- The common use of marijuana seems to be caused by a mysterious syndrome, which is characterized by severe nausea and repeated vomiting.
- It's a little known about a condition called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS.
- Business Insider has conducted interviews with half a dozen patients with a diagnosis of CHS, as well as with physicians in the emergency rooms they have been treating and the scientists studying.
- Patients say their life has turned upside down. Experts are worried that it may be more common than you once thought.
- Marijuana is used in the US, as several countries legalize the drug. But just starting to understand the various benefits and risks associated with it.
- Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.
Alice Moon once looked at marijuana dishes for life. So, when a doctor told the 29-year-old Californian that he had to stop using cannabis due to a newly discovered syndrome, he threatened to turn his world on his head.
Before she left the drug, she wanted the last hour. Five years of daily use of weeds will end at a high level, she thought.
At a special dinner in the evening, Moon took a meal prepared by award-winning chef Holden Jagger. During the meals, Moon and other guests were encouraged to take hits from various joints that were manually selected to complement the tastes in each meal.
Before the meal started, Moon and Jagger played out to be her last dinner.
A few hours later she was knocked out at home uncontrollably. She'll survive in the hospital for the next few days.
The moon was previously diagnosed with a condition called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS.
Very little is known of CHS, which was first discovered in the early 2000s. Recognized signs of this condition are severe, consistent use of marijuana, violent vomiting and nausea and the tendency to use very hot baths or showers to relieve.
At first, CHS initially appeared very rarely in medical journals and emergency rooms around the world. No known medicine. The only long-term therapy is complete cannabis abandonment.
A condition can be prevented, which is one of the reasons why doctors and researchers say they want more people to know about it. Research has shown that several adults have used marijuana in recent years; whether this is related to several countries that legalize the factory, it remains unclear.
Hemp is not a single drug. It's a plant with hundreds of compounds. Each of them could have a unique effect on our health. However, we have just begun to scratch the surface of what these effects are, because the drug has been very ill for decades, experts say.
The benefits of marijuana may include relieving symptoms associated with serious health problems, from the pain and disability to digestive problems and seizures. At the same time, the risks may include addiction, decreased cognitive capacity, and CHS.
"We have to admit that the full extent of possible harmful effects on health due to cannabis use is not entirely understandable," Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Drug Abuse Institute.
CHS could hit millions of Americans, but we do not know much about that
In interviews conducted by Business Insider with doctors, researchers and more than half a dozen people with symptoms of CHS, people painted a picture of a serious but still mysterious disease. Some researchers estimate that it can affect millions of Americans; Others hope it is less common.
Since marijuana is illegal at federal level, but the situation has recently been identified, the exact number of people with CHS is difficult to determine.
It seems that the syndrome affects people who are enjoying a lot of cannabis in all environments, ages and genders. Most people say they have been using cannabis several times a day between two years and up to several decades. They describe a condition that occurs suddenly and without warning, sometimes even after consuming marijuana.
For people who have been using marijuana for many years, it's as if the switch turned. After the first occurrence, every time someone with CHS uses cannabis, they risk becoming violently ill. The use of pesticide-free marijuana, edible oil, concentrates, CBD-containing products, or wax pens does not make any difference.
In some cases, as with other chronic conditions, CHS seems to be causing outbreaks that are difficult to predict. Patients may sometimes go weeks without symptoms and then suddenly experience particularly intense attacks.
Many people with this condition find themselves in urgent centers or emergency care centers, and some are admitted to the hospital. Complications may range from mild to severe and include problems such as infections, renal failure and significant weight loss.
If left untreated, CHS may be lethal.
"People do not connect him with marijuana"
At the beginning, Moon hesitated to believe that her illness was associated with marijuana.
She has been using drugs for half a decade without symptoms. To make things more complicated, she first turned to cannabis as a way to relieve the occasional pain and discomfort associated with menstrual cramps. Doctors say that Moon is not alone in its initial disbelief.
"People do not bind it to marijuana because they have been smoking for decades, without identifying problems," said Dr. Joseph Habboushe, associate professor at the University of New York. year.
Moon used various forms of marijuana (edible, concentrates in puff vases and multiple strains of floral form) every day for about three years. Then, one day in 2016, a few hours after smoking, a part of the decision ended with disadvantage.
After that, she will get sick for a month or so. She thinks alcohol is perhaps related to her symptoms, she stopped. It did not help.
She tried to improve her diet. Nothing worked. Eventually she ended up in an emergency room where doctors diagnosed heartburn.
Moon's symptoms continued for more than a year. The only thing that helped was to spend hours in a hot bath.
Things changed in 2018. Every week she was boiling. The expert she saw at that time said that CHS could tell her that the medicine had stopped using marijuana. She did not want to believe her, but she decided that she would have to stop.
But before she left, she went to the last hemp. Moon described him as his last supper.
Moon spent the night – and most of the next two weeks – spent in the bathroom. Her vomiting was so bad every day that she felt like she was barely coming up in the air. One morning she was so weak that she fainted on the meadow. She had enough at this point.
"I was in denial. I did not want to believe it was true.
She left marijuana for three months and was without symptoms. Then she tried the CBD, hoping that there was some form of cannabis she could enjoy. One day she took 200 milligrams of CBD in capsules. That night she ended up in the emergency room.
Within about a week, during the emergency period, Moon developed three ulcers, a kilo, and an infection. She was 12 pounds from her already slender frame, she missed Christmas with her family and the New Year with her friends.
"I looked like I was dying," she recalled.
In Colorado, where marijuana is lawful, CHS was recently identified as one of the leading drivers of visits to emergency rooms linked to cannabis.
For a study published last month, researchers reviewed ER visits between 2012 and 2016 and found that stomach problems, such as nausea and vomiting, were the main cause of travel, for reasons such as poisoning and paranoia. Of the stomach problems, the CHS problem was most commonly reported.
"CHS is definitely not very rare," said Dr. Andrew Monte, chief researcher and associate professor of emergency medicine at UCHealth University of Colorado. "We see him completely every week in our ER."
Moon needed CT, MRI, and endoscopy to exclude other questions before taking a medical initial diagnosis into the heart: it had CHS and had to stop the consumption of cannabis.
"I was in denial. I did not want to believe it was true," she said. "Cannabis is my world. It's all my life."
Hot showers give temporary relief, but the only medicine is a waiver
Researchers began to describe the symptoms of CHS in the early 2000s, but doctors in various hospitals around the world until recently have begun to identify themselves as a unique syndrome. Initially, it was often associated with other digestive conditions, which have some of its characteristics, such as cyclical vomiting.
It is still not known how many cases of cyclical vomiting can be CHS, said Habboushe. Conversely, it is also possible that some CHS cases are completely different. Some people who make things even more difficult initially turn to marijuana and help with nausea and vomiting. (Federally authorized THC-containing medicinal product is prescribed for the treatment of nausea and vomiting for the treatment of cancer and AIDS.)
One of the most typical features of CHS is the tendency of patients to use hot baths or showers to temporarily relieve symptoms. Other standard medications for nausea, such as anti-nausea drugs, do not work.
Habboushe believes that heat helps because of something that is connected with how CHS interferes with natural fever and pain control. For some reason, hot water signals the body that everything is fine, and the pain and nausea with CHS disappear for at least the time the water remains.
"That was what had to be done," said Susie Frederick, a 30-year-old resident of Portland, who was told that CHS could have last year. "This feeling of need for the comfort of everything."
Frederick called on Insider to not use his real name because he works in the Cannabis industry.
Frederick is not sure whether her symptoms are CHS or anything else, perhaps something related to hormonal changes. In the past, she had other problems with digestion, head injuries and gallbladder problems, which complicated things.
Frederick said that her episodes of vomiting and nausea usually occur when she is on a menstrual cycle and when she travels or deals with additional stress. She had her first episode when she received a small birth-absorbing hormone release progestin to prevent pregnancy.
"It's hard to say that CHS is actually what's happening. It captures quite a few other things," said Frederick.
Nausea associated with CHS seems to be stronger and more intense than the usual disadvantage associated with things such as motion disorders or pregnancy, depending on the patient.
Barry Howard, a 28-year-old chef in Birmingham, Alabama, said that his CHS feeling was hit hardest by the fact that he was indispensable to freeing his body from something like toxin. Business Insider does not use the real name of Howard because he lives in a country where hemp is illegal.
"It's not normal," Oh, I'm sick to my stomach "feeling. You feel like your interior wants to come out – as you tried to push something," said Howard Business Insider.
Brian Smith died of dehydration when he fought CHS for months
If someone with CHS continues to use marijuana, severe complications may occur. In one case, a 17-year-old Indiana named Brian Smith died when he fought CHS for more than six months.
Regina Denney, Smith's mother, told Business Insider that Smith was first diagnosed with CHS in the emergency room in the spring of 2018. On the way to the hospital, she was so severe that she had to pull to the side of the road about five. times.
In the emergency department, doctors told Denney that her son was dehydrated deeply and warned her that his kidneys, a natural system for filtering poisons in the body, were on the brink of constipation.
At first, Denny thought his symptoms were associated with heartburn, which was set at the age of 10, which had been treated for years with medicines prescribed by doctors such as Prilosec.
After Smith had given up the fluid and passed a series of tests, they decided to stay in the hospital overnight.
While waiting for results, the doctor asked Smith if he smoked marijuana. When he said yes, the doctor said he had a CHS. The doctor said that CHS was caused by cannabis, and Smith told the doctor that the drug had stopped. She did not say she could be deadly.
"All we heard about marijuana were the benefits"
Smith, as others with a CHS diagnosis, was somewhat dubious. Marijuana has been used for years without any problems. Nevertheless, he agreed to stop until he saw a specialist.
"All we heard about marijuana were good," said Denney. "How it helps weakness, how it helps appetite."
A specialist, a gastroenterologist, confirmed the doctor's diagnosis a few days later and did not perform any additional tests. He said Smith CHS had to stop using marijuana. Although Smith and his mother still had doubts, he was invited to stop smoking.
The next two months were terrible for Denney. Although her son stopped breathing – at least as far as she could tell – she continued to lose weight. Occasionally he also complained about weakness. At first, she assumed it was related to his heartburn. But one day, when she noticed that blades were leaking out of thin cotton, she began to suspect that she again used cannabis.
"It was skin and bones," said Denney.
One night, Denney got up in the middle of the evening to find a son on the sofa in the living room that held the stomach. He said he did not feel good. The next morning he started to force himself violently. During the sprint to the bathroom, where she sheltered to hold a bucket under her son and wiped her back, and the kitchen where she was preparing dinner for her baby, Denney called the doctor.
They sent some medicines to get it in a pharmacy, they said. But when Denney took it, it was the same anti-nausea drug that he got in the emergency room. When she told the doctor that the medicine he ordered did not work, they said they would order something else. Meanwhile, she returned home.
Suddenly, at home, Smith collapsed. He grabbed his back, near the kidneys, then his chest. He told his mother he could not breathe. Denney immediately called 911.
By the time the nurses came in, Smith stopped breathing. They tried CPR. Smith was pronounced dead as a half hour later.
On her birthday, Denney received a report from her son's morgue. When Smith died, he was seriously dehydrated after the document. The cause of death on the report, which was inspected by the business insider, was "dehydration due to CHS".
Denney could not believe it.
"I said marijuana could not kill my son, it does not take life for people," she said.
When, a few days after Smith died, the car was cleared, the son's backpack pulled out of its back seat. Inside, she found an uncluttered bag that looked like candy.
"I have to do something to make people aware," said Denney. "I do not want anyone to go through this. None of the parents should lose a child, especially not like that."
"People say I work for the Feds"
Some people with CHS are hesitant to talk about this condition out of fear that they will be treated as opposed to marijuana and efforts to legalize the plant. Moon and Howard said they had a great response from their friends, family members and other people in their communities when they told them about CHS.
After the Moon, he shared an article recently published by someone about his experience with this condition when her inbox was flooded with hostile mail.
"People say I'm working for the FBI. People say they should leave the industry," she said.
Clinicians and researchers are studying marijuana compounds because of their potential ability to treat dozens of illnesses and there is already a cannabis-based drug to cope with seizures.
But at the same time, when research on the potential benefits of cannabis continues, an unusual trend of marijuana has emerged as a medicine for everyone. Because they want to exploit the growing public perception of cannabis as a universally beneficial one, hundreds of companies are hunting everything from CBD-based lotions and beverages to biscuits and sweets – many of them without research that support their claims.
People like Moon, Frederick and Howard – people who turned to marijuana because they said they were helping with other health issues – seem in the middle. Frederick began using cannabis for sports injuries and said that he also used it to help with the passage of a high dose of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
Howard first turned to marijuana because he considered his therapeutic properties to outweigh the risks.
Howard, who worked against the scholarship, played football at the high school in the high school when he developed a compression fracture in the lower back. The injuries caused him life-long pain. Because he wanted to avoid opioid analgesics from anxiety to become addicted, he turned to cannabis.
"If anything, I thought." [marijuana] I helped through, "said Howard.
"This does not mean that marijuana is bad or good"
Monte and Habbousa stressed that most CHS patients use a very high level of marijuana – much higher than standard or recreational use. It can be concluded that CHS is severe, but can be avoided with moderate cannabis use.
"The use of moderate amounts is probably the best answer to avoid people avoiding this," Monte said. "People who use 10 times a day are probably very risky. Even daily use is probably too much, unless you do it for medical purposes."
Despite having fought CHS, Moon did not leave the marijuana industry. It no longer treats cannabis products because it has given up any form of medicine, including CBD. Today he works for several marijuana and serves as a public relations manager for the technological start of cannabis, called Paragon.
"I'm passionate about cannabis and I believe in its healing properties, but I also realize that I may have had too much," she said.
Regina Denney has created her memorial group on Facebook since the death of her son Brian. He hopes to raise awareness of CHS.
"My goal is to bring something positive from the heart beat," she said.