Look out your window.
See that vast expanse of country and civilization? All around it, in every nook and cranny, a bunch of people are puking right now.
They've been stricken with a mysterious vomiting illness — one that's accompanied by severe abdominal pain — and they're clamoring for the nearest emergency rooms for treatment, the Huffington Post reports.
Legal weed. Apparently, this is all part of some sort of strange marijuana-related plague that's popping up all around the country with increasing frequency, and it seems to be particularly virulent in states where medical and recreational pot is A-OK.
Initially, doctors were stumped as to what it could be, but eventually, the puking patients were collectively diagnosed with something called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, a condition which has been linked to heavy, long-term weed use.
Even stranger, the nausea and vomiting of CHS seems to be relieved in the presence of hot water — when patients take a shower or bathe, their symptoms abate, a unique feature that's being used by doctors when it comes to diagnosing their patients.
… Clickhole article, much?
Not even. Shit is real.
According to a study co-authored by Dr. Kennon Heard, a physician at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, emergency room diagnoses for CHS have doubled in Colorado since the federal government relaxed its stance on legal weed in 2009. Now that recreational weed is legal in the state, he says hospitals are seeing it even more often than they already were.
"We are seeing it quite frequently,” he told CBS News. “My colleagues are seeing this on a daily to weekly basis.”
Meanwhile, emergency rooms in other places where weed is now legal — such as Washington D.C. and Washington state — have also reported increasing rates of CHS.
Thing is, no one's really sure what CHS is or how it works. Though it's been documented in medical literature for nearly a decade, the underlying association between pot and puke is unknown.
“The science behind it is not clear,” Heard told the Denver Channel. “The most likely cause is that people using marijuana frequently and in high doses have changes in the receptors in their body, and those receptors become disregulated in some way, and it starts causing pain.”
Dr. David Steinbruner, an emergency room physician at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, believes CHS is similar to alcohol poisoning, where a small amount of alcohol is fine, but a large amount of it will make your gut explode with the ferocity of an angry Yellowstone supervolcano. Thing is, since weed stays in your system for much longer than booze does, it can build up for a while before it reaches a level that could cause CHS.
However, the main difference between CHS and alcohol poisoning is that CHS only strikes certain people … unpredictably. Not everyone who smokes a shit load of weed will get it, and experts aren't sure what differentiates the people that do from the people that don't. Alcohol poisoning, on the other hand, is ubiquitous. No matter who you are, if you drink too much, you will vomit. What "too much" is varies, but there's not a soul on this cold, dead planet that's immune to the occasional melon vodka vomit.
Severe CHS can lead to kidney failure if it isn't treated, but symptoms usually stop entirely within days once a patient stops using weed.
“Patients are given IV fluids and medication to resolve the vomiting and help with the pain,” explained Heard. “But the treatment is really to stop using marijuana, or at least to cut back severely, and that’s really the only way to make it better.”
Well then! Not really the best news, especially with a relatively weed-unfriendly administration about to take office. But, you know what they say … everything in moderation, right? There's no reason you shouldn't be safe from CHS if you limit your daily joint intake to 300 instead of whatever multiple of that you've been smoking enough to puke your way into the nearest ER.