Learn | 11.29.2023

How Long Before Surgery Should I Stop Eating Edibles?

Preparing for surgery typically involves navigating a list of dos and don'ts. Consuming THC-rich cannabis is one of them.

While reaching for an infused chocolate or gummy may seem like an excellent way to calm pre-surgery nerves, it’s crucial to understand how cannabis, notably THC, can influence your body and the surgical process. Understanding the need to pause consumption of these products is crucial for your safety during surgery.

In this guide, we address the vital question of when to cease cannabis edibles before surgery. Knowing this isn’t just about following a protocol; it’s crucial for minimizing risks during your surgical procedure and ensuring optimal postoperative recovery

How Long Before Surgery Should You Stop Consuming Weed Products?

Deciding when to stop using cannabis products, such as edibles and vapes, before surgery is crucial. The standard advice is to halt usage at least 24 to 48 hours prior. This period allows THC to clear from your system, minimizing interactions with anesthesia and the surgery itself. 

Yet, there’s no universal rule for everyone. Factors like your usage frequency, product potency, and metabolism play a role. Heavier or more frequent users might need a longer break to completely eliminate THC from their bodies. 

Keep in mind that THC’s interaction with anesthesia can be significant, particularly with edibles. Therefore, pausing THC consumption is vital for your safety and the procedure’s success.

Anhonest discussion with your medical team about your cannabis use is essential. They can offer tailored advice, ensuring a safer surgical process. Your openness allows them to prepare appropriately, enhancing your overall care. 

Why is Cannabis Dangerous Before Surgery?

Cannabis, particularly THC, can interact with your body in ways that may complicate surgical procedures.

Here’s a breakdown of the critical concerns to be aware of.

Anesthesia Interactions 

The presence of THC in your system can create complications with anesthesia. Both substances affect your central nervous system, but when combined, they are less predictable and could lead to challenges in managing your anesthetic requirements.

Heart Rate and Blood Pressure 

THC-rich cannabis products are known to affect heart rate and blood pressure. Stable vital signs are crucial during surgery, and fluctuations caused by THC can present challenges for anesthesiologists in maintaining your stability. 

Postoperative Pain Management 

Regular cannabis use can alter how your body perceives and responds to pain medication, necessitating a more customized pain management approach to ensure effective relief and a comfortable recovery. 

Respiratory Concerns 

For those who smoke or vape cannabis, additional concerns arise regarding respiratory health. Inhaling cannabis can irritate your lungs and airways, which might lead to complications both during and after surgery, mainly if general anesthesia is used.

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