BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – Emergency rooms in Massachusetts are experiencing a surge in a previously rare cannabis-related disease.
Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) causes a number of unpleasant effects and is found in patients who are chronic cannabis users.
Emergency Doctor Andrew Barton of Salem Hospital said the main symptoms of the disease were “… severe nausea and vomiting that can easily last for up to two days.”
Barton said he and other doctors have seen an increase in the number of cases since cannabis became legal in Massachusetts. The syndrome was practically unknown just a few years ago.
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“It can be useful in small amounts or on occasion – it can become harmful, if not toxic, if done regularly,” said Barton. Part of the problem, according to Barton, is that weed has a reputation for being a harmless drug, and it can be difficult to convince chronic users that it is harming them.
“So many people consider cannabis products completely safe … but you need to be aware that, as with any drug, there are side effects and dangers,” said Barton. Other symptoms of heavy cannabis use can include heart problems or even psychosis. A study in Denmark examined a possible link between increasing cannabis use and an increase in schizophrenia cases.
People with CHS report that bathing in warm water improves their symptoms, but Barton said the best treatment is to reduce cannabis use and perhaps switch to less potent cannabis products.
Kendall Buhl from WBZ (@WBZKendall) has more: