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As Dave (name changed), was heading to the metro station, the same sickening sensation of nausea struck him again. Eleven long months of random bouts of intense abdominal cramps and chronic vomiting had taken a heavy toll on his physical health and well-being. During such episodes, even anti-nausea pills like Compazine, Promethazine or Zofran would make no difference. The only thing that seemed to alleviate his misery was a hot shower. After several tests, visits to the doctor and research, he finally came to know that he had cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), a chronic vomiting disorder, which especially affects heavy pot smokers. Dave had been a heavy pot smoker for over a decade. “Why has the drug that I once loved turned against me,” wondered the 38-year-old from Downton Denver.
However, he is not the only one battling CHS. “All emergency departments in the state are now seeing such cases on a daily to weekly basis. There are plenty of patients coming to the emergency room with this, and presumably there are even more who don’t come to the emergency room, who just try to deal with it at home,” said Dr. Kennon Heard, chief of medical toxicology for the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
Although, marijuana enthusiasts may defend the historic passage of Amendment 64 of 2012 that legalized recreational pot use by adults in Colorado but studies show that the wave of pot culture has swept its way across communities and geographies causing long-lasting physical as well as mental health ailments amongst cannabis aficionados.
CHS is a rare form of cannabinoid toxicity that manifests in chronic pot smokers. Characterized by cyclic episodes of enfeebling nausea and recurrent vomiting, those who suffer from the syndrome often resort to hot showers to relieve the agonizing symptoms.
Scientific findings have revealed that hot showers actually rectify the cannabis-induced disequilibrium of the brain’s hypothalamus, a type of thermostat that regulates the system’s temperature. Therefore, quitting cannabis use can lead to improvement in the condition of people with CHS.
The syndrome first came to light in 2004, when abnormal abdominal pains and heavy vomiting were reported in a group of regular pot users. Besides, a 2015 study published in the Academic Emergency Medicine (AEM) – the official journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) – states that the number of CHS cases showed a twofold increase in two Colorado hospitals between 2009 and 2011, after the U.S. Attorney General stopped the prosecution of marijuana-related cases in 2009.
Since the decriminalization of recreational pot use in 2014, the Denver Health and the University of Colorado Hospital have reported 87 confirmed cases of CHS as compared to 41 cases in the earlier period.
In most cases, patients show up at the emergency department at least six to 10 times before being diagnosed with CHS, for the simple reason that health care providers are not aware of such a condition, states Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York. He also said that emergency physicians working in states where marijuana is legal need to stay abreast of such happenings, especially if they treat a patient with extreme nausea and vomiting.
As simple as it may sound, it is not easy to stop using the drug, especially if someone has been addicted to marijuana for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, cannabis is widely known for its antiemetic properties, which compels people to increase their consumption of the drug in an attempt to self-medicate.
If you or your loved one is addicted to marijuana, contact the Colorado Detox Helpline. Call the 24/7 helpline number at 866-730-5807 or chat online to know about the best drug detoxification treatment centers in Colorado. Our certified representatives would be more than glad to speak about the best addiction treatment programs available at our drug detox treatment centers in Colorado.
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