Marijuana, a commonly abused drug among high school and college students, is linked to a severe form of vomiting syndrome and compulsive bathing behavior. This form of severe vomiting sickness is increasingly recognized with widespread abuse of marijuana. The syndrome usually subsides with strict abstinence from marijuana abuse.
This obscure clinical manifestation of severe vomiting sickness due to chronic abuse of marijuana was recognized by Dr. Sontineni and his colleagues at the Creighton University of Omaha, NE.
Recent research into the neurobiology of cannabis has led to the identification of different receptor types including two specific types that mediate neuropsychiatric and immunologic effects.
According to Dr. Sontineni, doctors and health care workers currently under recognize the syndrome leading to delayed diagnosis and expensive diagnostic investigations. Increasing consistent use of marijuana among United States populations, particularly young people, over several years will see a steady rise in the number of cases diagnosed each year.
The syndrome was first recognized in Australia around the Adelaide hills. The exact mechanism leading to generation of these symptoms, why it appears only after several years of marijuana abuse and why compulsive hot showering behavior relieves the symptoms is still under scientific investigation.
The recognition of this novel syndrome and increasing physician awareness is supported by the Department of Medicine at Creighton University Medical Center. Similarly, scientists and doctors at other institutions worldwide are beginning to identify more cases with this new syndrome as a result of chronic marijuana abuse among populations.
- Sontineni et al. Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome: Clinical diagnosis of an underrecognised manifestation of chronic cannabis abuse. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 2009; 15 (10): 1264 DOI: 10.3748/wjg.15.1264
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