Smoking marijuana is harmless fun, right? That’s certainly not our opinion, but you be the judge. Recent reports indicate that a condition called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome – caused by smoking marijuana heavily – is making people sick to their stomachs…. literally.
What is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?
Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) is a condition brought on by chronic pot-smoking. It causes severe abdominal pain and violent, cyclical vomiting. Typically, the symptoms are so severe, someone with CHS will ultimately take themselves to the emergency room to seek relief.
Doctors are often completely baffled by CHS symptoms when they are introduced because the illness eludes medical tests. What’s interesting is that the symptoms of CHS can be relieved by soaking in a hot bath. This piece of info has helped doctors diagnose the syndrome. When questioning a patient, doctors will link Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome to the patient’s admission of heavy marijuana use in conjunction with frequent hot baths to relieve painful abdominal cramping.
Marijuana, Known for Anti-Nausea Properties
For decades, marijuana was taboo – used by hippies and societal outcasts. The drug has come a long way in recent years and become more mainstream. Not only has the recreational use of marijuana become more commonly accepted – with states like Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington allowing pot to be smoked legally – marijuana has been legalized for medicinal purposes in 28 states and Washington, D.C.
The main reason America has changed its mind about medicinal marijuana is because the stuff works. Although the federal government has yet to change its official policy regarding medical marijuana, experts agree it’s only a matter of time. Why? Because marijuana has proven to have a number of health benefits. Chiefly, marijuana has a solid reputation as an anti-nausea agent. In fact, two cannabinoid-based medications have already been FDA-approved for relieving nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome Conflicts with Medical Marijuana Research
Despite widespread knowledge that marijuana contains anti-nausea properties, there is now significant evidence to suggest that marijuana can have paradoxical effects on the gastrointestinal tract, causing Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. Needless to say, this is disconcerting. How can a drug known to fight nausea suddenly be identified as the cause of it?
It is important to note that there are more and cases of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome being reported because marijuana is becoming more readily available. For example, a study revealed that since Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012, the number of chronic marijuana smokers presenting to emergency rooms with Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome has more than doubled.
Experts explain that Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is most likely caused by a toxic reaction from three cannabinoids found in a marijuana plant – cannabidiol, tetrahydrocannabinol, and cannabigerol. In many cases, these chemicals have opposing effects on the body’s nausea response, resulting in vomiting and abdominal cramps. Why this syndrome develops in some smokers and not others is still unexplained.
Treatment for Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome
CHS is usually acute, temporary, and treatable – although it is reported to be a painful recovery. The easiest way to treat CHS is to stop smoking pot immediately and take a hot bath. For whatever reason, submerging in hot water seems to calm the symptoms of CHS. If pain and vomiting continue for more than a couple of hours, you should visit an emergency room.
The course of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome comes in three phases: the prodromal, the hyperemetic, and the recovery phase. The prodromal phase is the onset phase, which typically happens over the course of 4-6 hours. This is when someone would begin to feel queasy and have some abdominal discomfort. The hyperemetic phase is when repeated vomiting and abdominal cramping occur. This usually lasts about 48 hours and is typically when people are motivated to go to an emergency room for relief. The recovery phase can last weeks and includes drinking lots of fluids, ceasing smoking marijuana, and the use of anti-nausea medications.
Do you think you might have a problem with marijuana? If you’ve ever experienced Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, chances are you do. Learn the tale-tell signs of drug addiction. If you have a marijuana addiction, you can stop smoking now and learn to have fun in sobriety.
Have you ever had Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome? Leave your comments below.