For 17 years, Chalfonte Lenee Queen suffered abdominal pain and violent vomiting that would keep her off her feet for days on end. Sometimes it would leave her squirming on the floor in severe pain. Queen lost her modelling job after she was wrongfully mistaken for being an alcoholic. She thought she was dying of some form of cancer, but instead, she was suffering from a mysterious syndrome called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, according to a report done by CNN.
Before being diagnosed, Queen racked up thousands of dollars in medical bills, and constant nausea even disrupted her sex life. Throughout almost a decade of pain, Queen would visit the hospital about three times a year, but doctors were unable to figure out what the problem was. Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome has only recently been acknowledged by the medical community and affects only a small population. The population it mostly affects is frequent marijuana users who smoke multiple times a day for months and years.
Despite there not being any hard data on the prevalence of the illness, there is one study in Colorado that suggests there could be a link. Dr. Aimee Moulin, an emergency room physician at UC-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, says that she has seen a rise in the number of cases since Marijuana was legalized last year. The study is published in the Journal of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology and looks into cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.
For the study, researchers surveyed thousands of patients in order to single out those who used marijuana at least 20 days per month. Out of the thousands of patients, they managed to get 155 who met their criteria. Out of those 155 patients, almost a third of them had symptoms that qualified them for a diagnosis of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. On a side note, Moulin says that diagnosing someone with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome can be frustrating because there are no medications that can help with the symptoms. But Moulin does add that doctors are making progress with old anti-psychotic medications and creams for muscle aches.
Other Effects of Marijuana: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana can affect brain development. A study from New Zealand by researchers at Duke University found that people who started smoking marijuana frequently in their teens and had a marijuana use disorder lost an average of 8 IQ points between the ages of 13 and 38. What’s more unfortunate is the mental abilities they lost did not fully return when they quit as adults.
Breathing Problems: The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that marijuana smoke can irritate the lungs and people who smoke it can have the same breathing issues as those who smoke cigarettes. Some of the issues include phlegm, daily coughs, frequent lung illness and a higher risk of developing lung infections.
Increases Heart Rate: If you have heart problems, you may want to avoid marijuana use, says the National Institute on Drug Abuse. They add that marijuana can raise the heart rate for almost three hours when consumed. This can be troublesome for older individuals who are at a higher risk of experiencing a heart attack.
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