High potency weed leads to surges in psychotic behavior and vomiting among young users


Hospitals in Boulder, Colorado are reporting a huge increase in cases of young users suffering from a combination of symptoms after using weed. The symptoms include psychotic episodes of screaming and nonstop vomiting. Doctors say that these young patients are stretching limited resources as a battery of tests are carried out to rule out underlying causes of vomiting and not just the consumption of pot.


Medical professionals have named this new condition where young users suffer from psychotic episodes and continuous vomiting as “cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.” Health care workers refer to it as “scromiting” a combination of the words screaming and vomiting.


Dr. Brad Roberts, an emergency room (ER) physician at Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo scrutinized data and reported that the number of cases of this syndrome had increased to over 120 in 2018 though there were only five cases in 2009. Marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington in 2012.


Although the reason why some marijuana users are affected by scromiting while others are not  known experts believe that a higher level of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis has increased up to 90 percent in Colorado unlike its lower two to three percent about two decades ago. Those who use cannabis daily are also more likely to get affected by the syndrome. The symptoms disappear when a user stops using marijuana.


New legislation requires that users under the age of 21 have to visit two doctors in person to obtain a legal marijuana card. There is also a restriction in the amount of marijuana that can bought at medical dispensaries. A mandatory tracking system of purchases has also been put in place. This will curtail the earlier practice where users would go from shop to shop and build up stockpiles of weed.


The Cannabis industry in Colorado has welcomed the legislation and Truman Bradley, the executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group (MIG) said that young people should not use cannabis unless they are supervised by a medical professional. He also said that the potency should not matter, and that eliminating certain products would lead to a black market in those products.

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