A bizarre illness which is thought to be directly linked to long-term marijuana use is taking the U.S by storm with more and more cases popping up in states where weed is now legal.
Symptoms for the mysterious illness include severe abdominal pain and violent vomiting however, weirdly, the symptoms can be reduced to nothing if the patient bathes in hot water for just a matter of minutes, reports the Huffington Post.
Although most doctors are bewildered by the illness, it has since been diagnosed as cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) – a syndrome which is closely connected to cannabis use over a long period of time.
Interestingly, cannabis is widely known for its anti-nauseating properties and is often prescribed to patients as a drug to weaken the symptoms of nausea.
Back in 2009 when the U.S government relaxed its stance on medical marijuana, CHS cases almost doubled in two of Colorado’s hospitals.
Dr. Kennon Heard, a physician at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, added that since cannabis is now legal for recreational use in the state CHS cases are becomming more and more common.
Speaking to CBS, Dr Heard said:
We are seeing it quite frequently. My colleagues are seeing this on a daily to weekly basis. The science behind it is not clear.
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.
And it doesn’t stop in Colorado, as hospitals in Washington and Seattle (where cannabis is also legal) are also reporting a massive increase in CHS cases.
CHS was first described back in 2004 when a group of scientists in Australia began studying a group of heavy marijuana users who were suffering from nausea, vomiting and chills.
Interestingly, seven of the users stopped taking cannabis and quite rapidly the symtoms vanished while those who continued to take marijuana carried on with CHS symptoms.
Since the report was published 13 years ago doctors and scientists alike still don’t know exactly what causes CHS however they do know that abstaining from cannabis greatly helps.
Dr. David Steinbruner, an emergency room physician at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs added:
The corollary would be alcohol. So small amounts may be fine for people, but over a long time it will cause all kinds of problems.
Everything in moderation…
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.