Cannabis users need higher levels of sedation during endoscopy, study finds

Gastric endoscopy patients who use cannabis require higher levels of sedation than non-users, research presented at Digestive Disease Week on May 21 found.

Researchers studied 419 adult outpatients undergoing endoscopic procedures at three Canadian surgery centers.

The patients answered two questionnaires, one about their cannabis use before the procedure and another after indicating their awareness and comfort level during the procedure. The researchers analyzed the questionnaire results and the use of sedatives including midazolam, fentanyl and diphenhydramine during the procedure. 

Cannabis use was associated with increased odds of requiring higher total sedation — defined as more than 5 milligrams of midazolam, more than 100 micrograms of fentanyl, or the need for diphenhydramine during gastroscopy — but had no effect on the amount of sedation used during colonoscopy.

The study only analyzed whether patients were cannabis users or non-users, not the quantity or route of cannabis intake. They didn't examine the effect of cannabis use on propofol sedation, the more commonly used sedation in the U.S.

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