Marijuana users are being hit with waves ‘uncontrollable vomiting’ in states where the drug has been legalized, study finds

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  • Emergency rooms across the US are seeing an influx in habitual marijuana users being admitted for uncontrollable vomiting and intestinal distress.
  • According to a new study, the condition known as cannabis hyperemesis syndrome has been particularly pronounced in 18 states where marijuana has been legalized.
  • Dr. Sam Wang, who treated the teenagers, said, ‘They are dying, holding their stomachs, complaining of abdominal pain and nausea.’
  • The volume of CHS cases has skyrocketed over the years, with more than 800,000 cases of vomiting in Colorado between 2013 and 2018 alone.
  • Teens and young adults are particularly affected by the condition, with more than a third of vomiting reported in people aged 25 and younger.

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Emergency rooms across the United States are seeing a noticeable influx of habitual marijuana users — including teenagers — being admitted for uncontrolled vomiting and intestinal distress, a new study suggests.

The condition, known as cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, has been particularly pronounced in the 17 states where marijuana has been legalized, according to CNN.

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Sam Wang, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist and toxicologist who treats teens with the condition at Children’s Hospital Colorado, said, “They’re dying, holding their stomach, complaining of really bad abdominal pain and nausea. are.”

‘They vomit and then continue to vomit whatever is in their stomach, which can go on for hours.’

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‘They often say they took a grueling hot shower before coming to the ER but it didn’t help. That’s when we know we may have a case of cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS,’ Wang said.

According to CNN, the condition known as cannabis hyperemesis syndrome is particularly evident in the 17 states where marijuana has been legalized.

Image: Map of Marijuana Legality by State

Image: Map of Marijuana Legality by State

Study: Increase in uncontrolled vomiting linked to marijuana use

Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) was first identified in 2004 by a group of Australian researchers, when they studied 19 chronic marijuana users who complained of frequent withdrawal and abdominal pain.

More than half of the study group said they felt relief from a hot shower or bath.

‘Patients often say, ‘You know, it’s always in the evening when I have this nausea, vomiting,’ Wang said.

‘So they tell me, ‘I go to take a hot shower, and it gets better, then it happens again the next night.’

‘It’s pretty universal for these patients to say that they need a really, really hot bath, or a really hot bath, to improve their symptoms,’ he said.

Researchers believe that since cannabis has access to the body’s pain receptors, exposing the body to extreme heat can distract it and disrupt the pain cycle, according to CNN.

Treatment of CHS usually includes anti-nausea medications along with a fluid IV to help treat dehydration from vomiting.

However, patients admitted for CHS also undergo a series of tests, including CT scans, endoscopy, blood and urine tests, and gastric emptying tests, to better identify the diagnosis.

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According to Wang’s analysis, the amount of CHS cases has skyrocketed over the years, with more than 800,000 cases of vomiting between 2013 and 2018 in Colorado alone, a 29 percent increase since the state legalized marijuana in 2012. developed. was published Friday in the medical journal JAMA Network Open.

And the study found that teens and young adults are particularly hard hit by the condition, with more than a third of vomiting reported in people age 25 and younger.

‘This is not a rare problem,’ Wang said.

‘When a teen comes in with cyclical abdominal pain and vomiting, my colleagues know to ask about cannabis use. It is a very common practice to see it and diagnose and treat it.’

Treatment of CHS usually includes anti-nausea medications along with a fluid IV to help treat dehydration from vomiting.

However, patients admitted for CHS also undergo a series of tests, including CT scans, endoscopy, blood and urine tests, and gastric emptying tests, to better identify the diagnosis.

Dr. Wang says some younger CHS patients may be re-admitted multiple times because of the condition, forcing them to undergo tests, which are often expensive and unpleasant.

“For some of our kids, this is their fifth ER visit in the past two months with symptoms they can’t control,” Wang said.

Medical professionals say patients who wait too long for treatment for the condition are potentially putting their lives at risk.

‘Whether it’s cannabis hyperemesis syndrome or any other virus that makes you vomit a lot, if you let it go on for too long, you can have electrolyte disturbances, go into shock and lead to organ failure. CHS is no different,’ Wang said.

As more states pass laws to legalize recreational marijuana, the issue of CHS could become even more prevalent, warns Dr. Wang.

A recent Pew survey found that 60 percent of American adults believe marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use.

A recent Pew survey found that 60 percent of American adults believe marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use.

In the US, 17 states (and the District of Columbia) have legalized recreational marijuana for adults.

Meanwhile, three dozen states and several US territories also have medical marijuana laws on the books.

A recent Pew survey found that 60 percent of American adults believe marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use.

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