The US surgical field is addressing cannabis use in the operating room

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Operating rooms will have to consider cannabis use in making surgical decisions

With the increasing prevalence of cannabis use among adults, it is important for surgical professionals to recognize the potential cardiopulmonary, gastrointestinal, and central nervous system effects of cannabis use when providing perioperative care to cannabis-using patients. In order to address this issue, the country’s first guideline has been published, discussing in more depth the use of marijuana in patients who will undergo or have undergone any type of surgery.

These various guidelines appear to have been made necessary by concerns that marijuana could potentially interact with anesthesia. There are some important preoperative considerations for patients who are cannabis users. First, it is important to take a good medical history, including a history of cannabis use.

The American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA Pain Medicine) was quick to release these early guidelines. This is because different studies have shown that marijuana can potentially interact with anesthesia and cause complications. The guideline seems to support this, indicating that regular use of the plant could lead to increased nausea and pain after surgery.

The guideline recommends that anesthesia practitioners should take into account the composition of the products used, the history of adverse effects, the dose consumed, the effects caused by missed doses and the time elapsed since the last exposure. Understanding these factors is important in assessing the risks of cardiovascular and respiratory problems, the potential for withdrawal symptoms, the effects of THC administration on delayed gastric emptying and the risks associated with the administration of anesthesia during cannabis intoxication.

Preoperative cannabis use can result in significant safety issues for the patient and healthcare providers. “We hope the guidelines will serve as a roadmap to help provide better care for patients who use cannabis and need surgery,” Samer Narouze, MD, Ph.D., lead author and president of ASRA Pain Medicine, commented.

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