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Currently treating a cancer patient who smokes marijuana for pain control. We coached him not to smoke prior to treatments but I'm having trouble finding any studies or recommendations regarding safety.
Sep 8, 2021 by Nancy Andes, ADN
3 replies
Eugene Worth
MD, M.Ed., FABA, ABPM/UHM
Nancy ... this is a difficult question to answer with certainty. So, I'll give my opinion and save the electron bits on the Internet ... "Who knows?"

Now, having said that, I have searched Dr. Google, PubMed, and the UHMS MEDFAQs. Nothing there. So, I ramped up the query. I am a member of the UHMS Safety Committee and have been for a number of years. I don't think we've ever addressed this question. I have queried the committee for an opinion. This process will take the better part of a week to get everyone to answer ... I will get back to you when I have more information.

Regardless of their wisdom, this will come down to a decision that rests between the supervising physician and the hyperbaric oxygen staff members.
Sep 8, 2021
Thank you for the quick response. I look forward to hearing the consensus.
Sep 8, 2021
Eugene Worth
MD, M.Ed., FABA, ABPM/UHM
Nancy … while I don’t have ‘final’ feedback from the Safety Committee, the general consensus is the concern about smoking and much less concern about marijuana and any effects on therapy. The committee notes that there are many edible options available to the patients. Smoking cessation should be encouraged and the usual HBOT smoking habits discussion should ensue … no smoking for at least 2-4 hours prior to treatment and none for 1-2 hours after the treatments. (Ha, my cynical self has never believed patients who say that they comply with this!)

If a patient is obviously impaired during the pre-treatment evaluation, I would not treat the patient that day.

I’ll post updates when we finalize the recommendations.
Sep 10, 2021
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