January 03, 2021 6 min read

Is taking CBD oil before surgery a good idea? In this article, we outline what many surgery patients who use CBD want to know. 

Even though the World Health Organization seems to support the widely accepted, positive safety status of cannabidiol, users of CBD products should still practice caution when using new wellness supplements, especially alongside other medications or treatments. 

Because of the way that CBD interacts with some medications, it’s crucial that users take the time to look into how CBD products can affect other aspects of your wellness routine or required medical treatments. One of the most important considerations is the use of CBD oil before surgery.

If you’re wondering “Should I stop taking CBD oil before surgery?” you’re in the right place. Let’s take a look at what the research says, as well as some expert opinions, on how CBD may affect your pre-surgical routine.

CAN I TAKE CBD OIL BEFORE SURGERY?

A dropper full of CBD oil dripping back into the glass bottle.

Various studies have verified that CBD is safe, and CBD's safety profile is generally well-rounded.  Still, researchers are aware that cannabidiol interacts with multiple medications, which may complicate things when surgical anesthesia or other necessary medications become part of the picture.

So, can you take CBD before surgery?

Here’s what we know:

Many sources suggest that you shouldn’t take much of anything, including water, before surgery to prevent serious complications, like aspiration, increased risk of infection, increased heart rate, or sudden nausea and vomiting. 

When you go in for a surgical procedure, you’ll often fill out a form or be verbally assessed regarding your use of opioids or other medications. That’s because certain medications can affect the anesthesia, in some cases making it totally ineffective. 

Alternatively, frequent use of some medications may not render the anesthesia completely useless, but your anesthesiologist should know so that he or she can adjust your dose based on your tolerance.

Many sources suggest that CBD falls into line with these ideas. Dr. Perry Solomon, MD, suggests that CBD oil is safe to take in the days prior to scheduled surgery under certain conditions.

For instance, research shows that CBD may also have anti-coagulant effects, meaning it may do the same job as traditional blood thinners. According to Dr. Solomon, CBD may be okay to take before surgery as long as you aren’t taking other medications that may interact with CBD, like blood thinners. 

However, Dr. Solomon also says that you should  “observe the instructions by whoever calls you from the hospital regarding what time to stop eating and drinking fluids," making sure you don't take CBD after that time either.  

In short, CBD may be safe to use up until you should discontinue other medications, food, and beverages. This is true for edible CBD items, like CBD Gummies, and other types of CBD products, like oils, capsules, or vaporizers. 

Just like with opioid medications, you should inform your doctor and your anesthesiologist about your CBD use.

According to Dr. David Hepner, MD, MPH, this communication is crucial. He states in a Harvard Health publication that traditional cannabis use can alter the amount of anesthesia mediations needed during surgery by more than 300%. 

Even though CBD alone may not cause the same resistance to anesthesia as THC, you still want your anesthesiologist to be prepared to increase your dose if needed. That means you should keep track of exactly how much CBD oil you take and when you take it so that you can give accurate information to the doctor.

Many people are interested in using CBD to manage anxiety prior to the surgery, but most research suggests that taking CBD too close to your surgery could pose risks, especially since many doctors don’t quite understand the full effects of CBD oil yet. 

Of course, using CBD after surgery may be a different story, and may actually pose an even greater range of benefits than as a pre-operative supplement.

BENEFITS OF CBD OIL FOR POST-OPERATIVE RECOVERY

So what about taking CBD oil aftersurgery?  After most surgical procedures, your doctor will send you home with some sort of prescription to help aid the recovery process and manage pain in the days after your surgery. 

According to Dr. Solomon, CBD may help the recovery process as well. He suggests that a 1:1 CBD:THC tincture may even be an appropriate replacement for opioids to manage post-recovery pain. 

CBD also has benefits when used on its own, and according to Dr. Solomon, “as an anti-inflammatory, it may even help with your wound healing.”

Research about the cannabinoid is limited. However, there is some evidence that suggests cannabidiol has many effects that may make it useful for managing post-operative discomfort and aiding recovery. 

A woman dispensing CBD cream into her hand, one of the most popular post-operative CBD options.

Like our expert suggested, cannabidiol has been linked to powerful anti-inflammatory effects, which is why many people use it for managing conditions like arthritis. CBD may help inhibit the inflammatory response by binding with certain neuroreceptors to prevent signals of inflammation from reaching the brain.

Research shows that it works in nearly the same way to help prevent pain signals from reaching the brain, too, which means CBD could be useful for managing pain after your surgery. 

Different types of cannabidiol applications may help with these symptoms, and CBD topicals may be an effective option for managing postoperative recovery due to the way CBD interacts with the Endocannabinoid System in the skin.

The side effects of surgery vary depending on unique biological characteristics, medications you take, or the type of surgery you had. However, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite are common after many surgical procedures, especially in those who suffer from one of many chronic health conditions. Studies show that CBD is an effective treatment for regulating nausea and vomiting.

Fatigue, another common surgery side effect, may be managed with CBD oil, too. Studies show that cannabidiol has wake-promoting effects, and many people take CBD alongside their coffee to help boost their focus during the day. 

Experts also suggest that in larger doses, cannabidiol may even work as a sort of sleep aid. Studies show that CBD may be useful for managing insomnia, especially if sleeplessness is caused by anxiety, inflammation, or pain. Alternatively, other cannabinoids (like CBN) have been linked to sleep benefits that may be useful. 

Consult your Doctor about using CBD before surgery and/or after surgery. While your doctor may prescribe medication for any of your post-operative symptoms, many people turn to cannabidiol instead because of its low potential risks. 

When compared to most prescription medications, especially narcotics like opioid medications, the side effects of CBD are considerably mild and rare. 

For most people, CBD provides the right amount of post-operative relief from anxiety, inflammation, pain, and more, without the same adverse side effects of many prescription options.

TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT USING CBD OIL BEFORE OR AFTER SURGERY

A patient discussing CBD use for surgery with his doctor.

As you can see, there are several ways that cannabidiol may benefit you in the days before or after your surgery, but most experts would suggest avoiding CBD in the hours before a surgical procedure, the same time your doctor recommends avoiding other medications, beverages, and foods. 

If you use CBD regularly, or took any CBD in the days prior to your surgery, be sure to inform your doctor and your anesthesiologist. 

If you want to reap the many benefits of CBD after your surgery, there are multiple different ways to consume CBD that may work for you. Just be sure that you always talk about plans to change your wellness routine with your doctor, especially if you are going to use CBD products in place of any prescription medications. 

If you’re interested in taking CBD before or after surgery, make sure you check out our article Common CBD Oil Side Effects and How to Avoid Them. 

For premium CBD that fits seamlessly into your wellness routine, be sure to check out our in-house brand, Vida Optima

Have you used CBD before or after surgery? Let us know how you used it and how it worked for you in the comments!

References

1. "WHO Report Finds No Public Health Risks Or Abuse Potential For CBD" https://www.forbes.com/sites/janetwburns/2018/03/18/who-report-finds-no-public-health-risks-abuse-potential-for-cbd/

2. "An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/

3. "Why You Can't Eat or Drink Before Surgery" https://www.verywellhealth.com/why-cant-i-eat-or-drink-before-surgery-3157000

4."Is it safe to take CBD the day before surgery where I will be receiving anesthesia?" https://www.hellomd.com/questions-and-answers/is-it-safe-to-take-cbd-the-day-before-surgery-where-i-will-be-receiving-anesthesia

5. "Anticoagulant effects of a Cannabis extract in an obese rat model" https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16644197/

6. "Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery" https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/coming-clean-your-anesthesiologist-needs-to-know-about-marijuana-use-before-surgery-2020011518642

7. "Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/

8. "Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/

9. "Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/

10. "Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165951/


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