By: Buz Deliere | January 3, 2023
According to the first-ever U.S. guidelines issued on cannabis use and its connection with surgery, regular consumption of the drug could result in heightened post-operative pain and nausea, as well as an increased reliance upon opioid medications for relief.
The American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA Pain Medicine) recently released guidelines that underscore the importance of inquiring about cannabis use in all patients prior to any procedure involving anesthesia.
In response to the uptick in cannabis use over the last two decades, healthcare professionals have developed guidelines that ensure safe interactions with anesthesia.
Anesthesiologists are encouraged to inquire about cannabis use before surgical procedures as it may require changes in the anesthesia plan or even cause a delay, according to Samer Narouze M.D., Ph.D., senior author, and ASRA Pain Medicine President. An informed approach allows doctors to ensure safe outcomes for their patients undergoing surgery who consume this increasingly popular substance.
Narouze goes on to say,“They also need to counsel patients about the possible risks and effects of cannabis. For example, even though some people use cannabis therapeutically to help relieve pain, studies have shown regular users may have more pain and nausea after surgery, not less, and may need more medications, including opioids, to manage the discomfort."
Anesthesiologists are advised to assess all patients on their cannabis use, with details such as which products were used, the method of ingestion, and the amount consumed. Additionally, the frequency and timing of usage must be taken into account before administering anesthetics for medical procedures.
The organization that has helped in the release of these new groundbreaking perioperative guidelines, is the “Perioperative Use of Cannabis and Cannabinoids Guidelines Committee,” developed by a 13-member panel comprised of leading experts in chronic pain management as well anesthesiologists and patient advocates.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists has given its stamp of approval to guidelines created to ensure safe preoperative, intraoperative, and post-surgery patient care. These recommendations are seen as invaluable to both anesthesiology professionals and surgeons alike in the successful management of surgeries.
Healthcare providers may now have the tools to better communicate with their patients, potentially making a difference in overall outcomes. These new methods are aimed at supplementing medical professionals' decision-making processes and do not replace clinical judgment entirely.