Cannabis users require more anesthesia

Cannabis users require more anesthesia

If you're going to sleep for surgery, you should tell the hospital staff about your cannabis use. 

Dear Stoner: I'm likely to have surgery soon, and my friend told me to be honest about my marijuana use because I'll need more painkillers. I don't take opioids or anything like that, so why would smoking weed require more painkillers?

Dear Jenni: If you're going to sleep for surgery, you should definitely let the hospital staff know that you use cannabis. According to UCHealth, undisciplined cannabis users face serious risks with anesthesia, including heart attacks, if they consume cannabis within an hour of surgery and have pre-existing conditions. Cannabis users also take longer to empty their stomachs, according to UCHealth, leaving them prone to "having stomach contents come into your throat and sucked into your lungs before an anesthesiologist can insert a breathing tube."

Those grizzly outcomes are rare, but this one isn't: Since most cannabis and opioid users require a lot more anesthesia than non-users, not coming clean will probably make your surgery more painful and last longer.

Don't worry: The hospital staffers aren't going to narc, and you won't be fooling them, anyway. "We can figure it out once you are asleep, but it's best if we don’t have to," UCHealth anesthesia director Dr. Jennifer Kollman says.

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