By the time Thomas Hodorowski made the connection between his marijuana habit and the bouts of pain and vomiting that left him incapacitated every few weeks, he had been to the emergency room dozens of times, tried anti-nausea drugs, anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, endured an upper endoscopy procedure and two colonoscopies, seen a psychiatrist and had his appendix and gallbladder removed.
The only way to get relief for the nausea and pain was to take a hot shower.
He often stayed in the shower for hours at a time and could be in and out of the shower for days.
When the hot water ran out, “the pain was unbearable, like somebody was wringing my stomach out like a washcloth,” said the 28-year-old, who works as a production and shipping assistant and lives outside Chicago.
It was nearly 10 years until a doctor finally convinced him the diagnosis was cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, a condition that causes cyclic vomiting in heavy marijuana users and can be cured by quitting marijuana.
Until recently the syndrome was thought to be uncommon or even rare. But as marijuana use has increased, emergency room physicians say they have been seeing a steady flow of patients…