July 6, 2023

Patients with cannabis use disorder at higher risk of postoperative complications

Editor's Note

A recent study led by researchers at the McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston finds patients with cannabis use disorder are at a modestly increased risk of perioperative morbidity and mortality after major elective, inpatient, noncardiac surgery.

Recently in the United States, cannabis use has become more widely accepted, used, and perceived as harmless. This retrospective, population-based, matched cohort study sought to understand whether use of cannabis is associated with increased morbidity and mortality.

The study included 6,211 patients with cannabis use disorder and 6,211 patients without cannabis use disorder aged 18 to 65 years who underwent major elective inpatient surgery from January 2016 to December 2019. Measures included in-hospital mortality and 7 major perioperative complications based on the ICD-10 discharge diagnosis codes.

Results showed that 7.73% of patients with cannabis use disorder experienced morbidity and mortality complications versus 6.57% of patients unexposed to cannabis.

“In the context of increasing cannabis use rates, our findings support preoperative screening for cannabis use disorder as a component of perioperative risk stratification,” the researchers conclude. “However, further research is needed to quantify the perioperative impact of cannabis use by route and dosage and to inform recommendations for preoperative cannabis cessation.”


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