Everything Anesthesiologists Need to Know About Patients’ Cannabis Use Before Surgery

According to guidelines issued by the American Society of Regional Anesthesia (ASRA) and Pain Medicine, patients undergoing procedures requiring anesthesia should be asked about cannabis use.

“Prior to surgery, anesthesiologists should ask patients whether they use cannabis — whether medicinally or recreationally — and be prepared to possibly change the anesthesia plan or delay the procedure in certain situations,” says Samir Narooz, said MD, PhD, senior author and author. ASRA Pain Medicine Pres.

guidelines recommend Anesthesiologists examine all patients marijuana useAsking about the type of cannabis product used as well as how, how much, recently and how often.

First US-based guideline on the perioperative management of cannabis

The US guidelines were first developed in response to the increased use of cannabis over the past two decades and concerns that it could potentially interact with anesthesia and lead to complications, Reported The Chronic Magazine.

Narouz notes that counseling patients about the potential risks and effects of cannabis is essential.

“(…) Even though some people use cannabis medically to help relieve pain, studies show Regular users may have more pain and nausea after surgery, not less, and may need more medications, including opioids, to manage the discomfort,” Narouz said. Cannabis and surgery are needed.

However, there is insufficient evidence to guide ventilation settings during surgery in patients who have recently smoked cannabis.

The guidelines are based on an extensive review and experiences from the Perioperative Use of Cannabis and Cannabinoids Guidelines Committee, an organization made up of 13 experts, including anesthesiologists, chronic pain physicians and patient advocates. To a news release.


The committee addressed nine questions and made 21 recommendations. “The recommendation grades were based on the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) process, which assigns a letter (A, B, C, or D grade or I for inadequate) based on the strength of the evidence and balance of benefits. and causes harm.

The total number of recommendations received complete agreement.

Recommendations include:

  • Screening of all patients before surgery
  • Postponement of elective surgery in patients with mental status or impaired decision-making ability at the time of surgery,
  • Counseling frequent, heavy users about post-operative pain control and potential negative effects of cannabis
  • Counseling pregnant patients about the risks of cannabis use to the unborn child in accordance with guidelines.

image by refuge

American Society of Anesthesiologists Reviewed the guidelines and agreed with their recommendations and affirmed their value to anesthesiologists and surgeons.

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Photo: Courtesy Luis Melendez But unsplash

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