Can I Take CBD Gummies Before Surgery

Regular marijuana users who need surgery should disclose their use ahead of the procedure, because of its effects on the body and on the anesthesia medications required for sedation. Thinking of using CBD to manage anxiety prior to surgery? Get the facts on what the research suggests.

Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery

Given the increasing prevalence and legalization of marijuana, many patients have come to think that marijuana use is not worth mentioning to their physicians. After all, they reason, I would not necessarily tell my doctor that I had a glass of wine last night, so why should I disclose that I smoked marijuana yesterday? Unfortunately, this reasoning is flawed. Because marijuana has a variety of effects on the body and on anesthesia medicines, it is crucial that anyone undergoing a preoperative evaluation disclose their marijuana use. Don’t worry that your anesthesiologist is judging you. That’s not our job! Our job is to understand your health and body in order to provide you with the safest and most pain-free procedure. This information is part of your confidential medical record, and accurate information is crucial to helping doctors provide good care.

Marijuana can affect the type and amount of anesthesia

The way(s) you use marijuana (smoking, edibles, etc.), how often you use, and how much all can affect how your body responds to anesthesia. Since marijuana and anesthesia both affect the central nervous system, people who use marijuana regularly may need different amounts of anesthesia medicines. In order to know which medicines and how much to use, your doctor needs to know ahead of time how much and how often you use marijuana.

Regular users of marijuana generally need larger doses of anesthesia medicines in order to achieve the same degree of sedation. If you don’t tell your anesthesiologist how much marijuana you smoke, he or she may underestimate how much anesthesia will be needed for you to “go to sleep” and stay asleep during your procedure. For example, compared to nonusers, regular marijuana users (daily to weekly) need over three times as much more propofol to achieve adequate sedation for endoscopies. That is a huge increase in dose that your doctor would want to be prepared to administer.

The higher anesthesia dose required for regular marijuana users can lead to an increased risk of complications, such as decreased blood pressure and delayed awakening from anesthesia.

Marijuana use before surgery can increase the risk of complications

Other side effects of regular marijuana use can lead to serious complications of anesthesia. Inhaled marijuana can affect your lungs and increase phlegm, coughing, wheezing, and the risk of respiratory infections. These lung issues can lead to breathing problems during your anesthetic, such as increased airway sensitivity when the breathing tube is put into or taken out of the airway. This may feel like an asthma attack, with a sensation of difficulty breathing and decreased oxygen getting into the lungs. Regular users of marijuana can also have increased postoperative pain, which leads to higher opioid use during and after surgery. This puts regular marijuana users at risk for opioid use disorder after surgery.

Don’t use marijuana the day of surgery — especially edibles

No matter how worried you are about your procedure, don’t use marijuana to relax — you may end up with your surgery rescheduled or with serious complications. Regardless of how often you usually use marijuana, anesthesiologists agree that you should skip it completely on the day of surgery. You should not smoke or inhale marijuana the day of your surgery, and certainly you should avoid any edible marijuana the day of surgery, since the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ guidelines for preoperative fasting do not allow any solid food for six to eight hours prior to anesthesia, in order to decrease the risk of food getting inhaled into your lungs. This can lead to aspiration pneumonia, a very serious complication that may cause death in some patients.

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The physical effects of marijuana can increase the risk of complications, especially if consumed within an hour or two of anesthesia. Marijuana can raise your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. These changes are even more serious in patients with heart disease. In selected patient populations, this combination of decreased blood pressure and increased heart rate can cause ischemia (lack of blood supply) to the heart muscle, commonly known as a heart attack.

There are still many unknowns about marijuana

Your anesthesiologist needs accurate information about your marijuana use in order to plan safe anesthesia, and we know that no one should use marijuana on the day of surgery. Because of marijuana’s classification as a drug of abuse, we cannot do medical research on marijuana without legislation to allow that research, and this includes research about how marijuana affects surgical procedures and aspects of anesthesia. The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) has urged the federal government to allow medical studies and has endorsed bills to expand research in marijuana.

Your anesthesiologist just wants to keep you safe

The ASA has a list of eight things that you should tell your physician and anesthesiologist before surgery, and the use of marijuana is one of them. Please don’t be afraid to disclose your use of marijuana to your physician, as it will not affect what we think of you. You will help us manage and adjust your anesthetic, prevent complications, and keep you as safe and healthy as possible.

Image: BraunS/Getty Images

About the Author

David Hepner, MD, MPH , Contributor

David Hepner, MD, MPH, is medical director of the Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and associate professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School. He is an associate faculty member of … See Full Bio

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CBD Oil Before Surgery: Is it safe? 5 minute breakdown (2022)

Is taking CBD oil before surgery a good idea? In this article, we outline what many surgery patients who use CBD want to know.

Even though the World Health Organization seems to support the widely accepted, positive safety status of cannabidiol, users of CBD products should still practice caution when using new wellness supplements, especially alongside other medications or treatments.

Because of the way that CBD interacts with some medications, it’s crucial that users take the time to look into how CBD products can affect other aspects of your wellness routine or required medical treatments. One of the most important considerations is the use of CBD oil before surgery.

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If you’re wondering “Should I stop taking CBD oil before surgery?” you’re in the right place. Let’s take a look at what the research says, as well as some expert opinions, on how CBD may affect your pre-surgical routine.

CAN I TAKE CBD OIL BEFORE SURGERY?

Various studies have verified that CBD is safe, and CBD’s safety profile is generally well-rounded. Still, researchers are aware that cannabidiol interacts with multiple medications, which may complicate things when surgical anesthesia or other necessary medications become part of the picture.

So, can you take CBD before surgery?

Here’s what we know:

Many sources suggest that you shouldn’t take much of anything, including water, before surgery to prevent serious complications, like aspiration, increased risk of infection, increased heart rate, or sudden nausea and vomiting.

When you go in for a surgical procedure, you’ll often fill out a form or be verbally assessed regarding your use of opioids or other medications. That’s because certain medications can affect the anesthesia, in some cases making it totally ineffective.

Alternatively, frequent use of some medications may not render the anesthesia completely useless, but your anesthesiologist should know so that he or she can adjust your dose based on your tolerance.

Many sources suggest that CBD falls into line with these ideas. Dr. Perry Solomon, MD, suggests that CBD oil is safe to take in the days prior to scheduled surgery under certain conditions.

For instance, research shows that CBD may also have anti-coagulant effects, meaning it may do the same job as traditional blood thinners. According to Dr. Solomon, CBD may be okay to take before surgery as long as you aren’t taking other medications that may interact with CBD, like blood thinners.

However, Dr. Solomon also says that you should “observe the instructions by whoever calls you from the hospital regarding what time to stop eating and drinking fluids,” making sure you don’t take CBD after that time either.

In short, CBD may be safe to use up until you should discontinue other medications, food, and beverages. This is true for edible CBD items, like CBD Gummies, and other types of CBD products, like oils, capsules, or vaporizers.

Just like with opioid medications, you should inform your doctor and your anesthesiologist about your CBD use.

According to Dr. David Hepner, MD, MPH, this communication is crucial. He states in a Harvard Health publication that traditional cannabis use can alter the amount of anesthesia mediations needed during surgery by more than 300%.

Even though CBD alone may not cause the same resistance to anesthesia as THC, you still want your anesthesiologist to be prepared to increase your dose if needed. That means you should keep track of exactly how much CBD oil you take and when you take it so that you can give accurate information to the doctor.

Many people are interested in using CBD to manage anxiety prior to the surgery, but most research suggests that taking CBD too close to your surgery could pose risks, especially since many doctors don’t quite understand the full effects of CBD oil yet.

Of course, using CBD after surgery may be a different story, and may actually pose an even greater range of benefits than as a pre-operative supplement.

BENEFITS OF CBD OIL FOR POST-OPERATIVE RECOVERY

So what about taking CBD oil after surgery? After most surgical procedures, your doctor will send you home with some sort of prescription to help aid the recovery process and manage pain in the days after your surgery.

According to Dr. Solomon, CBD may help the recovery process as well. He suggests that a 1:1 CBD:THC tincture may even be an appropriate replacement for opioids to manage post-recovery pain.

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CBD also has benefits when used on its own, and according to Dr. Solomon, “as an anti-inflammatory, it may even help with your wound healing.”

Research about the cannabinoid is limited. However, there is some evidence that suggests cannabidiol has many effects that may make it useful for managing post-operative discomfort and aiding recovery.

Like our expert suggested, cannabidiol has been linked to powerful anti-inflammatory effects, which is why many people use it for managing conditions like arthritis. CBD may help inhibit the inflammatory response by binding with certain neuroreceptors to prevent signals of inflammation from reaching the brain.

Research shows that it works in nearly the same way to help prevent pain signals from reaching the brain, too, which means CBD could be useful for managing pain after your surgery.

Different types of cannabidiol applications may help with these symptoms, and CBD topicals may be an effective option for managing postoperative recovery due to the way CBD interacts with the Endocannabinoid System in the skin.

The side effects of surgery vary depending on unique biological characteristics, medications you take, or the type of surgery you had. However, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite are common after many surgical procedures, especially in those who suffer from one of many chronic health conditions. Studies show that CBD is an effective treatment for regulating nausea and vomiting.

Fatigue, another common surgery side effect, may be managed with CBD oil, too. Studies show that cannabidiol has wake-promoting effects, and many people take CBD alongside their coffee to help boost their focus during the day.

Experts also suggest that in larger doses, cannabidiol may even work as a sort of sleep aid. Studies show that CBD may be useful for managing insomnia, especially if sleeplessness is caused by anxiety, inflammation, or pain. Alternatively, other cannabinoids (like CBN) have been linked to sleep benefits that may be useful.

Consult your Doctor about using CBD before surgery and/or after surgery. While your doctor may prescribe medication for any of your post-operative symptoms, many people turn to cannabidiol instead because of its low potential risks.

When compared to most prescription medications, especially narcotics like opioid medications, the side effects of CBD are considerably mild and rare.

For most people, CBD provides the right amount of post-operative relief from anxiety, inflammation, pain, and more, without the same adverse side effects of many prescription options.

TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT USING CBD OIL BEFORE OR AFTER SURGERY

As you can see, there are several ways that cannabidiol may benefit you in the days before or after your surgery, but most experts would suggest avoiding CBD in the hours before a surgical procedure, the same time your doctor recommends avoiding other medications, beverages, and foods.

If you use CBD regularly, or took any CBD in the days prior to your surgery, be sure to inform your doctor and your anesthesiologist.

If you want to reap the many benefits of CBD after your surgery, there are multiple different ways to consume CBD that may work for you. Just be sure that you always talk about plans to change your wellness routine with your doctor, especially if you are going to use CBD products in place of any prescription medications.

If you’re interested in taking CBD before or after surgery, make sure you check out our article Common CBD Oil Side Effects and How to Avoid Them.

For premium CBD that fits seamlessly into your wellness routine, be sure to check out our in-house brand, Vida Optima.

Have you used CBD before or after surgery? Let us know how you used it and how it worked for you in the comments!