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how to smoke weed after wisdom teeth

What weed smokers need to know before going into surgery

One day in 2016, Jennie awoke to sharp pain and a tugging sensation on the left side of her jaw — “like my jaw was being pulled off my head,” she recalls — along with the firm pressure of hands holding her mouth agape. She opened her eyes just enough to see human silhouettes hovering over her. Her body felt heavy, but also like it was floating; she tried to lift her arms, but all she could do was wriggle. What was going on? she wondered, scared.

“She’s waking up,” a male voice said. It was around then that Jennie remembered: She was in the dentist’s office, getting her wisdom teeth pulled. She must have awoken during the procedure. Almost as soon as she realized what was happening, the anesthesia pulled her back into sleep.

Jennie had been smoking weed at least once a day for the past four years. She smoked with her fiancГ© the day of her wisdom tooth extraction. “I had no idea it was going to affect the anesthesia,” says the 35-year-old, who lives in Arizona. (She requested that Mic publish only her first name out of concern for the legal repercussions of her weed use, since Arizona prohibits recreational cannabis.) Indeed, as legalization sweeps across the country, evidence has emerged that regular marijuana users need more anesthesia for surgery than non-users to ensure they become, and stay, sedated and don’t awaken mid-procedure. In plain, very urgent, English: If you consume cannabis on the reg, you need to let your doctor know before you go under for surgery.

Along with anecdotal reports, a 2019 study found that patients who reported smoking weed or ingesting edibles on a daily or weekly basis needed more than double the amount of the anesthetic propofol for endoscopic procedures (like colonoscopies) than non-users. They also needed 19.6% more midazolam and 14% more fentanyl.

Why marijuana increases your need for anesthesia remains unclear, largely because of its status as a federally illegal drug, which makes it difficult to research, Jeffrey Uppington, an anesthesiologist at UC Davis Medical Center, tells Mic. It’s possible that compounds in weed called cannabinoids — which tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, which is responsible for making you feel high) — affect the same receptors in the brain and spinal cord as anesthesia drugs do.

But, “that’s more speculation than we really know,” Uppington says. “The bottom line is, if you’re a chronic user of marijuana, you are more resistant to anesthetics, both those that put you to sleep, like propofol, and those that keep you asleep, like various anesthesia gases.”

Thanks to modern-day monitors that measure brain waves and other vitals, an anesthesiologist can likely spot when a patient is about to awaken and give them more drugs before they reach that point, Uppington says. But even if you don’t wake up during a procedure, you can still have issues. If you routinely smoke weed, your airway might be more reactive during anesthesia. You might cough more, experience bronchial spasms, and/or have a more active gag reflex, which is a problem if you need to be intubated, as with general anesthesia (the kind that puts you to sleep).

“If you’re a chronic user of marijuana, you are more resistant to anesthetics, both those that put you to sleep, like propofol, and those that keep you asleep, like various anesthesia gases.”

After surgery, you might also experience more pain, which may nudge you toward using more opioids and increase your risk of addiction to these substances, says David Hepner, the medical director of the Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an associate professor of anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School.

High doses of anesthesia also carry risks, such as causing significant drops in blood pressure, which may lead to a heart attack in at-risk patients, They may also delay awakening, Hepner tells Mic. For instance, propofol usually wears off in about five to 10 minutes but a marijuana user who requires a higher dose may take longer to awaken, delaying them from resuming their normal, day-to-day life.

Jennie’s wisdom tooth extraction left her so groggy that she needed to be transported to her car by wheelchair, and she doesn’t remember anything from the 45-minute ride home. As her fiancГ© drove, she drifted in and out of sleep, and didn’t feel like herself again for another three hours. In contrast, a friend she drove home after a dental procedure was a little groggy, but could walk to his car and felt fine when he got home, probably because he wasn’t a cannabis user, and therefore didn’t require as much anesthesia.

The amount of cannabis you need to consume for it increase your resistance to anesthesia remains unclear, though. Determining this threshold is tricky, thanks to the varying concentrations of THC from one product to the next, how long you hold the smoke in your lungs, and the many other variables involved, Uppington says. But it’s probably safe to say that using cannabis every day for a few years is more likely to affect your response to anesthesia than using it just once.

If you do smoke cannabis regularly, tell your anesthesiologist how much and how often, as well as the last time you smoked, Uppington says. They can then assess whether your use could increase your risk of being resistant to anesthesia and make adjustments accordingly.

While disclosing your weed use may feel embarrassing or even dangerous, remember that your doctor’s job isn’t to judge you, Hepner says. “We just want to understand the health of the patient and how the body may react to different medications to give them the most pain-free procedure.” He adds that it’s also important to mention any other substances or medications you’re taking, since they, too, may react with the anesthesia. Since physicians take an oath to protect patient confidentiality, they wouldn’t disclose your use of cannabis or other substances to your family, law enforcement, or anyone other than the medical professionals directly involved in your care.

No matter how often you consume cannabis, though, don’t use it at all on the day of your procedure, Hepner says. Taking an edible on the same day poses the added risk of inhaling it, which may result in a life-threatening lung infection called aspiration pneumonia. And if you come into the clinic high AF, you can pretty much count on your surgery being cancelled. Uppington recommends hitting pause for as many days as you can before your surgery, ideally a month, which is how long it takes for cannabis to be fully removed from the body.

Awakening mid-wisdom tooth extraction was eye-opening for Jennie. Since her doctor didn’t ask her specifically about her drug use, and she didn’t think smoking weed wouldn’t matter for her surgery, she didn’t mention it; in fact, she worried that if she did, she wouldn’t be allowed to undergo the procedure. “In the future, I would definitely inform my doctor of my cannabis use,” she says.

This article was originally published on Jan. 31, 2020

One day in 2016, Jennie awoke to sharp pain and a tugging sensation on the left side of her jaw — "like my jaw was being pulled off my head," she recalls — along with the firm pressure of hands holding her mouth agape. She opened her eyes just…

Can You Smoke Weed After Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Pulled?

There are certain situations that require you to stop smoking weed and there are others that you may have questions about. For example, you most likely already know that you shouldn’t be smoking weed before you have an operation done because of the mix with anesthesia but what are the rules regarding smoking weed after?

One operation that many are curious to know more about in regards to weed consumption is wisdom teeth removal. Specifically, users want to know whether or not it is okay to smoke weed after having their wisdom teeth pulled.

In this article, we will further evaluate this question and look over the advantages and disadvantages of marijuana use after a wisdom teeth removal procedure.

Why It Isn’t Good to Smoke After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to smoking weed after you have had your wisdom teeth removed. Even worse, these drawbacks are pretty severe and painful. Here are two of the main reasons why you probably shouldn’t reach for your bud while your wisdom teeth wounds are healing.

Dry Socket

When you have a tooth removed, the tooth is extracted from the socket in which it is attached to the bone. The body will clot the area with blood in order to protect the bone and the nerves that were previously attached to the tooth.

In some instances, this blood clot will somehow be displaced from the site, causing intense pain in a condition known as dry socket. Not everyone who has a tooth removed has to deal with this issue but smoking substances is one of the activities that can increase your risk. If you would prefer to avoid pain after your wisdom tooth surgery, avoid smoking marijuana.

Dry Mouth

Smoking marijuana has one major side effect: dry mouth. While this isn’t too big of an issue on a regular basis, dry mouth can also cause issues that can lead to dry socket. This contributes to poor oral hygiene as bacteria are allowed to develop if the mouth isn’t properly hydrated. This is not good for the recovery process. It could negatively affect your healing if you choose to smoke weed while you still have wounds.

Is Smoking Cannabis Bad for Your Teeth?

Another major question (while not necessarily pertaining solely to wisdom teeth surgery) is whether or not smoking cannabis is bad for your teeth. Overall, smoking in general, is bad for oral health. This means that cannabis falls into this category.

Smoking tends to lead to increased decay along with more bacteria and plaque growth that breaks down the teeth and the gums. If you are one who is involved in good oral hygiene, smoking weed can actually produce adverse effects. Make sure to keep brushing your teeth!

How to Consume Marijuana Safely After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

If you insist on consuming marijuana after wisdom teeth removal, there are some alternative ways to take the substance that will lead to a better recovery. For those who are interested in these alternatives, take a look at a couple of our suggestions below.

Vape

While not entirely better, vaping is slightly better than smoking marijuana and will help you achieve the same effects while reducing some of the impact. However, it should be kept in mind that vaping can still carry some of the same side effects as marijuana such as dry mouth and dry socket.

Vaping in general doesn’t mean you won’t get any dry sockets. You can get it especially from sucking on the vape pen. However, if you can do it very lightly, there is a chance you won’t get it. You need to suck the mouthpiece very lightly. If you do it correctly, you can get enough vapor to make it efficient.

If you are looking to avoid this risk entirely and would prefer to go with a method that didn’t pose as many risks, it would be best to avoid vaping as well as smoking. Do this until the wounds left over from your wisdom teeth surgery have been completely healed.

Edibles

Another option you could choose to pursue is taking edibles in place of smoking. Edibles come in a wide variety of treats, which means that you can get them in pretty much any form that you desire. However, this depends on the results of your surgery. For example, your wisdom teeth wounds were sewn shut. If this is the case, you are more likely to be able to start eating solids shortly after receiving the procedure. You can eat edibles that are safe for your mouth and provide you with your desired THC dosage.

If you have wounds that are open, you mostly have to avoid solid foods, which can be a big disadvantage. In instances like these, try to find edibles that can be mixed in with drinks like smoothies or can simply be swallowed so that you can receive the benefits.

If you do choose edibles in either case, make sure to carefully rinse so that no food particles are left in the exposed wound during the healing process.

CBD

If you’re having quite a bit of trouble finding a way to get your marijuana into your system, you could consider straight CBD or CBD mixed with THC as a way to reap the benefits. CBD is well-known for being offered in tincture form that can then be added to drinks. This is perfect for those who have to avoid their wounds while they are recovering.

In addition, some of these products have THC mixed into them so that you can easily get a certain dose of cannabis with each use. Try out these products if you are interested in the potential medical effects rather than simply recreational use.

How It Can Help

Just as there are negatives to smoking marijuana while healing, there are positives as well. To understand what marijuana can do for you while you are healing after your surgery, here are some of the most notable benefits of cannabis consumption after surgery.

Pain

While it is not the worst pain you will experience in your life, wisdom tooth pain can be uncomfortable and may increase if you end up with complications like dry socket. This often results in severe aches and pains.

It can also simply hurt due to the fact that you have several nerves that are now in contact with the environment of your mouth since the tooth has been removed. Because of this, prescription medications are often prescribed after surgery but some individuals may prefer to avoid these types of medicines entirely. A suitable replacement can be THC, which helps to relax the body and keep the mind off the pain, making it easier for you to go about your day without feeling the consequences.

Inflammation

Despite being a healing process, inflammation only increases the discomfort and pain after wisdom teeth removal. THC and possibly CBD can help to calm down the inflammation around your wounds to ease the pain when it starts acting up. The less severe the inflammation, the more bearable the after effects.

Conclusion

Smoking marijuana may be a daily ritual for some but there are times where it is okay and times where it can cause more harm than good. If you have recently had a wisdom teeth surgery or are having one in the near future, smoking marijuana can impact that. This guide above will give you a glimpse into the advantages and disadvantages of this activity in this post-surgery situation.

Getting your wisdom teeth removed can be painfully but nothing is more painful than dry sockets from smoking marijuana. ]]>