People who regularly use marijuana tend to feel more pain after surgery, a new study finds. They require more opioid medications such as morphine to deal with their pain, HealthDay reports.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 34,500 patients who had surgery at the Cleveland Clinic that lasted more than an hour, and whose recovery required at least a day’s stay in the hospital afterwards. Of these patients, almost 1,700 had used marijuana within 30 days of surgery.
People who had used marijuana in the month before surgery reported 14% more pain during the first 24 hours after surgery compared with those who hadn’t used marijuana. They also used 7% more opioids after surgery to deal with their pain.
“Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States and increasingly used as an alternative treatment for chronic pain, but there is limited data that shows how it affects patient outcomes after surgery,” lead author Elyad Ekrami, M.D., said in a news release. “Our study shows that adults who use cannabis are having more — not less — postoperative pain. Consequently, they have higher opioid consumption after surgery.”