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The Chronic truth about Marijuana: Is cannabis a problem?

abdominal pain cannabinoid cannabinoid hypermesis Cannabis chronic drug-seeking behavior dry heaves Gastroenterology heavy use Recovery vomiting

Legal or not, in some areas of the United States (and world), Cannabis has an everlasting effect on many aspects of society.

In this viewpoint I will be discussing an area that has our local emergency rooms jamming with youth and adolescent.  In an article from the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology, Dr. Sullivan’s findings were first discovered when a young man had multiple visits to the emergency room for abdominal pain.  The cause: “Cannabinoid Hypermesis.” So, what is cannabinoid hyperemesis?

Cannabinoid Hypermesis

For the purpose of this concept there is a clear distinction of chronic, heavy cannabis use.  Stephen Sullivan, MD. States in his article from Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology (May 2010.  24(5) 284-285) that “cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is characterized by chronic, heavy use of cannabis, recurrent episodes of severe nausea and intractable vomiting, and abdominal pain.”

Dr. Sullivan further states that most patients are “daily and very heavy users of cannabis.”  He quotes that users have been “doing so for years, often decades, before the vomiting episodes begin.”

cannabis The Chronic truth about Marijuana: Is cannabis a problem? images 1Dr. Sullivan has shown a technique to finding a guided solution between the data of the patient, and conclusion of cannabinoid hyperemesis.

Sullivan states, “The vomiting becomes bilious and culminates in intractable retching or ‘dry heaves’, which may last for hours.” So then he asks the patient, “Have you tried marijuana for the vomiting?”

Dr. Sullivan claims that this is the easiest way to approach a person for gathering the correct analysis of his subject.

Dr. Sullivan brings to point that the lack of awareness of the symptoms and syndrome pushes doctors to misdiagnosis. Some misdiagnoses that are close in comparison to Cannabinoid Hypermesis are ailments like, “psychogenic vomiting, the cyclic vomiting syndrome, an eating disorder or ‘drug-seeking behaviour’.”

The classic symptoms to watch out for in Cannabinoid Hypermesis are:

    1. “Chronic, heavy use of cannabis;
    2. Recurrent episodes of severe nausea and intractable vomiting;
    3. Abdominal pain;
    4. Temporary relief of symptoms by taking a hot bath or shower; and
    5. Resolution of the problem when cannabis use is stopped.”
  • [Stephen Sullivan, MD.  Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology.  Cannabinoid Hypermesis.  May 2010; 24(5) 284-285]

Dr. Sullivan concludes his findings by saying this:

 “Finally, why does the chronic, heavy use of a drug noted for its antiemetic properties occasionally cause a cyclic vomiting syndrome? There has been much speculation but no definitive explanation. Suffice to say, nobody knows!”


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