As the business of selling marijuana has grown from your neighborhood dealer to medical dispensaries and stores licensed to sell weed for recreational uses, emergency rooms have started seeing an increase in patients presenting with cannabis hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). Symptoms include dehydration, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. An article just published by JAMA Network reveals a connection between the commercialization of the marijuana industry and a 13-fold increase in CHS-related visits to the emergency room at a hospital in Ontario, Canada. The authors specified that “legalization was not associated with increased CHS visits, but market commercialization, which overlapped with the COVID-19 pandemic, was.” The cross-sectional study compared visits by 8,140 patients for CHS over three time periods: prelegalization (January 2014 through September 2018); legalization, with product and retail store restrictions (October 2018 through February 2020); and commercialization, with new products and expanded stores (which coincided with the pandemic, March 2020 through June 2021). CHS isn’t the only likely ED or urgent care presentation related to cannabis use, of course. JUCM published one such case recently. You can read A 20-Year-Old Female with Chest Pain and SOB in our archive right now.
Be Prepared: As Legal Access to Marijuana Grows, so Do Related Patient Visits