While the use of marijuana is considered mostly harmless, a new report reveals that heavy pot consumption may be the cause of a serious illness called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS).
It seems that this mysterious sickness has started to appear more frequently in states like Colorado, which legalized the herb for recreational use several years ago.
Some patients are now showing up in emergency rooms with symptoms ranging from severe stomach cramps to heavy vomiting, but most doctors are failing to properly diagnose the problem because the true nature of this condition has been, for the most part, unknown.
Dr. Kennon Heard of the University of Colorado Hospital published a study in 2015 showing that cases of CHS had increased in Colorado ever since the state legalized medical marijuana. Those cases have now doubled since the state legalized the leaf for recreational use.
According to reports, there were 41 cases of CHS in Colorado in 2009, which increased to 87 after the passing of Amendment 64.
“It is certainly something that, before legalization, we almost never saw,” Heard told CBS News. “Now we are seeing it quite frequently.”
While these numbers hardly represent a major cause for alarm, physicians say that for those who come down with this rare syndrome, the damage can be rather serious – it can sometimes lead to extreme dehydration and kidney failure.
Strangely, the symptoms of CHS are often calmed when a patient takes a hot bath or shower. But so far, medical experts have been unable to establish any medical reasoning behind this treatment.
In 2014, HIGH TIMES reported that Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome was a very real condition and that it was often mistaken for Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome, an illness that is not caused by chronic marijuana consumption.
Fortunately, medical experts say that discontinuing the use of marijuana can alleviate the symptoms of CHS.
“Patients are given IV fluids and medication to resolve the vomiting and help with the pain,” Heard told the Huffington Post. “But the treatment is really to stop using marijuana, or at least to cut back severely, and that’s really the only way to make it better.”