What Your Anesthesiologist Needs to Know About Your Cannabis Use

October 2, 2022

Cannabis use among adults in the United States is increasing and expected to continue its upward trend as more states legalize medical and recreational cannabis use. For your safety, it is important that you disclose your cannabis use to whomever provides your medical care. If you are planning to have surgery, it’s especially important to be open about your cannabis use with your anesthesiologist due to cannabis’ effects on your cardiopulmonary, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. Here are the top 3 things your anesthesiologist needs to know.

  • Do you consume cannabis regularly?
  • How do you usually consume cannabis (ingest or inhale)? Inhaled use is generally discouraged within 72 hours proceeding surgery due to the concern for airway and respiratory complications.
  • When was the last time you consumed cannabis? Are you acutely intoxicated with cannabis? Your anesthesiologist may look for signs of withdrawal that need to be addressed. Acute cannabis intoxication symptoms include increased anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis. If you are experiencing this and your surgery is considered elective, it will likely need to be rescheduled.