Thursday, 14 May 2009


After some consideration I have decided to write about has been, and is the matter with my youngest son. As you will see this is not something I feel particular good about, but if we can help one other person not go through what he has had to endure ,and may well have to for another three weeks, then it's worth writing about.

He has not been given his diagnosis by the hospital, they are clueless about what has caused this endless vomiting. The gastroscopy was clear, as I knew it would be. The blood tests are all negative, as I knew they would be. It's been put down to an infection that has miraculously cleared itself, three times.... yeah right!

So what is the matter with him? Well it's called Cannabinoid hyperemesis, which means unstoppable vomiting after the long term and chronic use of cannabis.

I was put onto this syndrome by my friend who's just come back from Australia, where her friends had told her about it. And just by chance the first night A was in hospital I was due to go round for supper to hear all about her holiday. Instead she told me what she knew. This was followed by my eldest son and my sister looking it up on the computer.

The symptoms are muscle spasm, followed by reflux, followed by uncontrollable vomiting. Only eased by the taking of endless hot baths or showers to help relax the body. The sufferer does not respond to anti-emetics as away to stop the vomiting. All three times A has been ill, this is what he has done, up to 10/15 times a day. There are no other symptoms. There is no cure, except waiting for the cannabis to work it's way out of his body. And then never to take it again..... YES!!!!!!

The only reason to go to hospital is to rehydrate the body. Of course, the hospital as it doesn't know about this syndrome, did not connect what I was saying about A coming of the cannabis twice as having any relevance.

These 'attacks' come on for no food reason, he could eat curry or a milk pudding, he could keep either down of throw either up, it is all to do with his muscles spasming.

I obviously by now have read up all there is on the computer about this syndrome, and am therefore as informed as anyone can be about it. I have looked up cannabis sights, which discuss the vomiting associated with cannabis, and the general opinion from them is that it takes 30 days to get out of the system. But I also know that when I was married, my first husband worked in a profession that did random drug testing and he always said that it was six weeks to leave the body. This means that the 30 days are up next Tuesday or there is another further two weeks on top of that he could get another onslaught of this vomiting.

I am however taking action so that he does start hypervomiting again I can give him some stuff to relax him outside of the hot baths, which might mean that he'll be able to keep the fluids done long enough to stay hydrated, and therefore not need another bloody hospital admission.

This syndrome is as yet, apart from one article in the BMJ ( British medical journal) which sighted the work done in Australia, is not known about in the UK. It will in time of course become known I believe. As I think more and more people will present with this hyperememsis and some bright spark will start connecting the dots.I
think because the strength of cannabis is increasing, that more people when they try to come off the damned stuff will find their bodies going through this.

And make no mistake, chances are that if your child lives in the UK he or she will try cannabis, whatever they say to you. I have known for years that A. smoked it, but I also knew who amongst his friends also smoked it,as he told me! Their parents didn't and don't, and wouldn't believe that their little darlings would do such a thing.

Of course there could be people thinking that I'm just saying that cause of what has happened to my son and I'm trying to spread the blame. I don't think that is true, I just know that most of the people in the two high schools in this town have tried it. And I live in a sleepy little town which takes a while to catch up with the big city boys.

What I'd like to happen now is the word to be spread,it is a horrible way to learn that you can't smoke cannabis again, and such a serious and frightening lesson that any sufferer would be an absolute fool to try.

And fortunately my son is not that.

Ok I know the picture is a poppy, but I don't strangely have any pics of cannabis plants!!!


trousers said...

Excellent post, and hopefully all of the symptoms will settle down soon, if you're right about this. Which it sounds very much like you are.

It actually surprises me that such a thing isn't known more about in the UK - you'd think it would be really wouldn't you? Must be frustrating for the both of you when the doctors and nurses haven't a clue.

It actually makes me wonder about someone I know who has issues with his stomach from time to time.


Sorrow said...

oh my.
Never heard of it, but then, no surprise.
Would think that being this sick would be a big deterrent to the boy,
will keep my fingers crossed.
thanks for the info!

Dark Side said...

Well done for finding this out and yes as you say canabis is getting stronger and even more strange stuff is being mixed with it by the day.

I hope he finds the willpower to stay off it for good...(((hugs))) again just cause I felt like it...xx

Angela said...

Oh, you be sure that this is not an uncommon thing!! In fact , our neighbours` son had to go to a clinic because of drugs, and we surely also live in a sleepy neighbourhood (coma drinking is also a well-accepted pastime). I guess the boys will just have to learn the hard way that NOTHING they expose their bodies to is harmless stuff (apart from veggies and cottage cheese...).So hopefully now that you found out the reason, things will get better!! Hugs to you, Mandy. You are brave and GOOD for your son! If only all had such a mum!

nitebyrd said...

A truly informative and excellent post, Byrd.

My son tends to mix alcohol and pot. I've been 'round several times when he is extremely sick - vomiting, etc. I always thought it was the alcohol but you post has shed a different light on things.

No matter how hard we try to teach them about drugs, alcohol and other things, they tend to try it for themselves. Once they've become "adults" in the eyes of the law, we're pretty much left powerless other than the, "I told you so." It's a trial and sometimes a treat to be a parent.

My heart and thoughts are with you for the "awakening" of Alex.

lakeviewer said...

This helps a lot of people understand the effects of marijuna; and hopefully it helps your boy quit the habit.

We learn the hard way, don't we?

Merry ME said...

What you mean all this can happen from that innocent little drug? My son was quite experimental when he was a kid, but I believe his drug of choice was pot. I hope he's given it up, but not sure if he has.

Poor A, hopefully he's learned a valuable lesson and seen the consequences of his actions. Why is it some kids have to be hit over the head before they give in?

Thanks for this information.

Lola said...

I'm sorry you and your son had to learn about this the hard way. But your informative and passionately involved post will help others to understand the risks of cannabis. How generous of you, Mandy.

My little half sister 15 years younger than I tried smoking pot once at a teen party and after just 2 puffs kept fainting and nearly fell in a coma. She vomited all night despite the fact she was on an empty stomach.

I guess she had a mild form of what your son experienced. She was brave and strong, and the first person she called for help was our mother. She too learned the hard way.

In the maelstrom, you must be relieved somehow. At least now you've labled the issue and can begin to deal with it.

A warm, motherly embrace to you Mandy. You're a great parent, your son will be grateful for diagnosing him.


Trixie said...

Amazing I've never heard of it..a)being Australian b) used to be a daily pot smoker myself and know lots of daily smokers as well. But as you say, these drugs are changing, as Rae said, getting mixed with other stuff, which must strip you guts! The drug of choice in this town that is sending people loopy is mdna (I think that is it) a very powerfil ecstasy that is actually making kids violent. And yes, you know this is a lovely little town, but it's like an episode of shameless behind the prettiness!

Dark Side said...

Oooo you have reminded me, I only tried it once and it did make me sick hence not bothering with it again...xx

Helen said...

I raised three sons and a daughter - now in their 40's - who have used their fair share (at least three of them.) Never had this extreme reaction and I really hope your son is going to be OK. I'm pulling for him - and YOU!

Pam said...

Excellent post Mandy. All the best with

Ronjazz said...

I actually have some firsthand knowledge...wish I'd thought of it. I haven't known what or how to share here, and I know you understand in some way that you should bear no guilt here... you would tell a client the same thing, I'd wager. But as a mom, you feel totally responsible... another reaction that all parents can identify with.

I'm not a parent, however. I am an empathetic soul who sees someone in pain and wants to help. I don't know what I can do other than reaching out as I usually do in whatever way I can. So here you are. You want some emotional support from the other side of the wind, I'm blowing it all to you, FB. It's yours. Anytime.

justme said...

Well it must ba a relief to know what the problem is, and more importantly, what the solution is.
I too am surprised that the medics dont know more about this. Good thing we have the internets!!
Hope Alex is feeling better and that he has the willpower to stay off the stuff.
And well done you for all that research and finding the answer. xx

Mel said...

It depends on who you ask--but up to six weeks is what's considered 'the norm'.
The kiddo might be having another rough moment or two.

(((((( Mandy ))))))

I don't know of any 'habit' that comes without some pricetag attached, yaknow?

Even my coffee....*sigh*

*sending healing thoughts* Hang in there, mom.

anya said...

Boy, Mandy, this post is fascinating. Sometimes we have to figure out things for ourselves when the doctors haven't a clue. Thanks to the internet and the incredible wealth of info these days we can become aware of and very knowledgeable about just about anything.