In a TikTok video posted on March 10, influencer and doctor Kunal Sood M.D. warned that people who need anesthesia and who smoke pot should disclose that information because of real interactions that can occur. A higher dose of medication may be required for people who smoke regularly, and it’s in the patient’s best interest to plan accordingly.
LAD Bible reports that one doctor is trying to bring light to an issue related to cannabis consumers that has basis in fact—not just a typical scare tactic you may hear from other sources.
“Did you know if you do cannabis (marijuana) long term you will require a higher dose of anaesthesia to achieve the same effect,” his TikTok video reads. “Make sure you tell your anaesthesiologist if you smoke or consume cannabis.”
It’s a simple five-second video, and the doctor simply nods his head in approval, but the video gained over 10 million views at the time of writing. Sood is a double-certified pain doctor and CMO of Avenir Nutrition. He uses comedy and facts to inform people about health issues.
Simply discussing cannabis use with a doctor can make a big difference in their decision for your dose of medicine. The doctor is not suggesting the people quit completely, but simply be honest with their doctors.
In a nutshell, if you consume cannabis regularly, then you will probably need to have a larger dose of anesthesia than someone else in order to be unconscious for your operation and stay unconscious. In the worst case scenario, that could mean not fully knocking out. Waking up during surgery sounds genuinely like one of the all-time worst experiences that a person could have.
It turns out that most experienced anesthesiologists say the same thing. Sometimes it’s recommended to abstain from cannabis for a certain amount of days prior to surgery based on these potential interactions.
Harvard David Hepner, MD, MPH, issued a similar plea in 2020, saying that he’s seeing more people who need different amounts of anesthesia because they consume cannabis.
“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,” Hepner wrote. “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.”
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (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.
Recently, detailed and informed advice on the potential interactions between cannabis and anesthetic medications before, during, and after surgery was released.
The first guidelines on cannabis use and the surgery timeline were published on Jan. 3 by the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA Pain Medicine), who acknowledged that up until now there is “no single document” that summarizes all of these concerns.
The guidance is based on known data and recommendations from the Perioperative Use of Cannabis and Cannabinoids Guidelines Committee—a group composed of 13 anesthesiologists, chronic pain physicians, experts, and patient advocates.
The committee answered nine questions and made 21 recommendations.
“While many of the perioperative risks and challenges related to perioperative cannabis, such as how to advise patients preoperatively, the effects of cannabis on anesthetic medications, and the interaction between cannabis, opioids, and pain, have been described in the literature, there is no single document that summarizes all of these concerns and provides evidence-based recommendations,” the document reads.
You might want to listen to what anesthesiologists are saying about cannabis.