CBD After Surgery: Benefits, Risks, and Recommendations

10 min read

Today, there is increased interest in using CBD for post-surgical recovery. A major part of this trend has to do with the ways in which CBD is regularly used to reduce pain and inflammation. In theory, CBD after surgery brings with it a natural way to manage post-surgical pain, but there are some risks and considerations before you use it. This article will explore the benefits, risks, and recommendations for using CBD after surgery.

cbd after surgery

Potential benefits of CBD after surgery

There are many potential benefits of CBD after surgery, such as reducing inflammation and aiding in sleep

Several studies have reviewed the efficacy, safety, and administration of CBD products for specific types of post-surgery pain management. 

One such study found that CBD offered significant pain reduction in the immediate perioperative period for those who had arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs. 

Does CBD help after surgery? Studies have found that CBD without any psychoactive elements has several effects that are useful in healing wounds, including:

  1. Antimicrobial effects
  2. Antioxidant effects
  3. Antiinflammatory effects
  4. Regenerative effects
  5. Anti-thrombotic properties

Research confirms that CBD after surgery encourages the production of oxygen species in the body, which is an essential part of wound healing. 

Similarly, CBD has been shown to promote gingival fibroblast wound closing and can release the inflammatory mediators necessary for deep wound healing, such as that from surgery. 

Can you take CBD after surgery and reap any benefits? The anti-inflammatory properties found with CBD mean that it decreases levels of neutrophils in the skin tissue and blood. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell responsible for healing injuries, digesting bacteria, and encouraging inflammation. By controlling your neutrophil count with CBD, you can reduce inflammation in the area, which can help with pain management. 

Similarly, CBD has been found to have anxiolytic properties. This means it reduces anxiety. Several anti-anxiety medications can have serious side effects, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches 

Some of the worst side effects include low heart rate and low blood pressure. In fact, research has found that anxiolytic medication increases the risk factor of morbidity or mortality after surgery within the first thirty days. 

By comparison, the use of CBD for after-surgery pain and anxiety does not increase the risk of morbidity or mortality, nor does it have any of the side effects listed above. 

Potential risks and side effects of using CBD after surgery

Interaction with medications

With CBD for after-surgery pain, you need to be aware of any possible interactions with other medications. When using CBD products, there’s always a risk of contraindication, which is why it’s imperative that you speak with your doctor or other medical team about using such products. Your surgical team or primary care physician should be able to tell you whether CBD products can be used in conjunction with other prescriptions or if there is a time frame you have to wait before you can start using CBD again.

Impact on the recovery process

Some research has found that topical CBD for specific types of recovery, like total knee arthroplasty, was ineffective at decreasing pain or reducing dependence on other pain management medications. As such, the recovery process for the type of surgery you have and the type of CBD product you use will play a role in the potential efficacy or side effects.

Risk of bleeding

One meta-analysis reviewed the analgesic efficacy of CBD for pain after surgery, specifically focusing on the first 24 hours after surgery. The results indicate that CBD products can have some effect on pain management, but you should still discuss the use of CBD products after surgery because it can increase hypotension immediately after.

Drowsiness and sedation

Can you take CBD for pain relief after surgery? Yes, you can, but you have to be aware of the sedation and drowsiness effects associated with some CBD products. This is something that you need to discuss with your surgical team and other medical professionals, as the use of CBD products might be safe for you depending on the type of surgery you had, whereas in other cases, the sedation might be something you want to avoid for a specific length of time after surgery.

cbd after surgery

Gastrointestinal issues

Some people experience side effects from CBD products that include gastrointestinal issues, namely diarrhea. This is something to be aware of, especially if you have never used CBD products before. The type of surgery you have might mean CBD products are not a good source of pain management until after your recovery.

Allergic reactions

Before you use CBD for after-surgery pain management, you need to be aware of any potential allergic reactions. Many CBD products contain other ingredients, and you can ensure the purity of other ingredients by working with a reputable company.

Nonetheless, if you are considering CBD to help you with post-surgical pain, it’s in your best interest to find a reliable company with high-quality products that don’t have any fillers and to use the products before your surgery to ensure you don’t have any allergic reactions.

Impact on blood pressure

Some research has found that even a single dose of CBD products can lower blood pressure for people who are under stress. This can be a significant benefit, but in the context of surgery, you need to be careful not to lower your blood pressure too much. If you want to consider CBD products as part of your post-surgical recovery, be sure to speak with a doctor about monitoring your blood pressure during your recovery phase.

Psychological effects

When it comes to CBD for pain relief after surgery, many people worry about the psychological effects. Federal law allows for THC in specific doses in products that are labeled full spectrum. These have a limited psychological impact, but they do contain THC. Other CBD products that are labeled as broad-spectrum do not contain any psychological elements and won’t get you high, so if you are looking to avoid this, consider broad-spectrum products.

Lack of standardized dosing

There can be a lack of standardized dosing across the industry, so when it comes to ensuring you get a specific dose, you need to take care to work only with a reputable company that uses third-party lab testing. After that, be sure to read the labels carefully to determine the right doses for each product type.

When and how to safely use CBD after undergoing surgery?

Can you take CBD after surgery? Determining the appropriateness of various forms of CBD after surgery is something that you should explore with your medical team. You have to consider more than just the efficacy of CBD products for pain management when it comes to your overall health and recovery. By speaking with your care team, you can figure out the appropriate dosages for post-surgical pain relief.

Summing Up

Overall, CBD after surgery might be useful in managing pain, but there could be a time frame you have to wait before you can start using CBD products again because of the potential side effects and interactions with other medications. If you are considering CBD as part of your post-surgical recovery plan, be sure to speak with your medical team and any primary care physician you have before doing so.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider before introducing CBD after surgery. In general, it is recommended to wait until the immediate post-operative period has passed and you are no longer taking medications that may interact with CBD. Your doctor can provide personalized advice based on your specific surgery and recovery.

CBD has been studied for its potential analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. However, its effectiveness may vary among individuals. Some people report relief from post-surgical pain when using CBD, but it’s essential to note that it should not replace prescribed pain medications. Always discuss CBD use for pain management with your healthcare provider to ensure it complements your overall recovery plan.

CBD may interact with certain medications, affecting their metabolism in the body. Always inform your healthcare provider about any supplements, including CBD, that you plan to take after surgery. This transparency allows them to assess potential interactions and make informed recommendations based on your individual health profile.

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