Snoop Dogg, who hangs with Martha Stewart these days (really!), says he first smoked marijuana when he was 8 or 9 years old. That’s younger than national statistics account for, but we do know that from 2006 to 2013, among adults 50+ the number of folks who’ve used cannabis in the past year increased 71.4%. But it’s not all fun and games!
Turns out anyone who smokes cannabis should listen up. According to a study out of Colorado published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, pot smokers who go into surgery might require up to three times as much anesthetic to become sedated as someone who isn’t getting high regularly. That’s very risky: Pumping more anesthesia into a person can lead to suppressed breathing and low blood pressure — and it can interfere with post-op recovery.
This has led the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists to update treatment guidelines to highlight risks to cannabis users. Doctors are urging patients in every state — whether pot’s legal or not — to let them know whether they have smoked or ingested pot. That’s because it’s important to stop smoking well ahead of surgery. The best data we have is that screening tests for cannabis can detect its use in someone smoking for the first time for about three days; for someone who smokes three to four times weekly, it’s five to seven days; and for once-a-day or more frequent users, it can be detected for 30 days or longer.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chairman of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.