Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in the world (and is in the process of being legalized in many places. Much of the popularity of marijuana is due to the low awareness of the risk that exists among the population and to great economic interests is moving.
Some of the negative consequences of excessive cannabis use are known, such as psychotic symptoms, addiction, anxiety, sleep problems or irritability, etc. But there is a disease associated with marijuana use that is little known to the general public, even to most doctors and medical professionals. It’s cannabinoid hyperemesis, or “marijuana vomiting disease.”.
In this article I will tell you about this little-known disease, its treatment and a real testimony.
Symptoms of cannabinoid hyperemesis
These are the main symptoms that define this alteration.
- constant nausea
- Frequent episodes of vomiting
- Abdominal pain (severe)
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Muscle spasms
- brain edema (in the most severe cases)
What are the causes of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome?
Cannabis is a very complex plant, made up of many different substances. While certain uses of marijuana usually have certain effects on the brain (calming nausea or vomiting in patients undergoing chemotherapy, for example), they can have opposite effects on the digestive tract (making the urge to vomit and vomiting). abdominal pain mentioned above).
The scientific community still does not know why some people suffer from cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome and others do not. Excessive cannabis use is often a common factor, but genetic differences are probably the key factor in explaining the origin of the disease.
Phases of cannabinoid hyperemesis
This disease generally consists of three well differentiated phases.
1. Prodromal phase
The usual symptoms during this phase are usually an early morning stomach ache and nausea.
This phase usually lasts for months or years, during which time it goes undiagnosed. In some cases because the paramedics do not know how to diagnose it, and in most because the person does not mention that they frequently use cannabis (or do not ask for it).
A curious detail about this disease that has confused the scientific community is that marijuana consumed in certain amounts can help stop vomiting and nausea. However, for reasons that are not yet clear, some people who use marijuana often experience the opposite effect.
Here’s the paradoxical effect: Many regular cannabis users increase their marijuana use when they discover the first symptoms of the disease, so they speed up the progression and worsening of symptoms without realizing it.
They think that marijuana will stop the symptoms, not realizing that it causes them and makes them worse in the long run.
2. Hyperemesis phase
The next stage of this disease usually appears cyclically and can last from 24 hours to several days.
In the hyperemesis phase, the person has a strong compulsive urge to vomit, severe abdominal pain, and a strong need to take hot showers or baths (which usually relieves symptoms).
This is the phase in which they usually seek professional help and go to the doctor.
3. Recovery phase
At this point, the person will experience relief from nausea and abdominal pain, only if you reduce or stop using marijuana.
Recovery can take weeks or months, and you can relapse if the person uses cannabis again.
Witness of a real case
I was recently contacted by someone describing me her ex-partner’s crippling experience with cannabinoid hyperemesis (for obvious reasons, we will keep it anonymous):
“My ex-boyfriend and I had a big problem with this. We lived together and lost 4 jobs because of it. I was out of the question for me to go to CAD, I was going two days and nothing, I wasn’t coming back.
The doctors no longer fired him because they knew what he was and he lost his job. The last time he was unemployed to leave the previous job to another with better conditions and in the other time he did not pass the trial period to become bad, and he became unemployed because they do not give it to you if you have gone from one to the other and you do not pass the probationary period.
Therefore, we cannot pay for the house due to illness. It was horrible. Until after I was unable to pay and they left us some money for the house, the situation deteriorated further 3 months later and I decided to end the relationship in June .
It was horrible, he was in bed for more than 15 days throwing up. He had 20 and a half days with constant vomiting and scorching water showers every half hour (which was something unique that calmed him down). Incredible is to see it to believe it.
It took him about 5 years to be diagnosed as few doctors know him and have tested his stomach, stool and more. But losing 4 jobs and starting with the lies that he no longer smokes, catching him and seeing him get mean again was horrible … and I cried when he was fatal. But then he came back.
This is why I would like you to put it on so that it has more visibility and the leeks also destroy families (besides becoming apathetic). So very hard ”.
Treatment of cannabinoid hyperemesis
The most effective treatment (and the only one that really stops the symptoms) is to stop using cannabis.
But here’s the difficulty for most people with cannabinoid hyperemesis: cannabis is addictive, and most of the people who develop the disease already have very heavy and frequent use, and with some level of addiction.
In addition, it coincides with the definition of addiction: when a person feels unable to stop an activity or consumption, despite the serious negative consequences.
My name is Luis Miguel Real and I work as a psychologist specializing in addictions. If you are interested in quitting marijuana (or if a family member needs to quit), please contact me and we’ll start working on it as soon as possible.
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- Ochoa-Mangado, I .; Jiménez Giménez, M .; Salvador Vadillo, E .; Madoz-Gúrpide. A. (2009). Cyclical vomiting secondary to cannabis use. Gastroenterol Hepatol., 32.
- Allen, JH de Moore, Managing Director; Heddle, R .; Twartz, JC (2004) Cannabinoid hyperemesis: cyclic hyperemesis in association with chronic cannabis abuse. Gut, 53 years old.