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Daily Marijuana Users Need More Sedation During Endoscopy, What About Colonoscopy?

People who use cannabis on a regular basis need higher levels of sedation when undergoing medical procedures such as gastric endoscopy.

New research presented at Digestive Disease Week 2022 last weekend showed that marijuana use was related to increased odds of requiring higher amounts of sedation during gastroscopy.

“Patients didn’t have increased awareness or discomfort during procedures, but they did require more drugs,” said Yasmin Nasser, MD, Ph.D., lead researcher on the study and assistant professor at Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases Cumming School of the Medicine University of Calgary. 

The patients needed more than 5 mg of midazolam or more than 100 mcg of fentanyl during the procedure.

The Research

The study included 419 adult outpatients undergoing endoscopic procedures at three Canadian centers.

During the procedures, patients were under conscious sedation, leaving them partially aware and relaxed.

Patients were asked to complete two questionnaires. The first one concerned their cannabis use and was completed prior to the procedure. Patients were asked to complete another questionnaire afterward and share their awareness and comfort level during the procedure.

Since the procedure begins with inserting a tube and camera through the throat, the gastroscopy often irritates the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, thus triggering the gag reflex.

Interestingly, marijuana use was not associated with higher use of sedation during colonoscopy.

Photo: Courtesy of National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

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