Anesthesia is the source of hilarious videos gone viral, depicting dazed hospital patients waking up from operations and saying weird things. But it’s also a highly complicated and specialized aspect of medicine, sporting a long history and a significant role in many operations.

But what really causes people under anesthesia to act like they do; what’s the science behind the feeling it induces, of drowsiness and a sense of being high? Anesthesia has been referred to as a reversible coma. In a study, researchers compared the difference between a person sleeping and someone under anesthesia, and they found that the deepest levels of sleeping are similar to the lightest anesthesia.
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If you’ve ever had your wisdom teeth pulled, you have probably undergone procedural sedation, which is used for short and minor medical operations. Wisdom teeth pullings are also famous for leaving patients in a state of confusion post-operation. People under procedural sedation remain awake and can still answer questions, though they are typically quite relaxed and drowsy for several hours after the operation.

Interestingly enough, anesthesia is linked to cocaine. Plenty of drugs used in local anesthesia end with the suffix “-aine” because they are chemically similar to cocaine (think of lidocaine or novocaine). Historically, cocaine was actually used as a local anesthetic and painkiller (analgesic), until doctors discovered that it’s highly addictive and stimulating to the cardiovascular system, and patients started dying after using it. In fact, in the 1800s, things like cocaine “Toothache drops” actually existed, due to cocaine’s analgesic properties.

 

Though in rare occasions anesthesia has been fatal and/or caused problems, it is a highly controlled and safe (and usually necessary) aspect of medicine that will most likely just lead to funny YouTube videos anyway.

Enjoy the funny moments in the video below.

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