Marijuana use associated with cyclic vomiting syndrome in young males

Researchers have found clear associations between marijuana use in young males and cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS), where patients experience episodes of vomiting separated by symptom free intervals.

The study, published in the January issue of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, looked at 226 patients seen at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York, USA, over a 13-year period.

These were broken into three groups. Eighty-two patients with CVS were randomly matched with 82 patients with (IBS) based on age, gender and geographic referral region. Researchers also examined the records of 62 patients with functional vomiting (FV), recurrent vomiting that cannot be attributed to a specific physical or psychiatric cause.

"Our study showed that CVS and FV had very similar clinical features, apart from marijuana use" says Dr G Richard Locke III from the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Clinic.

Key findings of the study included:

  • Members of the CVS group were younger than members of the FV group (30 versus 36 years) and more likely to be male (53% versus 46%).
  • No statistically significant association was detected between membership of the CVS and FV groups and , , , , alcohol use or smoking history.
  • 37% of the CVS group had used marijuana (81% male), together with 13% of the FV group (equally split between male and female) and 11% of the IBS group (73% male).
  • Marijuana users were 2.9 times more likely to be in the CVS group than the FV group. When this was adjusted for age and gender, males using marijuana were 3.9 times more likely to be in the CVS group and women using marijuana were 1.2 times more likely.
The research team also looked at gastrointestinal symptoms and migraine as these have previously been associated with CVS. They found that
  • The prevalence of , including and nausea, was similar in CVS and FV patients, with the exception of retching, which was more common in patients with CVS (69% versus 31%).
  • Patients in the CVS group were more likely to have headaches and migraines than patients in the FV group, but the difference was not statistically significant. headache and psychiatric disorders did not appear to commonly co-exist in CVS patients, unlike in the IBS group.
  • The researchers also measured rapid gastric emptying, which is when undigested food enters the small bowel too quickly causing nausea, vomiting and other symptoms. This showed that there were much higher rates of fast gastric emptying in patients in the CVS and FV group (45% and 46% respectively), compared with the IBS group (8%). A novel finding was that the patterns of fast, normal and delayed gastric emptying were similar in the CVS and FV groups.
"Our study confirms that cyclic vomiting syndrome occurs most often in young males and is significantly associated with marijuana use, unlike functional " says Dr Locke. "The current treatment options for this condition remain challenging and are limited by the lack of randomised controlled trials. Further research is clearly needed."

More information: Cyclic vomiting syndrome and functional vomiting in adults: association with cannabinoid use in males. Choung et al. Neurogastroenterology and Motility. 24.1, pp20-27. (January 2012). doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2011.01791.x

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Allergic disease linked to irritable bowel syndrome

Jan 30, 2008

Adults with allergy symptoms report a high incidence of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), suggesting a link between atopic disorders and IBS according to a study published this month in Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, ...

Recommended for you

Electronic health records tied to shorter time in ER

23 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Length of emergency room stay for trauma patients is shorter with the use of electronic health records, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

CDC: Almost everyone needs a flu shot

Sep 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—Less than half of all Americans got a flu shot last year, so U.S. health officials on Thursday urged that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated for the coming flu season. "It's really unfortunate ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jway
3.8 / 5 (4) Jan 09, 2012
Since it's well known that cannabis effectively relieves nausea, it's highly likely that the patients were consuming cannabis *because* of their CVS rather than their CVS was *caused* by their cannabis use. If a cannabis consumer felt that their use was causing something as unpleasant as CVS then I'm sure that they would have simply quit. Did the researchers ever ask themselves *why* the patients didn't stop consuming cannabis when it was "obviously" having such an unpleasant effect on them?
FrankHerbert
3.8 / 5 (10) Jan 09, 2012
jway makes a good point, but it's also possible that this is some sort of withdrawal symptom (I know no one wants to hear that). There is at least some face validity to the idea that if you are frequently consuming an anti-emetic you may become nauseous upon stopping or not consuming the amounts your body is used to.

I personally have experienced this. Let the jokes begin...
Irving13
3 / 5 (2) Jan 09, 2012
There seems to be a bias in the implied relationship between smoking marijuana and vomiting here as if smoking somehow caused vomiting...when in fact if smoking suppressed vomiting the use of the marijuana would then be medicinal and explain the higher usage in the group. --as per jway above --'Withdrawal symptom' is complete nonsense...very little evidence of withdrawal symptoms from pot and that suggestion presumes a physical addiction to it which has little merit. Try it before you talk about it how about that? Why are you consuming the anti-emetic in the first place Frank Herbert? Seems you are confusing cause and effect pretty badly here.
Eric_B
5 / 5 (2) Jan 09, 2012
they failed to factor in the simultaneous consumption of massive amounts of pizza, coke and chocolate chip cookies.
fmfbrestel
3 / 5 (2) Jan 09, 2012
Frank has a solid point about the withdrawal possibility. There have been very good studies done with acid reflux and heart burn where the medicated users report much worse symptoms upon ending treatment than they reported before beginning treatment.

This is a basic problem with a great many medications, not just cannabis or pepcid. A bodily imbalance (of acid, or otherwise) is a symptom of some other problem. So correcting the imbalance does not solve the problem, but rather only treats the symptom. During treatment your body attempts to regain the previous balance and the treatment will eventually not work as well, and the dose will need to be increased to have the same effect. Upon removing the treatment, the symptoms will be much worse than before because the underlying cause has not been dealt with what so ever.

You can only mask a symptom for so long.

That said, I totally agree that the cannabis is not the cause here, it is just a failing self-medication.
Isaacsname
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 10, 2012
Pinning this on pot is pure drivel.

Functional vomiting ...IBS...CVS....

Crap food high stress very little water consumption eating before bedtime alcohol smoking coffee etc.

That's why people wake up with a mouthful of vomit in the middle of the night.

True, smoking dope will make you want to eat, but aside from that, this article is the finest bullshit money can buy.
Isaacsname
1 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2012
The main flaw here is that they did not investigate various consumption methods, ( I admit I didn't buy the paper, but I also didn't see mention of this fact in the article )

Vaporizing cannabinoids is completely different than smoking dope.

Did they factor in all the products produced under combustion ( The classic method of smoking ) Vs cannabis consumed with a " vaporizer " .

How about all that tar that comes out of your sinuses and lungs, that ends up in your stomach, after you use the traditional method to smoke something, ie;fire ?

Or consumed ?

Biased science leads to ignorance
yyz
not rated yet Jan 10, 2012
@Isaacsname

"I admit I didn't buy the paper, but I also didn't see mention of this fact in the article"

While the mode of ingestion is not specified (only that cannabis use was self-reported), the full paper is available online(gratis): http://onlinelibr...91.x/pdf

While I agree with most other posters here that for *most*, cannabis consumption(even chronic use), would lead to antiemetic effects, the paper relates that the connection between cannabis and CVS comes from an earlier Australian study of 9 CVS patients and notes:

"In all cases, chronic cannabinoid abuse, predated the onset of the cyclical vomiting illness, and cessation of cannabis abuse led to the cessation of [CVS] in seven of nine CVS patients."

It would appear from the initial study that cannabis was not initially used to treat symptoms of CVS, as some have suggested. That said, perhaps a small minority of users experience unpleasant, paradoxical side effects from use.
Isaacsname
1 / 5 (1) Jan 11, 2012
Thanks for the link!

There are too many things they ignored for this to have merit, again, imo.

1. The duration that smoke from fully combusted plant material is held in the lungs. ~ Contrary to popular belief, this is not how to get " higher ", it only deposits more tars,etc in the lungs. There's only so many sites that THC can enter the bloodstream from in the lungs, the rest is exhaled with the remaining smoke.

Many pot smokers hold in the smoke as long as possible, if you take a toke however, and blow through a napkin, it will leave just as much gunk as a drag off a cigarette.

Then there's the issue of the products used, none of which were tested( except by the users at home, repeatedly ) for accumulated fertilizer salts, mold and fungal spores, etc.

Etc, etc, It's high-falootin' science alright, but I would wager $$$ if they tested users who vaporize, they'd likely find very few with the same problems. Just my 2
Infinite Fractal Consciousness
1 / 5 (1) Jan 13, 2012
Correlation does not mean causation. Otherwise, I'd claim that Hospital Intensive Care Units should be considered very dangerous places. Statistically speaking, a lot more people die in there than anywhere else in a 5 mile radius.
garfield
1 / 5 (1) Jan 15, 2012
who funded this garbage