Researchers are warning that constant and long-term use of marijuana can lead to “scromiting,” a term used to describe people screaming and vomiting at the same time.
Roneet Lev, director of operations at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, told the NBC affiliate there that he sees at least one patient a day with the condition.
It was first described in 2004 in Australia, but it has been getting more attention recently in the U.S., some say because of relaxed marijuana laws.
Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is very rare. It can occur among very heavy and long-term marijuana users.
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“Five years ago this wasn’t something that doctors had on their radar,” physician Kennon Heard told Kaiser Health News. “We’re at least making the diagnosis more now.”
Heard is an emergency physician at the University of Colorado in Aurora who has studied the possible link between decriminalization of marijuana and the vomiting syndrome.
Chalfonte LeNee Queen of San Diego says she has suffered from it for 17 years.
“I’ve screamed out for death,” she told a reporter. “I’ve cried out for my mom, who’s been dead for 20 years, mentally not realizing she can’t come to me.”
The irony is that marijuana use is associated with a suppression of nausea.
Dr. Adam Algren, a toxicologist in the emergency room at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, said he could not quantify the number of patients with the syndrome that his hospital treats, but his sense is that emergency rooms are becoming more aware of it. He also said he would not be surprised if the number of cases was rising because of the relaxation of marijuana laws.
Algren said patients with the syndrome might initially be tested for a gall bladder or appendix problem and doctors might not link their symptoms to cannabinoid syndrome unless they are aware of the patient’s marijuana use. He said many patients might not link their symptoms to marijuana use, either.
And some are skeptical that marijuana is the culprit. Rather, they point to the use of plant-based neem oil as a pesticide on marijuana plants.
People who have experienced or studied the syndrome say it can be alleviated by taking a hot shower or bath.
A surer way is stop using marijuana.
“Symptoms stop after cessation of cannabis use,” said High Times.