Vomiting from frequent heavy marijuana smoking can evidently be remedied by taking a hot shower.
The condition experienced by habitual smokers is called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, and its symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain and severe nausea. It’s now being more widely recognized by doctors across the U.S. since it was first reported on in 2004, according to the New York Times, but the shower solution is new.
A recent study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information of users in New York who light up at least 20 times per month found that about 33% of them felt these stomach-churning side effects that were alleviated by standing under a steamy stream of water. The researchers said that if their results from one state are representative of the entire country, then an estimated 2.7 million Americans could currently be suffering from this syndrome.
The study’s authors don’t yet know why these symptoms occur in only some smokers or why hot showers seem to cure them, but other doctors are speculating that there’s a connection between high concentrations of THC — tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound that induces a “high” — and the body’s pain system.
“Something in the pain system is disturbed by having THC around all the time,” University of Colorado toxicologist Kennon Heard, who has studied cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, told Live Science.
And taking a hot shower distracts from this disturbance because, “Your body can only process so many signals at once,” Heard said. “(The condition is) something we see in our ER several times a week, if not on a daily basis.”
Anyone experiencing these symptoms shouldn’t be too alarmed — the study says that it’s not life-threatening, although it “certainly is disabling,” according to Heard, and previous research backs him up. A study from 2010 noted that cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome patients sometimes had to go to the emergency room up to seven times with frequent, severe symptoms that went undiagnosed.
There’s hope for CHS sufferers, however. Heard conducted his own 2017 study that found 97% of his patients experiencing these debilitating symptoms were cured with one quick fix — cutting cannabis.