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culture | 01.01.2022

Outrage Over Potential “Fake” News Story About Cannabis

The new CBS article featured Lance Crowder’s cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome diagnosis, and both readers and experts are highly critical of the report.

You may have noticed an outrageous cannabis headline on your news feeds lately. It’s a resurgence of a theory, linking cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) and chronic cannabis use. The new CBS article featured Lance Crowder’s diagnosis, and both readers and experts are highly critical of the report.

Lance Crowder: Fake news?

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CHS, or cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, is a relatively new diagnosis for cannabis users suffering from cyclic episodes of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

The term was coined in 2004, by Australian researchers who reported heavy cannabis use as a common factor among ten patients with cyclic vomiting symptoms.

The CBS story from features one Indiana man, Lance Crowder, who said he was suffering abdominal pains and vomiting for more than two years. The article reports Crowder’s symptoms stopped when he stopped his cannabis use.

Problem is, there’s no proof that cannabis is directly to blame and readers are crying foul on this CBS article – even accusing it of being a fake news story. Here are the facts we know.

Azadirachtin insecticide

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Many people call it fake news story, even suggesting the patient symptoms are results of Azadirachtin poisoning. Here are only a few of the scathing reader comments:

I’m ashamed that CBS would even pit this oit in news for Big Pharma!!

This was a shoddy, half a**ed attempt to drag reefer madness out of the closet.

Sorry… Maybe an allergy in a very small number of people or something added to weed. I know too many lifelong users with no adverse physical effects. This is pure Big Pharma and the coming Jeff Sessions war on weed. Pure Propaganda.

Azadirachtin is an insecticide farmers have been using since 2004, which is also the year that CHS first appeared in the medical professionals vernacular.

The compound is FDA approved for use on fruits and ornamental trees.

Azadirachtin, also known as Neem, could be unsafe, according to WebMD. If taken in large doses or for long periods of time, it might harm the kidneys and liver. The CBS article identifies an issue with the same organ, but never mentions the insecticide.

CHS can lead to dehydration and kidney failure. – CBS reported

No studies have been published on the correlation between the symptoms of the syndrome and the pesticide.

We do know that the symptoms of CHS are at odds with hundreds of thousands of other patients who report the plants’ antiemetic effects.

We asked the experts

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Mary Pat Hoffman is a pharmacist and new preliminary dispensary licensee of Maryland’s medical marijuana program. She said it seems to happen in chronic users, but none of the literature is conclusive.

Since the endocannabinoid system is involved in  homeostasis, it seems to be an issue with receptor regulation and the body just gets out of whack.

Mark Malone, Executive Director, Cannabis Business Alliance takes umbrage with the sensationalized headlines and assumptions.

This clearly shows that the story is reaching when trying to link cannabis use to this alleged disease. – Malone in a statement to Herb.

Inconclusive reports

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Malone hasn’t even heard of this being an issue among Colorado’s cannabis industry. He points to the report’s inconclusive results for his skepticism.

The study it relies upon concludes that “[t]he prevalence of cyclic vomiting presentations nearly doubled after the liberalization of medical marijuana. Patients presenting with cyclic vomiting in the post liberalization period were more likely to endorse marijuana use, although it is unclear whether this was secondary to increased marijuana use, more accurate marijuana reporting or both”.

Real numbers are not presented, and the fact that the study relies on the fact that patients “were more likely to endorse marijuana use” proves nothing. – Malone

Hoffman agrees there’s insufficient case studies to justify a headline health scare such as “Mysterious illness tied to marijuana use on the rise in states with legal weed”.

I think it has been misportrayed by the media and sensationalized a bit. Imagine the articles that could be written about the side effects, and ER visits from prescription drugs. – Hoffman

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