With the legalization of marijuana taking effect in Maryland as of July 1st, it is crucial to understand why refraining from its use might be in your best interest. While the freedom to consume marijuana can be liberating for some, the Maryland Center for Oral Surgery and Dental Implants encourages everyone to consider the potential risks associated with its use – particularly when it comes to its effect on anesthetics in a surgical setting.

Unregulated THC and CBD Formulations

One of the primary concerns surrounding the use of marijuana is the lack of regulation in THC(Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) formulations. These are the main active ingredients in cannabis, responsible for most of the “high” experienced in the use of marijuana, as well as its therapeutic effects. However, without proper oversight, the inconsistency in potency could lead to unpredictable outcomes, ranging from mild discomfort to severe health issues.

The Psychotropic/Psychiatric Effects

Marijuana is renowned for its psychotropic effects, which can alter an individual’s perception, mood, or consciousness. While some may find these effects desirable, some research shows that marijuana use can increase the risk of certain disorders, such as schizophrenia, among people with risk factors. Additional research is needed to determine if cannabis use could potentially lead to psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, and even psychosis in extreme cases. It is vital to remember that every individual reacts differently to marijuana. What might be a pleasurable experience for one could be a negative situation for another.

Respiratory Risks with Smoking

The most common method of consuming cannabis is smoking, which carries significant respiratory risks. Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains harmful chemicals that can irritate and cause damage to your throat and lungs. The carcinogens and toxins released by combustion can harm the overall health of the lungs. Marijuana smoking is associated with inflammation in the airway and suppressed immunity, which has reportedly shown an increased risk of chronic bronchitis in those who smoke.

The Lack of Research

Despite its growing acceptance, comprehensive research on the effects of marijuana is still lacking due to its classification as a Schedule I drug by the federal government. This lack of data makes it difficult to fully understand and accurately weigh all the potential harms or benefits of marijuana use. However, the constraints on research and the resulting deficiency of knowledge leave many unanswered questions. The uncertainty and lack of clarity around even the most basic of questions surrounding the use of marijuana means safety is hard to measure.

The Clear Effects on Anesthetics

One of the areas studied, and perhaps the most pertinent reason for our patients to avoid marijuana, is its effects on anesthetics. Studies have indicated that regular cannabis users require significantly more anesthesia during medical procedures than non-users, increasing the risk of complications during surgery. This not only presents problems during surgery, but marijuana use may also lead to heightened post-operative discomfort, including increased pain, slower recovery times, and poor sleep quality.

Changing Trends in Anesthesia: Cannabis Use Impact on Sedation Levels in Oral Surgery

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Julius Hyatt, an oral surgeon based at the Maryland Center for Oral Surgery and Dental Implants in Cockeysville, Maryland, observed a growing trend among his patients in recent years. He noticed an increased necessity for higher doses of anesthesia to effectively sedate them.

Among his findings, Dr. Hyatt observed that regular cannabis users often required two to three times the usual amount of the anesthetic propofol to achieve and maintain sedation. To address restlessness during oral surgeries, the medical team, including Dr. Hyatt, began incorporating additional drugs like fentanyl and ketamine into the sedation process. In response to these observations, the practice modified its health history questionnaire to include more specific inquiries about patients’ marijuana consumption.

Your Safety Comes First

At Maryland Center for Oral Surgery and Dental Implants, we prioritize your health and safety above all else. While the choice to use or abstain from marijuana ultimately lies with you, we strongly advocate for informed decision-making. Understanding the potential risks associated with marijuana use is critical, especially as we transition into this new era of legalization here in Maryland.

While marijuana’s legalization provides newfound freedoms, it also has the potential to manifest several health concerns. From unregulated formulations and psychotropic effects to respiratory risks and complications with anesthetic interactions – the reasons to refrain from marijuana are numerous. As we navigate this new landscape together, let us prioritize knowledge, safety, and well-being above all else. 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding marijuana use before oral surgery, contact us to learn more.