Study: ‘Substantial Increase’ in Incidents of Vomiting Leading to Hospital Visits After Colorado Legalized Recreational Weed


The authors of the new study recommend that healthcare clinicians in legal states be aware of the symptoms associated with cannabis hyperemesis syndrome.

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New U.S. research indicates that the legalization of recreational cannabis in Colorado preceded a 29% increase in health care visits among people requiring treatment related to vomiting in state emergency departments.


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Concretely, these meetings went from 119,312 in 2013 to 153,699 in 2018, notes a study published last week in Substance use and addiction. In total, 25 percent of patients were up to 18 years old, 14 percent were between 19 and 25 years old, and 61 percent were 26 years or older. About 62% of the patients were women.

Through CNN, “When a teenager arrives with cyclical abdominal pain and vomiting, my colleagues know to ask questions about cannabis use. It’s pretty common practice to see this, diagnose it and treat it, ”said Dr. Sam Wang, pediatric emergency medicine specialist and toxicologist at the Colorado Children’s Hospital.

  1. American researchers found that

    Chili cream helped relieve cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome in young and old

  2. When she arrived at the hospital, the woman had been suffering from uncompromising nausea and vomiting for a week.  / PHOTO BY PORNPAK KHUNATORN / ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS

    New case report sheds light on cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome and need to avoid diagnostic delays

  3. In non-legal states, nearly 70% of those polled said they believed legalizing cannabis would produce economic growth, and 57% said they were likely to move to a state where cannabis is legal.  /

    Poll: 35% of Americans say legal weed is the reason they moved to their current state


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The study’s authors wanted to know if there had been more such incidents – repeated and severe episodes of vomiting are a symptom of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome – since Colorado switched on adult cannabis it several years ago.

Investigators specify that “although suggesting an association, a determination of an association between legalization policies and the incidence of cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) has not been established.”

The idea was to collect data “to estimate whether the opening of new markets can generate an increase in these cases”, they write.

In their cross-sectional study, the researchers looked at data from the Colorado Department of Revenue Marijuana Enforcement Division and the Colorado Hospital Association from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2018. They compared the results of counties that did not have dispensaries before. legalization. and those who did. A total of 820,778 patients who requested care were included.


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The results of the study “suggest a substantial increase in vomiting-related emergency room visits in Colorado after recreational cannabis legalization, the researchers write.” Overall, the additional recreational clinics in one county have been associated with an increase in emergency room visits related to vomiting when measured in terms of absolute numbers, “they add.

That said, the highest peaks “were seen in counties without existing medical clinics,” investigators said. “Counties with a high number of medical marijuana dispensaries experienced a 5.8% slower increase than counties without any,” they report.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, the study notes that there were 1,037 dispensaries in the state, 552 recreational and 485 medical. The highest total number of dispensaries was found in urban counties: Denver had 357, El Paso had 136, Boulder had 82, Pueblo had 52, and Jefferson had 49.


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The study authors say that another review of more than 200 patients diagnosed with CHS “found that daily cannabis use was reported in 47.9% of patients and weekly use in 19.4%.  /
The study authors say that another review of more than 200 patients diagnosed with CHS “found that daily cannabis use was reported in 47.9% of patients and weekly use in 19.4%. / Photo by Getty Images

“Vomiting-related county emergency room visit rates between counties with no exposure and counties with low or high exposure were fundamentally no longer different after the recreation clinics opened,” the study notes. This is “despite the existence of quite large differences in quarterly per capita rates in these counties before the opening of new recreational clinics.”

Pointing out that the frequency of vomiting with CHS is similar to other conditions of cyclic vomiting, it is speculated that the latter are “due to an imbalance with the endocannabinoid system and the brainstem and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis afterwards. heavy cannabis use ”.

A study published last year found that nearly one in five hospitalizations for cyclic vomiting syndrome was associated with concurrent cannabis use.


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The authors of the latest study admit that “the duration, frequency, route or potency of the cannabis products used that lead to an increased risk of developing this disease have not been determined.”

But they add that a review of more than 200 patients diagnosed with CHS “found that daily cannabis use was reported in 47.9% of patients and weekly use in 19.4%.

“Among adolescents and young adults, this is where there is growing concern about habitual use and its effects on physical and mental health,” Wang said, according to CNN.

Some Twitter users, however, strongly pushed back coverage, including media motives, reports Complex. “I literally never vomited while smoking. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen to others !! I just don’t understand how or why, ”one user tweeted.


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In light of the CHS becoming “an emerging clinical problem associated with cannabis use,” the authors of the new study recommend that healthcare clinicians in legal states be aware of the associated symptoms. The documentation can help ensure accurate public health monitoring of the consequences associated with legalization, they say, adding that “intense and prolonged vomiting has been associated with serious and fatal outcomes.”

Not understanding the symptom constellation of CHS “can hamper the ability of physicians to meet the needs of many patients requiring emergency services and make it difficult to accurately track the public health association between cannabis use and legalization. with a range of health measures, including cardiovascular health. , lung disease, injuries, substance abuse and behavioral health, ”argue the investigators.


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