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Heavy Marijuana Smokers Suffer From Persistent Nausea


NEWMARKET, ON – One patient discovered he could only swallow his food if he ate in the bathtub. Another patient was always in the shower because that was the only way he could control his continuous nausea.

Both patients have two things in common. First, they were both heavy smokers of marijuana. Secondly, they were suffering from something called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. This syndrome hits some heavy marijuana smokers with continuous nausea and severe abdominal pain.

Dr. Raj Waghmare works at the Southlake Regional Health emergency ward in Newmarket, Ontario. He says that he always encounters at least one patient with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome during his three-shift work week. He added that the entire hospital encounters a few hundred cases per year.

Heavy Marijuana Smokers Suffer From Persistent Nausea

Dr. Waghmare says that patients arrive at the emergency room with severe upper abdominal pain (epigastric pain). They suffer from continuous pain accompanied with vomiting and nausea. The syndrome has the same symptoms as stomach flu, but it is unresponsive to medication for pain relief.

It was only in 2004 when Australian doctors identified the cause of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. It was also just then that it was given its name. There was a rise of the syndrome in states in the US where recreational marijuana is legal.

Doctors no longer see a blank wall as they can easily diagnose a patient with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. They first determine if the patient is a heavy marijuana smoker. Then they check if nausea and stomach pain are relieved only when the patient is placed in a bathtub or under the shower. However, doctors still do not know why these remedies work.

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Only heavy marijuana smokers are most likely to get cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. According to Dr. Waghmare, this syndrome affects only those that smoke marijuana numerous times on a daily basis. Those who only are occasional marijuana smokers usually do not suffer from the debilitating effects of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.

The only cure for this syndrome is to quit smoking marijuana. Immediate cure, though, is not in sight. Some pamphlets say that a patient can be cured after quitting the drug for a day or two. Dr. Waghmare, however, says a complete cure comes in months.

This syndrome can be tough on medical marijuana users. In the first place, some of them depend on marijuana to relieve nausea. Dr. Waghmare says that marijuana can either induce or relieve nausea.

Dr. Waghmare explains that marijuana works on the receptor for nausea. The thing is, these receptors get stimulated and sometimes they react differently. At first marijuana will work to relieve nausea. Then it will work on the reverse and cause nausea instead.

It is also unclear why some heavy marijuana smokers do not get the cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. Some doctors say it has something to do with genetics.

Some countries have not heard of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome or encountered patients with symptoms of this syndrome. This may be due to how marijuana is grown. It is difficult to probe deeply into this theory because a lot of marijuana in Canada still comes from illegal supply chains. How marijuana is grown and treated may have something to do with why cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome has come to be.

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A MarijuanaNewsOnline.com Feature