Ethnopharmacology for Anesthesia Professionals
Medical marijuana is here, and so are kratom, ayahuasc, and other herbal medications.. The more you know about these ethnopharmacology, the better you will be able to understand their potential impact on your anesthesia practice. While our patients have been using marijuana in the preoperative period for some time, there is about to be a tsunami of patients taking a smorgasbord of herbal medications in your near future.
Because the use of these herbal compounds has been so stigmatized, there is a very good chance that your patient will not tell you about the preparations they are taking. It is also possible that your patient will not be taking their prescribed medications, having replaced them with herbal medications. As physicians exclude patients using herbal medications from their practices, patients will turn to other sources for relief of pain, anxiety, depression and other common problems. The unintended consequences of this situation are unknown, but it is possible that opioid crisis is being made worse by our inability to understand what our patients are living through. Do patients deprived of traditional pain medication turn to heroin or worse street drugs laced with fentanyl?
Understanding ethnopharmacology is what HackAnesthesia is all about.
One important caution: The herbal medications mentioned here have been used for a long time, but for the most part remain illegal in the United States. Even recent changes in laws are complex and vary from state to state. Some are even considered to be Schedule One Narcotics and by this definition have no medical use. Do not use Schedule One narcotics.