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News

Chronic cannabis abuse responsible for cyclical vomiting

Chronic cannabis abuse was the cause of the cyclical vomiting illness in South Australia, where cessation of abuse led to cessation of illness, reports November's issue of Gut.

News image

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Researchers in South Australia, headed by Dr J Allen undertook a study to explore the association between chronic cannabis abuse and a cyclical vomiting illness that presented in a series of cases in South Australia.

The researchers identified 19 patients with chronic cannabis abuse and a cyclical vomiting illness.

For legal and ethical reasons, the researchers supervised counselling for all patients to cease all cannabis abuse.

The researchers followed up all cases with serial urine drug screen analysis and regular clinical consultation to chart the clinical course.

Of the 19 patients, 5 refused consent and were lost to follow up and the researchers excluded 5 on the basis of confounders.

9 of the 10 patients displayed an abnormal washing behaviour during episodes of active illness.
Gut

The researchers were therefore able to present the remaining 9 cases and also to compare them with a published case of psychogenic vomiting.

In all cases, including the published case, chronic cannabis abuse predated the onset of the cyclical vomiting illness.

The researchers found that cessation of cannabis abuse led to cessation of the cyclical vomiting illness in 7 cases.

3 cases, including the published case, did not abstain and continued to have recurrent episodes of vomiting.

3 cases rechallenged themselves after a period of abstinence and suffered a return to illness. 2 of these cases abstained again, and became and remain well.

The researchers noted that the third case did not abstain and they remain ill.

The group recorded a novel finding; that 9 of the 10 patients, including the previously published case, displayed an abnormal washing behaviour during episodes of active illness.

Dr Allen concluded, "Chronic cannabis abuse was the cause of the cyclical vomiting illness in all cases, including the previously described case of psychogenic vomiting."

Gut ; 2004;53:1566-1570
18 October 2004

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