May 23, 2017 12:05 PM

Cannabis and Surgery: When Can Weed Help You?

Cannabis users may be carried away by the temptation to use weed before or after surgery in order to calm their nerves or relieve pain. Can cannabis actually help you or will it just lead to surgery complications? Dr. David Bearman has recently given an interview to Leafly regarding this important issue.

Dr. David Bearman has a successful career in cannabis-related medicine, including experience in working with drug abuse treatment and prevention. Moreover, he has recently published the book Drugs Are Not The Devil’s Tools that is based on his extensive expertise.

Discussing the issue of cannabis and surgery, Dr. Bearman pointed out that whether it is necessary and safe to use marijuana depends on many factors, and patients should consult their doctor and rely on their professional advice.

Cannabis Consumption Before Surgery

The effects of smoking dried weed flowers last from 1.5 to 2.5 hours on average. However, cannabis use before the surgery can lead to the increased sputum production, which is not good for the patient.

Even if you decide to consume weed before the surgery, it is better to avoid smoking. This method of cannabis use can lead to cough and stimulate the production of sputum. Opt for other safer ways of consuming the drug, such as vaporizing or taking edibles.

Vaporizing is a safer respiratory method as it allows weed users to inhale 70 percent fewer irritants than during smoking.

If you want to consume oral cannabis in the form of weed edibles or tincture, you should adhere to the pre-operative instructions that advise not to eat any food after 10:00 p.m. In this case, cannabinoids are processed by your system in 3-6 hours, and you will not feel any effects in the morning. Thus, it is possible to use cannabis before the surgery provided that you meet the pre-op requirements.

One more thing that requires your attention is your heart rate, as cannabis can increase it. There is also a concern that weed consumers are more susceptible to heart attacks.

Can Cannabis Cause Heart Diseases? WHO Explains
Can Cannabis Cause Heart Diseases? WHO Explains
The danger of tobacco use as a cause of heart diseases is well-known. Long-term marijuana use may be dangerous from a neurocognitive standpoint, but there is little evidence available regarding its impact on heart and blood vessels.

However, Dr. Bearman thinks that cannabis has no negative impact on the cardiovascular system. Even if your blood pressure increases or lowers by five milligrams, it is not the amount that can have any adverse effect on the outcome of your surgery.

There is also scientific evidence that marijuana can reduce elevated blood pressure in patients with severe hypertension. Thus, Dr. Bearman does not recommend to use cannabis before the surgical intervention for people with high blood pressure. Your doctor should be aware of your cannabis consumption before giving you anti-hypertension drugs.

In any case, regular cannabis users should inform the anesthesiologist about taking the substance so that the latter can choose the right dose of medication during the surgery.

How can medical marijuana help with… HYPERTENSION?
How can medical marijuana help with… HYPERTENSION?
Hypertension is a clinical name for high blood pressure. Occasional blood pressure increase is normal and may occur from time to time in healthy individuals, but hypertension is a chronic medical condition when the blood pressure in the arteries is constantly elevated.

Cannabis Consumption After Surgery

Cannabis consumption during postoperative care can be a great alternative medication for reducing surgery aftereffects. However, once again, smoking is not the best option, especially after abdominal surgery. Weed smoke can lead to cough and vomiting, which may increase inner abdominal pressure and have a negative impact on the sutures.

A Third of U.S. Adults Would Use Medical Marijuana for Pain Management
A Third of U.S. Adults Would Use Medical Marijuana for Pain Management
Medical marijuana is currently legal in 25 states and Washington, D.C. Each state has its own list of qualifying medical conditions that can be treated with the help of medical weed. Weed can help back pain, seizures, nausea, a lack of appetite, etc.

Instead, oral cannabinoids can help you manage post-operative pain. Patients can try vaporization or consume cannabis in the form of an under-the-tongue spray.

Dr. Bearman also noted that in the 19th century cannabis was used for treating pain in women after they had given birth to a child. Nowadays, cannabinoids are also well-known for their powerful analgesic properties, especially THC. So, taking cannabis after the surgery can reduce the dose of other medications that doctors prescribe to patients suffering from post-operative aches.

Best Strains of Medical Marijuana for Pain Relief
Best Strains of Medical Marijuana for Pain Relief
Chronic pain is one of the most obstinate and troublesome diseases people may have.
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