Patients may be afraid to tell their doctors that they used marijuana the night before their surgeries, for fear of being judged. However, it’s important to let your doctor know about your marijuana use, as it affects the use of anesthesia and how you recover. By seeking treatment for chronic marijuana use, you will not have to worry about any complications you could potentially endure after surgery.  

Marijuana’s Effects on Anesthesia

The way you use marijuana, including much and how often, can affect the way your body responds to anesthesia. People who are chronic marijuana users may need a different amount of anesthesia than normally given, as marijuana and anesthesia both affect the central nervous system. Consequently, regular marijuana users generally need larger doses of anesthesia to achieve the same level of sedation. A regular user, for example, would need three times the amount of anesthesia to achieve the right amount of sedation for an endoscopy. Keep in mind that the higher anesthesia dose can lead to an increased risk of complications, like decreased blood pressure and delayed awakening. Due to these concerns, your doctor must know the truth about your marijuana use in advance, to prepare accordingly.

Health Complications of Marijuana Use Before Surgery

Inhaled marijuana can affect your lungs and increase phlegm, coughing, wheezing, and respiratory infections. Lung issues like these can lead to respiratory concerns while under anesthesia. For example, when airways are sensitive as a result of marijuana use, the patient can experience complications when a breathing tube is used during surgery. The result could be a reaction similar to an asthma attack. Regular marijuana users can also suffer from postoperative pain, leading to higher opioid use during and after surgery. Struggling with one addiction is a challenge, but having two can present even more obstacles.

Avoid Using Marijuana the Day of Surgery

Do not use marijuana as a tool to relax before surgery, as this may lead to you having to reschedule to avoid potentially serious complications. Do not inhale it, smoke it, or even use edibles, as you are not supposed to have any solid food six to eight hours before the use of anesthesia anyway. Marijuana can raise your heart rate or lower your blood pressure. Tell your doctor if you have used marijuana before your surgery so they can better manage the anesthesia used. Attending treatment for your marijuana use now will prevent you from dealing with these sorts of issues in the future. 

People use marijuana as a way to deal with their anxiety and help them to relax. However, it’s important to note that marijuana use does have its risks. For example, if you use marijuana the day before surgery, it can lead to serious consequences. If you do not tell your doctor about your marijuana use, it can affect how you respond to and recover from surgery. The second you realize your marijuana use is a problem, call Alta Loma. We are here to help. Our transformative treatment center, located in Georgetown, Texas, can provide you with all the tools you need to stay sober. We offer services such as 12-step programs, individualized therapy, medication management, and education on healthy coping skills. We understand how hard it can be to break a pattern of substance abuse. Our trained specialists can show you a different path and help get your life back on track. Please call (866) 457-3843 for more information about our program.


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You understand your needs best. If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your treatment and feel like your program options don’t fully understand you or aspects of your recovery, it’s time to contact the specialists at Alta Loma. We will help you craft the ideal care plan and secure the support you need, quickly, to avoid unnecessary problems. At Alta Loma, that’s our mission — to provide each individual with optimum care for the wellbeing they deserve.