(HealthDay News) — New guidelines recommend universal screening for cannabinoids before surgery and postponing elective surgery for certain patients.

The guidelines were published in Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine.

The American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine charged the guidelines committee with drafting responses to 9 key questions with a goal of developing recommendations that focus on the safe management of surgical patients using cannabinoids.


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The committee developed 4 recommendations that received grade A support, indicating strong evidence. Those recommendations are:

  • Universal screening for cannabinoids before surgery, which should include the type of product, time of last consumption, route of administration, amount, and frequency of use
  • Postponing elective surgery for patients with altered mental status or impaired decision-making at the time of surgery
  • Counseling frequent users about the potential negative effects of cannabis use on postoperative pain control
  • Providing education and counseling to pregnant patients regarding risks to the unborn child.

“Cannabinoid use in the perioperative setting has significant potential negative medical implications,” the guideline authors wrote. “We hope these guidelines will help both clinicians and researchers in their pursuit of optimal patient care.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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