Is It Safe To Use Cannabis After Surgery? (Marijuana Use And Surgery)

We often refer to sweet Mary Jane as a healer, but although the medicinal benefits of everyone’s favorite nurse are well documented, it’s wise to question how weed would affect your well-being pre- and post-op.

Is It Safe To Use Cannabis After Surgery? (Marijuana Use And Surgery)

Operations are scary enough as it is; you wouldn’t want to complicate matters any further by smoking up, or gobbling some edibles, or then again… would you? Well, as it turns out, no, you wouldn’t.

Cannabis can have a detrimental impact on our health if used before or after operations, so we must abstain when going under the knife. Read on for some potentially life-saving specifics!

How Does Marijuana Use Affect Surgery Complications?

Despite helping us see the light on our darkest days, smoke before surgery, and we might see the heavenly light, if you catch my drift.

The most common complication for marijuana users going under the knife is that the anesthetic doesn’t hit right, as our tolerance for the good stuff means a much higher dosage of propofol sedation is required.

I don’t know about you, but anesthesia wearing off during surgery is one of my worst nightmares, and as much as I love weed, there’s no way having a smoke beforehand to calm nerves is worth the risk. But it gets much, much worse…

Not only does smoking up before surgery inhibit the intended effects of the anesthesia; it can trigger a bunch of heinous unintended effects too.

The combination of anesthesia and marijuana in our system causes vasodilation. In layman’s terms, that means our heart rate increases while our blood pressure decreases, a combo that significantly raises the risk of airway obstructions and heart issues. And yep, that includes heart attacks.

Then there’s post-op to worry about…

Similar to nicotine smokers, those who smoke weed too close to a surgical date are often far more dependent on ventilators after being stitched up.

And as if this wasn’t enough, there’s a much greater chance of deep scarring or even pneumonia during initial recovery.

In light of all this, it’s absolutely crucial that you let your doctor know about your marijuana use well before the surgery, not just so they can advise on what to do, but so they can fully prepare for what they might run into during the operation.

How Long After Surgery Can You Take CBD?

Okay, so we’ve established that smoking weed before surgery isn’t the best idea, but what about some CBD once you’re off the table?

Well, more bad news I’m afraid. While you don’t have to wait forever to have your first post-op dose, ingesting it too soon can increase the risk of excess bleeding, which in some scenarios, can wind up being fatal.

That said, once a couple of days have passed, and you’re feeling a bit more like yourself, CBD has proved to be an effective pain reliever. So, if you’re not cool with taking the opioids you may well be offered, CBD can be a great help.

Studies have shown that, as an anti-inflammatory, CBD can expedite the healing of wounds. You just have to wait a little while before you can do so safely.

Even so, it’s essential that you consult your doctor before giving it a try. There may be specifics of your condition and operation that may preclude you from partaking after the fact.

How Many Hours Before Surgery Can You Have Marijuana?

Is It Safe To Use Cannabis After Surgery? (Marijuana Use And Surgery)

I know what you’re thinking… So I can’t take a hit for a few hours before I go under? That’s doable. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but you’ll have to stop smoking way more than just a few hours before your surgery.

The general consensus is that, as a bare minimum, you should stop using cannabis two full weeks beforehand, which equates to 336 long, sober hours, but to really prioritize your well-being, you’ll stop even earlier.

Professional advice states that you need to stop using marijuana as soon as possible when you think you might or know for sure that you’ll need an operation.

A couple of months should suffice to clear up most potential complications, but longer would be better, especially if you’re a heavy user. This means, to be safe, you’re looking at >1460 smokeless hours before surgery.

Is Marijuana Safe After Heart Surgery?

Marijuana is lauded for its analgesic properties, which is to say, it can relieve pain, but it can also have a lot of negative side effects on post-op patients, particularly those with some form of heart disease.

Studies have shown that patients who smoke marijuana are far more likely to be readmitted to hospital due to heart attacks or further coronary procedures.

Research in this area is still ongoing, but as smoking weed is known to increase the heart rate, it stands to reason that it might throw a wrench in the works of the old ticker if it’s already struggling.

What’s more, smoking weed can trigger coughing fits that the traumatized areas of our bodies simply can’t handle after surgery. Nausea is another common post-op side effect, and vomiting puts even more strain on our bodies than coughing.

The bottom line here is that, sadly, if you suffer from heart disease, the best course of action is to stop using marijuana altogether.

And if that’s simply not an option for you, you’d best wait a significant amount of time before you take it back up again after surgery, and only if you reach good health.

Are Edibles Okay After Surgery?

Although you don’t put your throat or lungs under any strain when consuming edibles, they contain all the same chemical properties as actual bud, so the same rules that apply to smoking weed after surgery apply to eating it.

In fact, medical professions are particularly concerned about the use of edibles after an operation, as it can be tricky getting small doses right.

Needless to say, consuming too much marijuana in the days, weeks, or months after surgery will increase the chances of complications more than having a little bit here and there.

How Do You Stop Smoking Cannabis?

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If you’ve ever tried to go cold turkey before, you’ll know how tricky it is, but as long as you act quickly, you won’t have to stop at once. In fact, you’ll likely be more successful if you take things step by step.

Here are some tips that might help you temporarily part ways with Mary Jane.

Structure Your Days

I know it’s a cliché, but keeping busy is one of the best things you can do to take your mind off your habit.

Start out by laying down some simple rules, such as a set bedtime and waking time. This is the basic foundation of your more structured existence.

From there, you can make more plans and get into new routines, which is sure to give you a bit of perspective.

Keep A Weed Diary

It helps to be strategic about quitting weed. There may be a number of situational, emotional, or social triggers in your life that make you feel like you need a smoke, so your first port of call is to identify them, and you’ll do so by keeping records.

Each time you smoke, note down the…

  • Day
  • Time
  • Location
  • Who you were with
  • What you were doing
  • Dose
  • How you felt before
  • How you felt after

Keep this up for a couple of weeks and you’ll likely start to notice a pattern. Then, you can make conscious decisions to disrupt them.

Contemplate How Marijuana May Be Negatively Impacting Your Life

Weed can be great, but it isn’t always. Sometimes it can be straight-up consuming.

Think about the things you value most in life, such as your friends, your family, your pets, your passions, your future, etc. Is weed facilitating or impeding your connection to the pillars of your existence?

If you notice it’s having a negative impact in some way, it helps to train your mind out of needing it.

Set Achievable Incremental Goals

As mentioned earlier, going cold turkey sucks, so don’t. Set yourself small, realistic goals that take you in the right direction.

For example, if you smoke 4 joints a day, you could reduce the amount of weed you’re putting in them or perhaps cut down to three.

Once that goal is complete, give yourself a pat on the back and then set yourself another small goal. Over time, these incremental changes lead to BIG progress.

Use The Two Ds

When your urge to smoke cannabis or otherwise, delay the act, and try to distract yourself with something else. Before you know it, you’ll be engrossed in other things.

Don’t Give Yourself Any Excuses

When cutting down, reduced dopamine production can leave us feeling low. What’s more, we can have trouble sleeping and feel irritable a lot of the time.

We’re then likely to use cannabis for functionality’s sake. This is why it’s best (if possible) to try and free yourself of serious responsibilities for the first week or so of cutting weed completely.

Keep busy, but not with anything that could potentially have a dire impact on your life.

Final Thoughts

Going without ‘erb will no doubt be more intimidating than going under the knife for many, but remember, it’s only temporary. Get the op. Get well. Get high, in that order.

I know it’s tempting to fall into the hazy, welcoming embrace of Mary Jane to soothe the soul and calm the pre-op nerves or to ease the post-op pain, but it’s in your best interests to stay sober for a while.

Zack Finch

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