May 25, 2019 | Updated: 09:32 AM EDT

Cannabis Users Could Take Twice As Much Anesthensia to be Sedated

Apr 18, 2019 09:08 PM EDT

A Cannabis Plant Leaf
(Photo : Photo creidt - Getty Images)

Just like with many other drugs that we take, there are good and bad effects that come with using cannabis. A new study that featured on Monday suggests that one of the bad effects of using cannabis could be a strange tolerance to anesthesia. The study found out that Colorado residents who were regularly using cannabis needed to take up to twice as much powerful sedatives before a surgical procedure.

Medical researchers from Colorado had a look at the medical records of up to 250 patients in the state that had undergone endoscopies procedures. The procedure involves sending a camera under the throat in order to get a close glimpse of the inside of the body. For those patients who said that they took cannabis on a daily or weekly basis, the researchers found them to be significantly less sensitive to several drugs across different classes used to sedate people. This is when they are compared to those who said they have never used cannabis. These findings were published in the Journal of American Osteopathic Association.

An osteopathic internal medicine physician, Dr. Mark Twardowski, the lead author of the journal, said that "There's anecdotal evidence of patients who use cannabis needing more sedation to go under." The problem with giving more doses of anesthesia to patients who use cannabis in order for them to go under is that it increases the side effects thus making it more dangerous to patients. Mark Twardowski said in a statement that, "Some of the sedative medications have dose-dependent side effects, meaning the higher the dose, the greater the likelihood for problems." He went on to say, "It becomes particularly dangerous when a suppressed respiratory function is a known side effect."

It remains unclear, however, how cannabis could be causing an increase in sedative intolerance. Basically, cannabis and other related drugs primarily interact with a unique network of receptors in the nervous system referred to as the endocannabinoid system. It is this system that plays a role in all sorts of bodily functions including our sense of hunger as well as pain perception. Although other drugs such as opioids and benzodiazepine also interact with the receptors.

Twardowsky said, "This study really marks a small first step." "We still don't understand the mechanism behind the need for higher doses, which is important to finding better care management solutions."

A clear suggestion of the study is that there really still much we have left to learn about the effects of cannabis on the human body.

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