect.
& # 39; Cannabis has certain metabolic effects that we do not understand and patients need to know that their use of medication by other cannabis may be less effective.
& # 39; We see some problematic trends anecdotally and there is virtually no formal data to give a sense of scale or to suggest evidence-based protocols. & # 39;
He added: & # 39; This study really marks a small first step.
& # 39; We still do not understand the mechanism behind the need for higher dosages, which is important to find better care management solutions. & # 39;
Dr. Twardowski's team is developing a follow-up study on different sedation needs and anesthesia and post-procedure pain management for regular cannabis users compared to non-users.
The findings were published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.