Surgery patients with a history of moderate cannabis use are no more likely to experience adverse perioperative outcomes than are those with no history of use, according to data presented at the 2021 Meeting of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine.

Canadian researchers assessed surgical outcomes among a cohort of cannabis users and non-users at a single institution over a 14-month period. After controlling for potential confounders – such as age, sex, and surgery type – investigators identified no statistically significant differences among the two patient groups.

“Our results do not demonstrate a convincing association between self-reported cannabis use and either major surgical outcomes or [post-operative] pain management,” one of the study’s researchers told Anesthesiology News

In some US jurisdictions, patients with a history of medical cannabis use have been denied access by hospitals to certain surgical procedures, like organ transplants, despite any evidence indicating that they are at higher risk for experiencing adverse outcomes. 

Separate analyses have previously identified a correlation between patients with a history of cannabis use and lower in-hospital mortality among those with COPDcongestive heart failurecancerpancreatitisHIVburn-related injuriestraumatic brain injuries, and other types of severe trauma.

A poster of the study, “Effect of preoperative cannabis use on perioperative outcomes: A retrospective cohort study,” is available online.

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