CBD Oil Before Surgery: Is it Safe?

Right before surgery, doctors often ask you to stop eating, drinking, and even taking prescription medications—but what about CBD oil surgery?

Although the answer can vary based on factors like how much you take and how you ingest it, here’s what you should know about the safety of CBD oil in Ireland before going under the knife.

How CBD Can Affect You in Surgery

While there’s still an incomplete understanding of how CBD oil interacts with our bodies or other medications, there is evidence to suggest that it may not always be safe for using CBD before surgery. Research has shown that CBD can have a mild anticoagulant effect on people. So, taking enough CBD oil may thin your blood. 

In everyday life, those anticoagulant properties may help prevent blood clots, but during and after surgery, it could increase your risk of bleeding, especially if you take it with other medications.

Another potential red flag is the way that some CBD products may interact with certain enzymes in your liver. This reaction can actually prevent other medications, like prescription painkillers and anaesthesia, from working like they’re supposed to. 

When Should You Stop Taking CBD Before Surgery?

Given the potential effects that CBD can have on surgical patients and people, you’ll need to stop using CBD at some point—but it can be tricky to pin down an exact timeframe. If you rely on CBD as a medicine, like to manage anxiety or chronic pain, you’ll probably want to take it for as long as you can. 

As long as you’re not blood thinners, some doctors say that it’s okay to take CBD the day before surgery, while another hospital claims that you can take CBD up to four hours before your surgery. 

Studies show that the half-life of CBD products is around one to two days, so if you really want to be careful about it, you can always stop taking it or using CBD a couple of days beforehand. This will ensure that it’s definitely out of your system before you have your operation at the hospital. 

Keep in mind that you should always check with your doctor before you assume that it’s okay to keep taking CBD oil—depending on the type of operation you’re having, they may want you to stop taking CBD oil sooner or lower your dosage. 

More Reading: Top Tips for Using CBD Oil for Pain 

How to Quit Taking CBD Before Surgery

Even if CBD oil isn’t addictive, you still want to be careful about how you quit taking it. Like any other medication, suddenly stopping CBD oil or even cannabis could result in mild withdrawal symptoms—like dizziness or nausea. This is especially true if you take a large dosage on a regular basis. 

If you know you’ll have to stop CBD a couple of days before surgery, plan ahead: you can begin slowly lowering your dosage a few days a week before you plan to completely stop.

When is it Safe to Resume Taking CBD Oil?

Although there’s no longer a risk for CBD interacting with your anaesthesia, that doesn’t mean patients should immediately resume taking it after the procedure or while they’re at the hospital. Depending on the operation you’ve had, you may still have to worry about increased blood loss, and your doctor may want you to wait a couple of days or weeks before you take CBD or cannabis again.

Not to mention, many post-op patients spend a couple of days (or weeks) on prescription painkillers or antibiotics—which could interact with CBD oil and cannabis.

For instance, medications that you can’t take with grapefruit (such as certain antibiotics, blood pressure medications, corticosteroids, or immunosuppressants) tend not to play well with CBD oil. 

Although doctors are still figuring out how CBD oil interacts with opioid painkillers, there is evidence to suggest that it’s okay to combine your CBD oil with certain opioids. In fact, if you think CBD oil will manage your post-op pain just as well as opioids, your doctor may encourage it. As long as the blood-thinning properties of cannabis aren’t a problem, the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD could even help your wounds heal a little faster.

Even if it’s a good anti-inflammatory, keep in mind that research has also shown that CBD can negatively affect how your body metabolizes some opioids—like tramadol or codeine. So, if these medications are on your post-op regimen, you may want to hold off resuming CBD for a little while. 

Don’t forget about the side effects of CBD oil and cannabis either—if you regularly experience drowsiness or fatigue with CBD oil, you may not want to deal with that immediately after surgery, or while you’re a patient at the hospital.

For patients, when you do start taking CBD or cannabis again, you may want to start slow. If your regular dose is pretty high, you may want to start off with a lower dose and work your way back up. 

Ask Your Doctor

Although there are estimates for when it’s safe for patients and people to stop taking or resume taking CBD oil, there are too many variables at play for patients and people to make the decision alone. Ultimately, you’ll need to speak with your doctor to figure out exactly when you should stop taking it. 

If patients or people rely heavily on CBD products for pain, anxiety, or insomnia, your doctor may be willing to work with them. Instead of making you stop CBD oil for pain, they may just adjust some of the medications you take during or after surgery. Or, they may just ask you to lower your dose rather than stop CBD oil completely. 

The best time for patients to ask doctors about it is when you first find out you’ll need surgery or during a pre-op appointment. If you wait until the day of your operation or when you’re at the hospital to alert your doctor or anesthesiologist that you use cannabis or CBD products, it could be too late. 

Some patients or people may not always have the option to give their doctor notice ahead of time, especially if it’s emergency surgery, but you should try to alert them as soon as you can.

Shannon O’Sullivan
Shannon is a long time CBD user and health writer who has years of experience trying different CBD brands including Dr. Hemp Me, Endoca and more. Sign up for her free newsletter here or visit her Linkedin. 

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