ASA: Preoperative Cannabis Use Tied to Higher Pain After Surgery

However, no significant differences seen in opioid use postoperatively between cannabis users and nonusers

TUESDAY, Nov. 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) — While presurgical cannabis use is not associated with postoperative opioid use, it is significantly associated with time-weighted average pain scores in the first 24 hours, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, held from Oct. 22 to 25 in New Orleans.

Elyad Ekrami, M.D., from the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues retrospectively identified 34,521 adult patients who had elective surgeries lasting more than one hour and stayed at the hospital at least 24 hours after the surgery (2010 through 2020). The association between cannabis use and postoperative opioid consumption was assessed.

The researchers found that when adjusting for age, cannabis use was not significantly associated with opioid consumption during the first 24 postoperative hours. However, the median time-weighted average of pain scores during the first 24 postoperative hours was higher in cannabis users versus controls (5.5 versus 4.1). Cannabis use was statistically significantly associated with the time-weighted average pain score during the first 24 postoperative hours (mean difference, 0.58).

“The association between cannabis use, pain scores, and opioid consumption has been reported before in smaller studies, but they’ve had conflicting results,” Ekrami said in a statement. “Our study has a much larger sample size and does not include patients with chronic pain diagnosis or those who received regional anesthesia, which would have seriously conflicted our results. Furthermore, our study groups were balanced by confounding factors, including age, sex, tobacco and other illicit drug use, as well as depression and psychological disorders.”

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