A mysterious marijuana related illness is spreading rapidly, which has caused several patients to visit emergency rooms recently. The trend is relatively higher in states where cannabis is legal. The symptoms of the illness include violent vomiting associated with abdominal pain.
According to experts, the illness is cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which is linked to heavy, long-term use of marijuana, Fortunately, the vomiting and nausea can be relieved with hot showers.
Notably, the emergency rooms in the legalized states have been filled up with patients post New Year’s day with mysterious marijuana related illness. Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., and Harborview Medical Center and the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle are among hospitals reporting an uptick. Despite being recognized a decade ago, not much is known about CHS.
“The science behind it is not clear,” Dr. Kenon Heard, a physician at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, told the Denver Channel. “The most likely cause is that people using marijuana frequently and in high doses have changes in the receptors in their body, and those receptors become dysregulated in some way, and it starts causing pain.”
In its severest form, CHS can lead to kidney failure. However, symptoms stop within the day, if the marijuana usage is regulated. Although CHS can be an after effect of excessive cannabis intake, yet the symptoms does not appear immediately. It takes at least 10 years of continuous overdose to suffer from CHS. According to experts, excessive use means consuming cannabis three to five times in more than recommended doses for several years.
“Patients are given IV fluids and medication to resolve the vomiting and help with the pain,” explained Heard. “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.”
Cannabis Hypermesis Syndrome was first analyzed in Australia approximately a decade ago. With the latest legalization of cannabis in the United States, the importance of knowledge about this disease is highly relevant. Both physicians and patients should know about the symptoms and the ways to curb it, in order to lead a healthy life.