Why Long-term Marijuana Use Can Cause Violent Nausea and Stomach Pain

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Marijuana can help battle depression, anxiety, and addiction. But if pot’s your daily go-to, it could also have some less-than-stellar side effects. Some heavy weed smokers (20 days out of the month) may experience debilitating stomach pain, severe nausea, and vomiting—a condition called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome—according to research published in Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology. It’s something about 2.75 million Americans suffer from annually, researchers say.

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When you smoke regularly, weed can make your stomach hurt. It can also cause minor changes in your brain and nervous system, Live Science reports. Specific cannabinoids in the body, similar to those found in marijuana, can be thrown off by the constant presence of THC, altering your body’s pain system. Some doctors believe CHS, which usually takes years to appear in patients, is somewhat similar to developing a food allergy, The New York Times reports.

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The average patient suffering from CHS will go to the emergency room seven times and receive a misdiagnosis three times before they’re properly diagnosed, per research published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences.

Some people have found that hot showers can temporarily help squelch symptoms. But if you’re experiencing disabling stomach pain and nausea, seek immediate medical attention (and yes, you should consider quitting smoking). While marijuana is often touted for its ability to manage nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients, it can also be the source of your symptoms.

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