The legalization of marijuana may have accentuated the phenomenon.
Cases are increasing and doctors are not sure what to do. In the United States, emergencies are seeing waves of patients of a new kind: regular cannabis users, vomiting uncontrollably and repetitively. A known phenomenon, but still misunderstood. Doctors call it Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS), or cannabinoid syndrome. Described for the first time in 2004 by Australian researchers, it affects some smokers accustomed to cannabis, causing them sudden intestinal pain, nausea and vomiting for several hours, sometimes spread over several weeks.
Today, cases are exploding in the United States. A study published on September 17, 2021 shows the scale of this phenomenon, which is believed to spread further with the legalization of cannabis in certain states of the country. In Colorado, for example, more than 800,000 cases of vomiting were reported between 2013 and 2018, an increase of 29% since marijuana was legalized there, says CNN. Nationally, nearly one in five people treated for cyclic vomiting between 2005 and 2014 had used cannabis.
Little or nothing is known about this cannabis hyperemesis syndrome. For example, doctors know that patients tend to take extremely hot showers to treat their symptoms on their own. However, they do not know which factors, such as the frequency or duration of consumption, would promote the disease.
Doctor Sam Wang, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist and toxicologist at the Colorado Children’s Hospital, which takes care of adolescents with vomiting, among other things, puts forward a hypothesis that could explain this phenomenon. According to him, the potency of cannabis, whose THC levels sometimes hover around 20% today (compared to 4% in the 90s), may be in question. Future studies should soon shed more light on us.
Author: slate.fr – Slate.fr