A ‘small’ study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association has found that cannabis users may require two times the level of sedation as compared to nonusers while undergoing medical procedures.
A group of researchers at Community Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado analyzed the record of 250 patients who received endoscopic procedures between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2017.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2012. The records were chosen from the above-mentioned years so as to consider patients who were used to consuming cannabis for at least 4 years.
After carefully going through the records, the researchers found that patients who had reported smoking marijuana or using edibles on a daily or weekly basis required 14% more fentanyl, 20% more midazolam and a whopping 220% more propofol to achieve optimal sedation for routine procedures, including colonoscopies.
To be more precise, 225 non-users took 13.83 mg of propofol, on average, as compared to 44.81 mg consumed by remaining 25 cannabis users.
This isn’t a good sign as there are certain sedatives which may have long-term side effects, especially if administered in high doses. So a doctor or a surgeon should be well aware of their patients’ cannabis consumption habits before performing any procedure.
Dr. Eckhenoff, a professor of anesthesia at the University of Pennsylvania, believes that the research is rather unsatisfactory and should only be considered as a pilot study, a base for other researchers to explore more on the subject.
He added that instead of taking this route, it would have been better if the researchers had controlled exact amounts of sedation and the compared the effects.
Another point that Dr. Eckhenoff highlighted is the small size of cannabis users considered – Just 25 out of 250. Moreover, as a doctor, he knows that patients do not share with doctors the details of “everything else that they consume” so surgeons may not know about the other recreational drugs their patients may be consuming along with marijuana.
Quick stat: Between 2007 and 2015, the use of cannabis increased by 43% in the United States.