Cannabis use and bariatric surgery psychology practice: survey and insights

Rachel E. Goetze, Matthew M. Clark, Daniela B. Rakocevic, Lisa A. Howell, Terry D. Schneekloth, Maria L. Collazo-Clavell, Todd Kellogg, Karen M. Graszer, Sarah A. Kalsy, Karen B. Grothe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Cannabis is second only to alcohol as a substance of abuse and dependence in the United States. While there is extensive research examining alcohol use and bariatric surgery, there is currently little research and there are no published guidelines specific to cannabis use and bariatric surgery. Objectives: To identify major themes and general guidelines applied by bariatric surgery psychology clinicians. Setting: This practice survey was disseminated to bariatric surgery psychologists at various U.S. academic medical centers, hospitals, and private practices. Methods: An electronic, 35-question survey was sent to 47 bariatric surgery psychologists to collect information on current clinical practice guidelines regarding cannabis use before and after bariatric surgery. Results: The survey questionnaire was completed by 34 (72.34%) bariatric surgery psychologists. The major identified themes included: (1) the lack of a standardized assessment of cannabis use; (2) a requirement for 3 months of abstinence from cannabis before bariatric surgery; (3) recommended lifetime abstinence from cannabis after bariatric surgery; and (4) discussion of cannabis use risks following bariatric surgery, including appetite stimulation, addiction potential, and possible negative impacts on judgment. Conclusion: Cannabis use will likely further increase in the United States. This survey highlighted common bariatric surgery psychology practices in the absence of extensive research and published guidelines. These findings suggest a preliminary framework with which to address cannabis use in patients seeking bariatric surgery. It is recommended that professional organizations and societies build on these initial survey findings to develop guidelines for more consistent, evidence-based practice regarding cannabis use and bariatric surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-710
Number of pages10
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Assessment
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Cannabis
  • Guidelines
  • Marijuana

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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