This Article Has Been Medically Approved By

Dr. George H. Sanders

Marijuana's Impact on Cosmetic SurgeryThere is little question that the rate of recreational marijuana use in the United States is on the rise. Recent years have seen cannabis products legalized in many states across the country, including California, and statistics show that more than 128 million Americans have used marijuana at least once in their life. Meanwhile, Pew Research shows that about half of all Americans now live in a jurisdiction where marijuana is legalized, and where products like vape pens and CBD edibles are readily available.

Many in the plastic surgery community believe that patients preparing for a procedure should abstain from marijuana and CBD for at least two full weeks before and after the surgery. Some surgeons go even further, recommending that patients stay away from marijuana-derived products and CBD for a full month before their surgery.

Why Surgeons Recommend Pausing Marijuana

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) advises stopping marijuana and CBD use for two weeks before and after surgery. Some surgeons recommend a full month. Here’s why:

  • Impact on Anesthesia: Marijuana can make anesthesia less effective, requiring higher doses, which can lead to complications. Marijuana also affects the lungs and can cause wheezing and coughing. 
  • Increased Discomfort: Marijuana use might lead to more post-surgical pain, requiring stronger pain medication.
  • Elevated Surgical Risks: Marijuana use can increase heart rate and blood pressure, raising the risk of heart problems during surgery.

CBD and Potential Issues

While viewed as harmless, CBD products are unregulated,  potentially containing harmful contaminants and offering inconsistent potency. CBD can also cause fatigue and other effects that hinder healing. It may also cause bleeding after surgery.

How Will Marijuana Affect a Cosmetic Surgery Procedure?

If you are considering a plastic surgery procedure, it is worth asking how these effects will shape your eligibility for a safe surgery and a smooth recovery.

First and foremost, marijuana use can decrease the efficacy of anesthesia. As such, ensuring a comfortable procedure may require you to use more anesthesia than would otherwise be necessary. Some clinicians say that marijuana use can increase the dosage of anesthesia needed by up to 50 percent.

Using marijuana may also increase the amount of discomfort you feel following your procedure. This, in turn, leads to an exacerbated need for opioids and other strong medications.

Moreover, marijuana consumption can also increase surgical risk. For example, the American Society of Anesthesiologists notes that smoking marijuana before surgery can elevate heart rate and blood pressure to the point of greatly increasing the risk of a heart-related incident. 

Steering Clear for a Smooth Recovery

Pausing marijuana and CBD use allows your body to focus on healing.  Here’s how to manage this break:

  • Avoid Marijuana and CBD for at Least Two Weeks Before Surgery: This includes edibles, vape pens, and other forms.
  • Hold Off on Resuming Use for Two Weeks After Surgery: This allows your body to recover fully and medications to clear your system.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle During Recovery: Stay hydrated, get sunlight, and engage in light activities to promote healing.

Seek a Personalized Treatment Plan

Are you curious about your eligibility for a safe and successful procedure? Dr. George H. Sanders can provide a personalized treatment plan and make recommendations for promoting a prompt and healthy recovery. To schedule a consultation, contact our Los Angeles office at (818) 981-3333.