What is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?
With the ever-growing rate of cannabis users around the world, medical experts are unearthing all kinds of effects associated with smoking weed. While most effects are beneficial, one recent find has left cannabis enthusiasts a little worried. The discovery is a disorder called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. The syndrome is not well understood, given how recently it was found and has left the medical community baffled. What we do know, however, is this: for those with the disorder, heavy cannabis use leads to cyclical, almost ceaseless vomiting. That, and a fondness for scalding hot showers.
Discovery of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome
The earliest study into Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome was conducted in 2004. In it, nine patients ultimately participated in the study.
The patients had two things in common: vomiting multiple times a day and an affinity for smoking marijuana. When they stopped using cannabis, 7 out of the 9 saw an end to their symptoms. It appears the plant (or THC), for these unfortunate individuals, was causing the vomiting.
The study also noted a very odd phenomenon. The subjects of the study all took scalding showers to alleviate their symptoms. Why this works, the study notes is entirely unknown.
Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome: A Mystery
Following the initial 2004 study, researchers have further examined the syndrome with little success. A more recent study conducted in 2012 examined 98 patients but found no new information.
All the patients had Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome as a result of heavy cannabis use. Which manifested in nausea, abdominal pain, and cyclical vomiting.
When the patients stopped smoking, virtually all of them were cured of their Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. And for reasons still unknown, about half of the patients alleviated their symptoms by taking scalding hot showers.
To date, there is still little known about why a minority of cannabis users develop Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. What these studies have done, is aid the medical community in being able to diagnose the syndrome.
As we’ll see, a misdiagnosis of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome can unduly take sufferers down a long, painful road.
A Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome Case Study
A case study was done on a woman who turned out to have Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, and it details her struggle as a result of repeated misdiagnoses.
The woman came to the emergency department of a hospital with second-degree burns on 20% of her body as a result of taking showers that were far too hot for the human body.
For the preceding two years the woman had a history of daily nausea and vomiting incorrectly attributed to anxiety. The hot showers, which the woman said helped with her symptoms, were dismissed because of her obsessive compulsive disorder. As a result, she was on numerous medications for disorders she did not have.
Eventually, doctors discovered that she, in fact, had Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, and she was taken off of her medications and only instructed to quit smoking cannabis. She did and was cured of the syndrome that had been plaguing her for years.
Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome and the Importance of Cannabis Research
The federal prohibition of marijuana has no doubt contributed to the anonymity of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome until so recently.
Fortunately, it is now a syndrome that can be treated by professionals who know what to look for. However, there needs to be more research done on the disorder and cannabinoids, in general, to understand it better. Its mechanisms of action, causes, and why dangerously hot showers seem to help some with their symptoms.
Federal barriers to this research cause a hindrance to this progress that leaves some people, like the woman from the case study we looked at, suffering unnecessarily due to a lack of research.
Looking forward, allowing more research on Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome and cannabis generally will alleviate the pains of people all around the country.