Heavy marijuana smokers may need higher dosage for sedation


People who regularly use cannabis may need more than twice the usual level of sedation when undergoing medical procedures, a new study warns.

"Some of the sedative drugs have dose-dependent side effects, which means that the higher the dose, the greater the likelihood of problems," said researcher Mark Twardowski of Western Medical Associates in Colorado.

"This becomes particularly dangerous when suppressed respiratory function is a known side effect," added Twardowski.

For the study, Colorado researchers examined the medical records of 250 patients who received endoscopic procedures after 2012, when the state legalized recreational cannabis.

Patients who smoked or ingested cannabis daily or weekly required 14% more fentanyl, 20% more midazolam, and 220% more propofol to achieve optimal sedation for routine procedures, including colonoscopy, findings published in the Journal of the American Osteopathy Association.

"Cannabis has some metabolic effects that we do not understand and patients need to know that their use of cannabis may make other medications less effective. We are seeing some problematic trends casually, and there is virtually no formal data to provide a sense of scale or suggest any protocols evidence-based, "said Twardowski.

Cannabis use in the United States increased by 43 percent between 2007 and 2015. It is estimated that 13.5 percent of the adult population used cannabis during this time, with the largest increase among people 26 years of age or older, according to the study.


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