PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU) – A man says his medical marijuana made him violently ill, and Portland-area doctors say they’ve seen more cases of the illness since recreational pot became legal in Oregon.
Matthew Johnson says he suffers from anxiety, PTSD and has chronic pain from a car accident.
He says it helped him for many years, until he recently started seeing flu-like symptoms.
“I wasn’t hungry anymore. I was shaky. I was cold. I was hot … all these things. I’m wondering ‘what’s going on?’” Johnson said. “I’m not thinking ever that it’s the medical marijuana because that’s my medication.”
He ended up going to the hospital, and doctors told him he has Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) – a rare form of toxicity that comes from chronic cannabis use.
“It’s a syndrome of nausea, vomiting and dehydration that comes often with chronic cannabis use,” Medical Toxicology Fellow Dr. Peter Akpunonu
CHS occurs in people who use marijuana excessively.
“Classically people have three years of use or so, but there are cases of people under three years getting it,” Dr. Akpunonu said.
The only cure is to stop using marijuana altogether.
“Once you finally get them to abstain from use they will feel better after a few weeks or months,” Dr. Akpunonu said.
Doctors say CHS is more common since recreational marijuana use was legalized in Oregon. They say it could be because patients are now willing to admit how often they use marijuana.