To make up for that click-bait title, I’ll give you the answer to that question now.
No. No, it doesn’t.
But my research did intrigue me. If you haven’t seen the Business Insider article about Mrs. X, I’d suggest you take a read. But because I’m so nice, I’ll give you the first paragraph of it.
“When she became so uncontrollably sick that she resorted to scalding her skin in a hot bath for the third time in a row, Mrs. X began to wonder whether it had something to do with smoking marijuana.Erin Brodwin
If you’re anything like me, you read that and needed to take a…Shit, this article was posted a month ago! You read that and needed to take a month break from the silliness. I’m totally kidding. I read the entire thing immediately, but I did pause there.
A link with mental illness
In May 2011, the University of Iowa genotyped 235 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Of those 235 individuals, 14% were users and 8% matched the criteria for dependency. That, in itself, isn’t too significant. What is of note, however, is that heavy marijuana use in schizophrenic patients causes the white matter in their brains to decrease in volume, causing neurological impairment. But the major find of the study was that heavy cannabis use during a certain phase of life can increase the susceptibility of schizophrenia.
If cannabis can trigger early schizophrenia, what else can it do?
DON’T Panic! at the Disco
In 2012, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety, major depression and OCD. I suffered from panic attacks and excessive intrusive thoughts. In 2014, I got my first medical marijuana card. And while Indicas (the “downer” strain) take care of my insomnia and migraines, certain Sativas (the “upper” strain) trigger panic attacks.
If you aren’t familiar with panic attacks, they can certainly scare the hell out of you. Your heart starts to race. Sweat pours off you. Your chest tightens. You can’t breathe. Your vision may tunnel. I tend to get nauseated and hyperventilate. Some people get violently ill.
The first time I tried weed (at an embarrassingly late age, I might add), I smoked way too much and triggered a panic attack. I had to be talked down for an hour because I thought I was having a heart attack. I actually thought about going to the hospital for an overdose. On THC…
OCD or BFD?
One more thing I forgot to mention. Remember the quote at the top from the article? Mrs. X happened to be one of ten patients with the same symptoms. In 2004, four doctors got together and studied these effects.
Nine of the ten patients experienced excessive bathing issues. They’d scald themselves in the shower, trying to soothe their nausea. The research suggested this was in no way related to mental illness, but a learned compulsion instead.
A Conspiracy Theory
So, what if nine of these patients smoked a heavy Sativa strain and triggered some bad, previously undiagnosed, panic attacks? It’s an established fact that water soothes the energy from the attack. Possibly because it lowers the blood pressure. The hotter, the better, apparently. Wish I’d have known that in 2014. So, the excessive bathing makes sense in this case as well.
This, coupled with my embarrassing story of thinking of calling an ambulance, is enough of a reason not to strictly blame THC/Cannabis/Marijuana for a “mysterious illness.”
Allen, J.H., de Moore, G.M., Heddle, R., Twartz, J.C. (April 13, 2004). Cannabinoid hyperemesis: cyclical hyperemesis in association with chronic cannabis abuse. Retrieved from https://gut.bmj.com/content/gutjnl/53/11/1566.full.pdf
Aman, J.L. (May 2, 2012). Ten Tools That Help Relieve Panic Attacks. Retrieved from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2012/05/ten-things-to-do-for-a-panic-attack
Brodwin, E. (March 25, 2019). A mysterious syndrome that makes marijuana users violently ill is starting to worry doctors. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/marijuana-syndrome-vomiting-nausea-chs-colorado-er-visits-2019-3
Ho, B.C., Wassink, T.H., Ziebell, S., Andreasen, N.C. (February 18, 2011). Cannabinoid receptor 1 gene polymorphisms and marijuana misuse interactions on white matter and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0920996411001423
Medline Plus. (n.d.). Obsessive-Compulsive disorder. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000929.htm
Taylor, S. (February 18, 2018). The Uncommon Panic Attack Symptom We Don’t Talk About. Retrieved from https://themighty.com/2018/02/panic-attack-throwing-up-vomit/