Cannabis users need a bigger hit of anesthetic to avoid waking mid-op

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Cannabis users need a bigger hit of anesthetic to avoid waking mid-op

US doctors say they can require up to three times the usual dose.

As the recreational use of cannabis is growing in the US, with more states legalizing it, doctors are being advised to ask patients about their marijuana use before operating.

It is the stuff of nightmares. You go into the hospital for a major operation requiring a general anesthetic.

The doctors and nurses do their best to keep you relaxed, but just to take the edge off things, you smoke a huge spliff in the car park before going in. An hour later, you wake up mid-operation, just as the surgeon is sawing away at your leg, or removing something important from your intestines.

Doctors are warning that the growing use of recreational marijuana could mean more patients waking up in the middle of surgery and that anesthetists need to administer higher doses to regular cannabis users to keep them asleep.

The American Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine (Asra) has issued new guidelines for doctors.

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Region: United States