Cannabidiol (CBD) is widely taken mainly for its anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, many people even take it as a daily supplement in order to prevent disease.
But can you take it if you have upcoming surgery? The answer isn’t a clear yes or no, so let’s take a deep dive into the specifics so you’re armed with knowledge to make an informed decision. There’s much more to surgery than we think we know, so read on.
Talk To Your Doctor First
The most important first step you must do if you have upcoming surgery is to disclose to your doctor, surgeon, and anesthesiologist that you are taking CBD. Hopefully, you’re working with medical professionals that are already educated about CBD, and regardless of what they tell you, it’s best that you should follow their advice.
Disclosing your cannabis and CBD usage before surgery to a doctor is extremely important because it will have an impact on the overall surgery as well as their recovery plan for you.
You should also keep in mind that for safety, a great deal of supplements and medications, CBD and Vitamin D included, should be discontinued at least 48 hours prior to surgery. The presence of CBD in the blood can cause it to thin, which is why medical professionals always tell patients to discontinue it before surgery. This is even more important if you are already taking blood-thinning medication.
The reason behind this is that blood thinners can cause bleeding time and would healing to be prolonged during and after surgery. Additionally, though while we know CBD and cannabis are safe on their own, there can be contraindications when combined with other kinds of medications including anesthesia.
It’s understandable that you may want to medicate with CBD to help manage the anxiety before a surgery. So while it is safe to take it beforehand, it’s always best to discontinue CBD and all other medications at least 2 days, or even longer if you can. You can assume that CBD will be safe to use until you are told to discontinue other normal food, beverages, and medications by your surgeon.
Increased Anesthesia and Opioid Levels
Studies show that cannabis consumers required more anesthesia and opioids compared to nonusers, during surgery.
One study in particular found that using cannabis prior to surgery caused pain levels to increase. “There is some evidence that cannabis may be beneficial for chronic and nerve pain. However, early research suggests that this is not the case for acute pain such as for surgery of a broken leg,” explains lead author Dr. Ian Holmen. The study found that subjects who used cannabis before they went into surgery reported higher pain levels and needed more opioids as well as anesthesia.
“This study shows that it is important for patients to tell their physician anesthesiologist if they have used cannabis products prior to surgery to ensure they receive the best anesthesia and pain control possible, including the use of non-opioid alternatives,” says Holmen.
Though the results aren’t necessarily fatal, disclosure of your use is still important. “We want to know if there might be a need for more anesthesia,” Holmen says. “The last thing we want to do is to be under-dosing if someone is going to have an increased requirement. The more information we have, the more we can react and monitor to keep a patient safe during a procedure.”
Remember that your anesthesiologist is legally obliged to give you the best possible care for your surgery. If they recommend that you stop consuming cannabis or CBD beforehand, this is only for your safety and well-being. They will absolutely not allow surgery if you are intoxicated, including high from cannabis; in some occasions they may even have to postpone
Post Operation: Benefits of CBD
Once you come out of surgery, it’s normal to experience pain in the areas that were worked on during the surgery. That’s why at the end of a surgical procedure, doctors will provide you with some kind of prescription medication to help speed up recovery and mitigate pain CBD contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it’s the go-to medication for many who need to manage pain, post-surgery included.
Taking CBD to help manage post-operative pain is safe to do, just be sure to check any contraindications with other medicines you are already taking post op. CBD taken in a variety of ways can help manage secondary symptoms of post-surgery pain including headaches, arthritis, muscle pains, and more. It also does a terrific job at relieving muscle and joint pain while improving sleep, which is necessary to helping you recover well after surgery.
Speaking of sleep, getting some shut-eye can be especially difficult after surgery when you have bandages, stitches, wounds, and casts. And in order to get that deep, restful, healing sleep that you need, CBD does the job.
CBD is a known antibiotic, which means that it can help enhance the healing process by getting rid of any microorganisms that may enter the body during recovery. Your immunity is much lower than usual after surgery, and this is another aspect where CBD can help post op.
How to Consume CBD
The most effective ways to consume CBD are through tinctures, oils, and edibles. These forms are known to be more potent and deliver fast-acting, long-lasting pain relief. CBD is safe and there is no chance that you can take too much for it to be risky, however, if it’s your first time consuming CBD, always start with a low dose.
As always, it’s important to consult your doctor if you want to include CBD in post-operative care. Though it is considered a neutral supplement, CBD can still interact with other kinds of medications.