Cannabis, nausea and your bowels: Always eat with your morning bowl

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Have you heard of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

Allen and colleagues bequeathed this bizarre, dare I say questionable “condition” with its formal title in 2004. It’s considered a relatively new phenomenon since the advent of medical cannabis and the greening of our nation.

Of course, it is…

DONG! It’s 4:20 a.m. Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, in South Korea (where I have many readers on WordPress! Thank you)

And this…is…Your Morning Bowl. #MedicalCannabis #MentalWellness #SoberLiving

Not to be confused with your morning bowel. Movement. Which is what we’re discussing today, among other things.

I’m Dave Heitz.

About a month or so back a sad young woman posted in my Illinois Medical Cannabis Facebook group that her doctor vehemently disavowed her request for a medical marijuana card. Her doctor told her that her intense puking is the result of her illicit marijuana use already, and that marijuana causes many people to violently puke and become ill.

The group gave a collective eye roll and then some.

I mean, if there is one thing cannabis has been known for through the ages and seldom questioned about, it is its anti-nausea qualities. Even the FDA itself approved a synthetic cannabinoid called Marinol for the treatment of nausea, after all.

Then, just a few days back, a very likable fellow posted about dabbing and heartburn. He wondered had anyone else had that problem, and I raised my hand and said I did, dabbing gave me heartburn, and that was one of many reasons I have not really gotten into it.

This smart fellow, and I do say smart, because as simple as it is to find medical research on Google Scholar, many people don’t use that resource. At any rate, he posted this scientific paper on Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome.

I’ll quote:

“Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is characterized by chronic cannabis use, cyclic episodes of nausea and vomiting, and frequent hot bathing,” the researchers declare. “Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome occurs by an unknown mechanism.”

Yesssssss dearrrrrrrr.

I’ll state up front that a research paper can be made about anything. I could write a very believable research paper right now on just about any topic someone threw at me.

I’m sorry, but it’s true!

And that is how I approach the medical research I read, too, which is why I like to think I am good at what I do.

However…there have been times that I myself have almost thrown up while smoking too much cannabis. So, I want to come clean about that and address what I believe to be going on here. Reason being, this is not some chronic condition, if you ask me.

Three easy tips for staying regular with cannabis

It’s about stupidity on behalf of the avid pot smoker and can be prevented if you take some simple steps.

  1. The munchies thing isn’t true for everyone. Indeed, for many of us, cannabis can have an opposite effect, and we don’t eat. (Raising my hand) Always eat a little something, a healthy something, every few hours, even if you don’t feel hungry. Apple, string cheese, Greek Yogurt, nuts…whatever your pleasure.

If you have not eaten since the apple you had when you got up at 4 a.m., and at 1 p.m. you think you are going to vomit while riding the city bus on a sunny day, then you need a Power Bar, brother. If you don’t eat, you’re going to become nauseated and may even throw up. It likely will be dry heaves, of course!

  1. If you don’t eat right, your bowels will get backed up. Take it from me. I used to have the other problem, but now I’m eyeing the stool softener still in the hall closet from when my dad was alive. When your bowels are backed up, that can cause nausea.
  2. Drink plenty of water. Cannabis can dry you out. That’s going to back your bowels up.

Paper rings true in terms of my theories

I’ll get to the part about “hot bathing” in a minute. Clearly this scholar never has been stoned or he would know that showering and bathing, while always pleasurable to the modern-day human being, is particularly nice when smoking weed.

The scientists, of course, have elaborate explanations for why people who smoke lots of weed may be having gastrointestinal distress, whereas most people (who I believe eat regularly and hydrate properly) do not.

“Delayed gastric emptying appears to be particularly resistant to the development of tolerance,” the authors declare. “Additionally, intermittent administration of THC results in hypersensitization of the delayed gastric emptying effect. THC’s effect on gastric motility (love it!) is a paradox, as a delay in gastric emptying would be expected to promote nausea and vomiting. However, nausea and vomiting do not occur with cannabis use, likely due to the anti-emetic properties of THC on the central nervous system.”

Authors note second bizarre vomiting ‘condition’

Or, you can stay hydrated, eat regularly and keep fiber in your diet, exercise, and see if that helps your bowel problems before blaming it on the weed.

The authors also distinguish between CHS and cyclic vomiting syndrome, or CVS. The latter may be more to the point of what the young woman I referenced in the beginning of this piece was demonstrating.

“Confusion exists in the medical literature secondary to a failure to recognize chronic marijuana use as a source of vomiting,” they write. “Although both conditions share an astonishing similarity, there are several significant differences….CVS patients usually have important psychological comorbidities including depression and anxiety…high prevalence of migraine headaches…gastric emptying rates in patients with CVS are often accelerated rather than delayed.”

I wonder how often the vomiting is occurring in those with “CVS” because patients have begun to use cannabis instead of their psychotropic medications and are going through withdrawals. A factor worth considering, particularly if any of this literature is based on self-reports.

I’m sure the academics are giggling at that, just as I’m giggling at many parts of this paper. I am not offended!

Researchers pity those seeking relief with hot showers

Finally, as for a propensity for hot showers when seeking relief from gastrointestinal distress, as for linking that directly with a marijuana disorder…oh my.

To quote bits and pieces:

“The most effective treatment during the hyperemetic phase of CHS is the use of hot showers by patients. The effects of this learned behavior are temperature-dependent, fast acting, but short lived. Hot showers improve symptoms of nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, and decreased appetite…”

I’m not going to go any further. You can read this research for yourself if you like. It’s published in the journal Current Drug Abuse Review (there’s your audience, for you) by a gastroenterologist (gut doctor) at Temple.

Grab an apple and prepare for my conclusion

The same people peddling deadly opioids and killer benzodiazepines are the same ones still playing Chicken Little about a weed. It’s nonsense. Should I throw in some “Now looks” and “at the end of the days” and go on Fox News and spout off about it? I could toss in a “narrative” here and there, too.

No, I won’t. I’ll just ask everyone that today, please have an apple, an orange, or…heck! Go ahead and have that piece of Village Inn coconut cream pie!

Drink plenty of water, Mio drops makes it tastier. You must put something in to push something out, and of course water helps with the process, too. We know this.

So, take care of yourself! Because if you present with these symptoms, you may get…a diagnosis! A diagnosis that will blame your cannabis card. And then your healthcare provider might seize it!

So, promise me one thing. Just be sure to eat a little something…with…

Your Morning Bowl.

Until next time.

2 thoughts on “Cannabis, nausea and your bowels: Always eat with your morning bowl

    1. Laura that is interesting! I’m sad to hear it, too. That sounds like a different condition entirely though than what this research is about. I have found that CBD oil sometimes numbs my tongue so much it feels like I can barely talk. It sure does handle the PTSD well, though. Thank you very much for taking the time to comment! Everyone must be careful with cannabis, it is medicine.


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