Health

Cannabis use increases pain after surgery

Cannabis use increases pain after surgery

Summary: Cannabis users experienced 14% more pain in the first 24 hours after surgery than cannabis users. Additionally, cannabis users consumed 7% more opioids after surgery.

Source: American Society of Anesthesiologists

Adults who use cannabis have more pain after surgery than those who don’t, according to a study presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2022 annual meeting.

“Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States and is increasingly being used as an alternative treatment for chronic pain, but there are limited data showing how it affects patient outcomes after surgery,” said Elyad Ekrami, MD, lead study associate author and clinical research from the Division of Outcomes Research at the Cleveland Clinic Institute of Anesthesiology.

“Our study shows that adults who use cannabis have more — not less — postoperative pain. Consequently, they have higher opioid consumption after surgery.”

Researchers analyzed the records of 34,521 adult patients – of whom 1,681 were cannabis users – who had elective surgery at the Cleveland Clinic from January 2010 to December 2020. Cannabis users had used the drug 30 days before surgery, while the other patients had never used cannabis.

Patients who used cannabis experienced 14% more pain during the first 24 hours after surgery compared to patients who never used cannabis.

In addition, patients who used cannabis consumed 7% more opioids after surgery, which the authors note is not statistically significant but is likely clinically relevant.

“The relationship between cannabis use, pain scores, and opioid consumption has previously been reported in smaller studies, but with conflicting results,” added Dr. Screens.

This shows a person holding a pipe
Patients who used cannabis experienced 14% more pain during the first 24 hours after surgery compared to patients who never used cannabis. Image is in the public domain

“Our study has a much larger sample and does not include patients diagnosed with chronic pain or those who have received regional anesthesia, which would seriously challenge our results.

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This shows the outline of the head

“Furthermore, our study groups were balanced for confounding factors including age, sex, smoking and other illicit drugs, as well as depression and psychological disorders.”

dr. Ekrami noted that additional research is needed to further define the effects of cannabis on surgical outcomes.

“Physicians should consider that patients who use cannabis may have more pain and require slightly higher doses of opioids after surgery, emphasizing the need to continue to explore a multimodal approach to pain management after surgery,” he said.

About this news about pain research

Author: Julia Cremin
Source: American Society of Anesthesiologists
Contact: Julia Cremin – American Society of Anesthesiologists
picture: Image is in the public domain

Original Research: The findings will be presented at the Anesthesiology 2022 meeting



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