People who have an affinity for marijuana may be in for a big surprise, as reports of a new marijuana-related illness are on the rise.
Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS, is a disease acquired through chronic marijuana use. CHS is characterized by cyclic episodes of nausea and vomiting. Hot showers appear to be the only remedy for those suffering from the symptoms of CHS, and it has become the key warning sign for physicians trying to diagnose the syndrome.
Physicians say that patients will come in to emergency departments three or four times before getting a correct diagnoses, because the symptoms are not much different than common stomach bugs.
Lance Crowder, a long-term marijuana user, experienced the symptoms of CHS for over two years and went to emergency rooms multiple times before getting an accurate diagnoses.
“The first question he asked was if I was taking hot showers to find relief. When he asked me that question, I basically fell into tears because I knew he had an answer,” Crowder told MSN.
Dr. Kennon Heard, an emergency room doctor in Colorado, says that instances of CHS have skyrocketed since the state legalized marijuana.
“It is certainly something that, before legalization, we almost never saw,” the doctor told reporters. “Now we are seeing it quite frequently.”
Dr. Eric Lavona, a physician out of Denver, says that CHS is fairly serious. “These folks are really suffering. People can get pretty sick,” Lavona told reporters.
Reports of CHS are not localized to Colorado, other states with legal marijuana and the District of Columbia have reported cases in recent years.
While physicians and hospital staff in states with legal marijuana are getting better at spotting CHS, experts note that patients in states without legalization are highly unlikely to get a correct diagnoses. Doctors unfamiliar with CHS often misdiagnose symptoms as Cyclical Vomiting Sydrome, a disease with almost identical symptoms.
Since CHS was only discovered in the last decade, no one knows for sure how many Americans suffer from the disorder.
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