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Smoking Too Much Weed: Can Weed Make You Sick?

Brian just spent the last 10 hours in the shower. Why? It was the only way he knew how to stop the nausea and pain caused by marijuana overuse.

Brian is one of an estimated 2.7 million Americans who suffer from bouts of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). This condition causes pain and vomiting in heavy marijuana users. While CHS used to be a rare condition, the recent changes in marijuana laws have resulted in increased cases.

Dr. Eric Lavonas, Director of Emergency Medicine at Denver Health and spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians reports, “CHS went from being something we didn’t know about and never talked about to a very common problem over the last five years.”

Can You Get Sick From Smoking Too Much Weed?

Many marijuana users develop cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) after years of smoking marijuana, so they often don’t make the connection to their marijuana use. Yet, the nausea and pain are too severe to ignore. Patients can also become dehydrated, which can lead to kidney damage.

Often misdiagnosed, CHS is frequently mistaken for an anxiety- and psychiatric-related syndrome. Appendicitis and bowel obstructions are also commonly suspected.

Many CHS sufferers spend thousands of dollars on testing, and even surgery, in an attempt to discover the cause of the symptoms. After multiple trips to doctors and emergency rooms, patients eventually receive the right diagnosis: “You’re smoking too much pot.”

Dr. Joseph Habboushe, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, notes, “I know patients who have lost their jobs, gone bankrupt from repeatedly seeking medical care, and have been misdiagnosed for years.” Habboushe also says, “Marijuana is probably safer than a lot of other things out there, but the discussion about it has been so politicized and the focus has been on the potential benefits, without looking rigorously at what the potential downside might be. No medication is free from side effects.”

Is There a Cure for Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS)?

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) symptoms generally don’t respond to drug treatment. Anecdotal evidence exists for the “hot shower cure.” Patients have reported that taking hot showers is the only way to relieve the nausea and pain, with some reporting that they stay in the shower for hours at a time.

There is a silver lining. CHS is curable, and the cure doesn’t require a shot, expensive treatment, or surgery. Simply quit using marijuana. Yes:  stop smoking marijuana, and no more CHS.

But, getting people to stop using marijuana can be a challenge. Many have heard for years that marijuana helps relieve nausea, so they have a hard time believing the drug is truly the cause of their symptoms. Others don’t want to quit or find it difficult due to addiction. These obstacles make it likely that many will continue to suffer from CHS. And, as legalization spreads, doctors suspect the number of CHS cases will continue to rise.

Take Our “Am I Addicted to Marijuana?” Self-Assessment

Take our free, 5-minute “Am I Addicted to Marijuana?” self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with drug addiction. The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is confidential and no personal information is needed to receive the result.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you know is struggling with marijuana misuse or marijuana addiction, help is available. Treatment options vary in duration, intensity, and setting to meet the diverse needs of patients. Options include inpatient rehab, which involves living at a facility while receiving treatment. This can be a good option for patients who don’t have a stable living situation or have a co-occurring disorder, such as anxiety or depression. Outpatient rehab ,or additionally an IOP or PHP program, involves attending treatment during the day while returning home in the evenings. This provides flexibility for patients who may need to tend to responsibilities at home, school, or work.

While treatment varies by program, it often involves behavioral therapy to help patients identify and modify behaviors that contribute to their addiction.

Finding a Marijuana Addiction Rehab

Finding a marijuana addiction rehab can feel confusing, but you have options. Many people schedule an appointment with their doctor or a mental health practitioner to receive guidance and referrals if necessary. You can also begin your search online, using a free tool like our rehabs directory, which lets you narrow your search by set criteria (e.g., insurance accepted, location).

You can also contact American Addiction Centers at and speak with an admissions navigator. They can hear your story and provide treatment information. Contacting us is confidential and free, and there is no obligation to enter treatment.

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