Each year, approximately 67,000 Canadians undergo knee replacement surgery, and up to 20% develop persistent post-surgical pain. Persistent post-surgical pain is associated with depression, anxiety, unemployment, and reduced quality of life. Chronic pain after surgery is often managed with opioid therapy, which typically provides only modest benefits and is associated with rare but serious adverse events, such as overdose and death. A number of studies have found that greater pain just before and after knee replacement surgery is associated with the development of chronic pain, suggesting that reducing peri-operative pain may help prevent persistent post-surgical pain.
Medicinal cannabis has begun to emerge as a potential therapy for pain reduction, and produces effects largely due to 2 active components: (1) cannabidiol (CBD), and (2) tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Studies of CBD have shown analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties, but without the psychoactive effects (feeling ‘high’) that THC produces. This study will assess the feasibility of a definitive trial to explore whether adding CBD vs. placebo to usual care before and after surgery can reduce the rate of persistent post-surgical pain after total knee replacement. This study will randomize 40 patients to receive either CBD or placebo, and follow them for six months to confirm our ability to recruit patients, adhere to protocol, and capture full outcome data for at least 90% of patients.
However, the body sometimes struggles to produce enough endocannabinoids to keep the system functioning properly. CBD is molecularly similar to the body’s natural endocannabinoids and can substitute for depleted systems. When ingested into the body, CBD attaches to two particular receptors known as CB1 and CB2, effectively blocking pain or ache signals from reaching the brain. Consequently, the body feels less pain and the patient is able to experience a more content and fulfilling life.
A growing number of experts in the medical community believe that CBD could be the ideal therapy to help patients prepare for and recover from chemotherapy. Doctors suggest that CBD has the ability to co-exist with the drugs from chemotherapy without disrupting the effects or impact on the patient.
Does CBD help with post-surgical recovery?
Some of the most common post-surgical symptoms include:
As mentioned, in regards to CBD’s effects on anesthesia, it’s important to mention to the attending doctors any regular CBD use prior to preparation for surgical procedures. Higher tolerances for CBD could influence the amount of medication required for a surgical procedure, and doctors need to know how much to prescribe to ensure a smooth surgery goes ahead.
Surgery is a very serious invasive medical procedure, but it’s a necessary one when the situation calls for such a treatment. Recovery from surgery can be a very long and painful process, yet CBD oil can minimize those painful aftereffects so that happier and healthier lives can be restored. CBD before and after surgery has its advantages.
There are a number of studies that suggest that CBD can be a powerful alternative for managing epilepsy, insomnia, and mental health disorders, however, the popularity of the product has far surpassed current research on its effectiveness.
I encourage patients not to smoke anything before a procedure. Many patients falsely believe that smoking marijuana is a safer choice than cigarettes, which is not true—particularly when it comes to surgery. Smoke of any kind in the lungs can lead to respiratory distress, and marijuana itself can interfere with anesthesia, leading to a higher risk of pneumonia after surgery and a higher risk of airway emergencies. Much like nicotine, smoking marijuana before or after surgery delays the healing process and causes poor scarring of your surgical sites. If you live somewhere where marijuana is legal, edibles are a better choice for eliminating the respiratory problems, however, be sure not to eat past the allowed time before surgery.
Is CBD legal in Texas?
Just because a product is legal does not mean it is guaranteed to be safe. The FDA released a warning last year about the health risks of synthetic cannabinoid products, which were found to be contaminated with the rat poison brodifacoum. After ingesting these products, many people experienced vomiting, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and even violent behavior and suicidal thoughts. Synthetic cannabinoids have now been linked to severe, uncontrolled bleeding and death. Hundreds of people across several states have been affected negatively by CBD products.
As a board certified plastic surgeon, my job is not to pass judgment on your personal decisions or lecture you. However, once you are in my operating room, my ability to perform your procedure safely is very much affected by what you put in your body and whether or not you share that information with me. Something as seemingly innocent as CBD oil drops can lead to surgical complications that can, in turn, impact your wellbeing and your results.
Before any procedure, it’s important that you share any medications, herbal supplements, or vitamins you take regularly with your surgeon, in addition to information about lifestyle habits like drinking, smoking, and drug use.