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Mysterious Illness From Smoking Weed

As more and more states are legalizing cannabis, a mysterious marijuana-related illness is popping up with increasing frequency in hospital emergency rooms across the country.

It’s called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), and it’s caused by heavy, long-term use of various forms of marijuana. Symptoms include severe abdominal pain and violent vomiting, which strangely enough, can be relieved by hot showers or baths.

Nobody knows exactly how many people suffer from it, but emergency rooms in other areas where cannabis is legal, such as the Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. and the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, have reported a noticeable increase in patients with this condition.

What is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

Syndrome after stopped using cannabisCHS was first described in 2004 by scientists in Australia who published a small study about a group of 19 long-term marijuana users complaining of nausea, vomiting and chills. The scientists found some interesting results: Those who stopped using cannabis were able to stop the vomiting, those who kept using continued to have vomiting episodes, and those who stopped using for a short time began vomiting again once they resumed using marijuana. In essence, stopping marijuana use altogether was the only way to stop the debilitating side effects.

The researchers also noticed one other peculiar thing – the patients took an abnormal amount of hot showers or baths, sometimes even waking up in the night to do it. This wasn’t due to the fact that they liked bathing themselves, but because they had discovered on their own that the hot water was the only way to alleviate their pain and suffering.

Cause and Treatment for CHS

CHS, in its most severe form, can lead to dehydration and kidney failure, but thankfully, symptoms stop within days of ending marijuana use. However, much of the illness remains shrouded in mystery. Scientists are still unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the syndrome, and no research exists on how common CHS is among people to smoke pot or what the risk factors are for developing it. It’s also unknown whether marijuana for medical use leads to excessive marijuana use. But don’t panic – there is good news…

Experts believe that, despite higher use of legalized pot in certain states, the number of cases still remain very low, emphasizing that CHS is still a relatively uncommon condition. Plus, there is one form of treatment known to have a 100 percent success rate: abstaining from cannabis altogether.

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Take our free, 5-minute “Am I A Drug Addict?” 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 that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.

 Marijuana Addiction Treatment Programs

Inpatient and outpatient programs for addiction are two common approaches to addressing substance abuse issues, and they can vary in terms of intensity, structure, and duration. Whether or not detox is needed for marijuana largely depends on individual circumstances, including the extent of marijuana use and any co-occurring substance use. Let’s explore these two types of addiction treatment programs:

Inpatient Programs

Inpatient programs, also known as residential treatment, provide a highly structured and immersive environment for individuals seeking help for addiction. Patients live at the treatment facility for an extended period, typically ranging from a few weeks to several months. These programs are well-suited for individuals with severe or long-standing addiction issues or those with a high risk of relapse in their home environment. Inpatient programs offer 24/7 medical and psychological support, individual and group therapy, and a range of therapeutic activities to address addiction and its underlying causes. For individuals who have been using marijuana alongside other substances, inpatient programs can offer comprehensive treatment and detoxification services if needed.

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient programs are more flexible in terms of scheduling and living arrangements. Patients can continue living at home while attending treatment sessions at a clinic or treatment center. Outpatient programs are suitable for individuals with milder addiction issues, a strong support system at home, and the ability to manage their daily responsibilities. These programs often involve individual counseling, group therapy, educational sessions, and the development of coping skills. In the context of marijuana addiction, outpatient programs can provide counseling and therapy to address psychological and behavioral aspects of marijuana dependence. If detox is not necessary for marijuana specifically, outpatient programs can focus on addressing the behavioral aspects of addiction, such as cravings and triggers.

It’s important to note that detoxification, or detox, is typically more relevant for substances like alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines, which can lead to physical withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped abruptly. In the case of marijuana, physical withdrawal symptoms are generally mild and include irritability, restlessness, and sleep disturbances. However, detox may be considered if marijuana is used alongside other drugs or substances that have more severe withdrawal symptoms.

Finding Marijuana Addiction Rehab

You can find marijuana addiction treatment using our directories tool, which is designed to help you locate specific treatment programs and centers based on your location, needs, and preferences. This tool streamlines the process of finding suitable treatment options, allowing you to search for facilities that offer marijuana-specific treatment, outpatient or inpatient programs, and various therapeutic approaches in your desired area. Whether you’re looking for help for yourself or a loved one, our directories tool can simplify the search for the most appropriate and accessible treatment resources to address marijuana addiction.

Call Us Today

If you’re struggling with marijuana addiction, seeking treatment is crucial. At American Addiction Centers, we’re here for you and ready to help. Call us today at to get started on your journey to recovery. Your path to a healthier, happier life begins now.


Additional Reading:   Warning – Marijuana Allergies a Growing Problem

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