This Obscure Marijuana-Related Illness Is On The Rise In States With Legalized Pot
Ever heard of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome? Don’t worry, almost no one else has either. But it’s a very real, and frightening, condition that can affect people who smoke heavy amounts of marijuana. And unfortunately, it appears to be on the rise in states that have legalized recreational cannabis.
“It is certainly something that, before legalization, we almost never saw,” Dr. Kennon Heard told CBS News. “Now we are seeing it quite frequently.”
The syndrome manifests itself with intense vomiting and abdominal pain that strangely enough is relieved when the person suffering takes repeated hot showers or baths. Abstaining from marijuana also typically causes the symptoms to completely go away.
“Patients are given IV fluids and medication to resolve the vomiting and help with the pain,” Dr. Heard told CBS. “But the treatment is really to stop using marijuana, or at least to cut back severely, and that’s really the only way to make it better.”
But because it’s so poorly understood, people showing up to emergency rooms with the symptoms are often misdiagnosed. First discovered 10 years ago in Australia, researchers are still trying to understand exactly how the condition works. In particular, the effect of uncontrolled vomiting is directly at odds with one of marijuana’s most widely accepted health benefits as an antiemetic, i.e. something which stops vomiting and nausea, bringing great relief to individuals suffering from conditions like cancer, Crohn’s Disease and HIV.
However, according to a small collection of reports from hospitals in four states, the number of people showing up to ER’s with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome has risen sharply in recent years. One study showed that in two Colorado hospital the admittance rates for the condition have doubled since 2009. Similar increases have been reported in Washington, DC and Maryland where pot was recently legalized.
“These folks are really suffering. They can get pretty sick,” Dr. Eric Lavona of the Denver Health Medical Center said in an interview with the Missoulian. “They vomit like crazy and make frequent emergency department visits because they just can’t stop vomiting.”
Of course, those increased numbers can’t be entirely pinned on increased marijuana use. As CBS notes, many patients suffering from the condition may be reluctant to admit to using marijuana in states where the drug is still illegal.
In the meantime, the reports of CNS show that while recreational and medicinal marijuana are proving to be relatively safe for the vast majority of users, there are still potential risks associated with heavy use and other health conditions. And more importantly, that the science on the full range of effects from cannabis use is still far from settled.
The World’s First Double Hand Transplant Recipient Writes A Touching Thank You Letter To His Doctor He's got one more letter to write after this one
An 'Uber For Pregnant Women' Is Saving Countless Lives In Tanzania In Tanzania, a woman giving birth may walk for two days in search of basic medical services
When This Couple Realized The Immense Waste Created By Disposable Diapers, They Started A Brilliant Alternative A year of putting a baby in disposable diapers requires 300 pounds of wood, 20 pounds of chlorine, and 50 pounds of oil products
Prince Harry Reveals He Sought Counseling Following Years Of ‘Total Chaos’ The royal is shining a much needed light on the mental health crisis
While You Were Looking At Bombs, Trump Quietly Changed Obamacare Prepare for a much shorter enrollment period
Target's New Breastfeeding Stations Are Looking Like A Gamechanger For Shoppers With Kids The stores clearly took into account a nursing mom’s needs when they designed these
A 12-Year-Old Girl Starred In This Moving PSA To Inform Her Classmates She's Autistic The anxiety-producing video reveals what she endures in her daily interactions
The Hashtag #WhatAnxietyFeelsLike Reveals The Many Forms The Condition Can Take Reading the accounts, you quickly learn the disorder takes many different forms
Adult Swaddling Is Becoming Popular In Japan It’s great for babies, but what does it do for adults?