Study Shows Marijuana Use Can Lead to Painful Condition

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Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize marijuana. Even though it wasn’t that long ago, a lot has changed since then. More than two dozen states have followed suit, legalizing marijuana for medical purposes and/or recreational purposes.

If you live in an area where marijuana is not legal, the leniency from other states still has an impact. Social acceptance for the drug has increased, and in some cases, has turned positive. Some even claim that marijuana can help with chronic and acute health problems such as pain, headaches and nausea. But is marijuana really as harmless as some people think?

Regular Marijuana Use Can Lead to Painful Bouts of Vomiting

A recent study tells us that marijuana isn’t so safe after all. It can lead to a rare but debilitating condition called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS). CHS is painful and results in stomach cramps, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Over time, these symptoms can lead to kidney problems. The severity of symptoms vary among individuals.

CHS may be rare, but it is debilitating. It often results in multiple trips to the emergency room, missed work and a decreased quality of life. Because CHS mimics other conditions (i.e., gallbladder disease, anxiety disorders), it’s easy to misdiagnose, further exacerbating the pain. The good news is that CHS is curable. Quitting marijuana eliminates the symptoms.

What Causes Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

Researchers are still trying to figure out why CHS occurs in some people and not others. Here is the theory.

In the brain, marijuana helps prevent nausea and vomiting, which is why it’s sometimes used for cancer patients. In the digestive tract, marijuana has the opposite effect. It makes the body more likely to feel nauseated. Fortunately, the brain signals are more profound early on and decrease nausea symptoms. However, with repeated use of marijuana, the brain receptors may stop responding and cause the symptoms of CHS.

There are three stages to CHS: the prodromal phase, the hyperemetic phase and the recovery phase. Symptoms start with nausea and stomach pain that can linger for months or years. During the hyperemetic phase, symptoms worsen and include ongoing nausea, abdominal pain, repeated episodes of vomiting, weight loss and dehydration. Recovery cannot begin until marijuana use is stopped. Recovery can last for days or months.

Though CHS is rare, it can take years to diagnose and rob you of your quality of life in the meantime. If you are ready to take control of your life and start your journey to sobriety, call The River Source today.