Doctors address illness linked to chronic marijuana use

Published: Thursday, September 28, 2017 @ 1:24 PM

What You Need to Know: Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

Doctors around the Pacific Northwest are identifying a mysterious illness baffling patients and even other medical professionals.

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“The pain is so intense, I can’t make it go away,” Jigna Howland said. “I can’t make the vomiting stop.”

The sickness is called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, known as CHS, and it’s linked to chronic marijuana use. It’s so new that there are no hard numbers on how many people are affected across the country. Doctors believe using large amounts of marijuana frequently triggers a painful vomiting syndrome -- but only in certain people.

“Who has this condition, what brings it on and how can we help them?” Dr. Sean Bozorgzadeh said.

One of his patients was Jigna Howland, who, over the past few years, started battling what seemed like a strange, unexplained illness.

“You are literally just retching and retching, and it’s painful,” she said.

Howland has smoked pot for decades and uses it daily, in part to combat high blood pressure and anxiety. She’s also worked at Cannazone cannabis store in Mount Vernon, Washington, since it opened earlier this year. But she could not figure out what suddenly started causing the sickness.

“I had no idea what was going on, other than I was getting sick once a year -- and it was a pretty heavy illness,” she said.

She received medical treatment five times. Doctors told her tests were inconclusive.

Then, four months ago, doctors at Peace Health United General in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, suggested pot might be at the root of it.

“So you did not know it was marijuana-related?” KIRO-TV reporter Linzi Sheldon asked.

“No,” she said. “Of course, I would smoke more marijuana to alleviate the nausea -- which was actually making it worse!”

CHS symptoms include nausea, intense cramping and vomiting, which can lead to severe dehydration.

People who have it say hot showers and baths are the only things that ease the pain. 

“I would just stand in the hot shower,” she said. “I don’t know why, and the doctors don’t even know why.”

Dr. Bozorgzadeh was the first to suggest Howland had CHS. In 2009, he saw two to three cases a week. Since recreational marijuana was legalized in Washington, he says that number has gone up.

“So how many are you seeing a week now?” KIRO-TV’s Linzi Sheldon asked.

“Right now, we see one or two a day, almost ... It’s much more common,” he said.

KIRO-TV’s investigation led to other cities and hospitals. At Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Washington, doctors reported seeing one to two cases a week. Harborview Medical Center sees one to two cases a month. as does Virginia Mason Hospital and Medical Center.

Overlake Hospital Medical Center reports seeing a case every two to three months, and Swedish Hospital told KIRO-TV it sees CHS cases “often,” but did not offer more details.

Dr. Otto Lin at Virginia Mason co-authored a case study of a man who reported “vomiting for 16 years,” while he struggled with the undiagnosed sickness, all the while “consuming at least four to eight marijuana doses (joints) per day.”

CHS is gaining national attention, too. People across the country have started speaking out, and a recent story in The Atlantic asked in the headline, "Will Smoking Pot Make Me Vomit Forever?"

It is still unclear how and why pot has this effect on certain people. However, Bozorgzadeh pointed out, “We do know that people who use it chronically and they use a lot of it, you know, sometimes three to five times a day, are more prone to developing this.”

Once patients are treated with IVs and medication, doctors say the symptoms usually stop after a couple of days. Then Bozorgzadeh recommends a trial phase of no pot at all.

“So they go through a period of time where they do not smoke cannabis, and if the condition improved or went away, that's proof that it's causing it,” he said.

Howland switched for a while to marijuana products with low levels of THC, the psychoactive chemical in pot that gets people high. She now smokes fewer concentrates, which she personally believes may have helped trigger the sickness for her in the first place.

“Some people refuse to believe it,” she said. “They think it's a very anti-marijuana stance. It is not anti-marijuana. It’s how I make my living—is selling marijuana. I enjoy marijuana. There is nothing wrong with it. It just comes back to moderation.”

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Two days after Barbara Bush's death, a granddaughter gives birth

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 11:16 PM

Lauren Bush Lauren, CEO and Founder of FEED Projects (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Visa, Inc. )
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Visa, Inc.
Lauren Bush Lauren, CEO and Founder of FEED Projects (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Visa, Inc. )(Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Visa, Inc.)

Just two days after the death of former first lady Barbara Bush, her granddaughter Lauren Bush Lauren and her husband, David, welcomed Max Walker Lauren to the family.

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According to a Facebook post from Barbara’s Bush son Neil Bush, Max was born on Thursday. Arriving two weeks before his mom’s due date, the baby boy weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces.

Neil shared the news Friday morning and spoke about his mother’s passing as well as recognizing the moment as part of the circle of life:

“Maria and I were so blessed to spend lots of time with mom and dad during mom's last weeks and we are so grateful for the condolences and the outpouring of love expressed towards her by many, many friends. Barbara Bush was loved by everyone. She lived a remarkable life blessing family, friends, and total strangers around the world. Mom left on her own terms. In the final hours she was comfortable, loving, surrounded by family, holding hands with dad. Maria and I will always be grateful for being able to say a proper goodbye to our wonderful mother. And then two days later, yesterday morning, two weeks before her due date, Lauren Bush Lauren gave birth to a beautiful 7 lb 8 oz baby boy Max Walker Lauren. The circle of life. God is good.”

Bush’s daughter Lauren is married to the son of fashion designer Ralph Lauren. Lauren and David were married in 2011 and had their first son in 2015.

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George H.W. Bush: 9 things to know about the 41st president of the United States

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 2:13 AM

Biography of George H.W. Bush

Former President George Herbert Walker Bush was hospitalized Sunday in Houston after an infection spread to his blood, just days after the death of his wife, Barbara.

>> George H.W. Bush hospitalized with blood infection days after death of Barbara Bush

"He is responding to treatments and appears to be recovering," his spokesman, Jim McGrath, tweeted Monday.

Here are nine things you should know about Bush, who served as the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993:

1. He has a form of Parkinson's disease. The former president uses a motorized scooter or wheelchair to get around.

2. He is "the longest-living president in U.S. history," Time reported last November. The 93-year-old Bush, born June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, is 111 days older than the second longest-living U.S. president, Jimmy Carter. 

>> George H.W. Bush now longest-living president in U.S. history

3. He and Barbara had the longest marriage of any presidential couple in U.S. history. The pair wed Jan. 6, 1945.

>> Barbara Bush: What you should know about the former first lady

4. He graduated from Yale in 1948. According to CNN, he earned his bachelor's degree in economics in just 2 1/2 years.

5. He has five living children: George W., John (known as Jeb), Neil, Marvin and Dorothy. George W. Bush served two terms as president from 2001 to 2009. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ran for the Republican nomination in the run-up to November's election, but lost his bid to President Donald Trump.

Another child, Pauline Robinson "Robin" Bush, died as a child in 1953 after being diagnosed with leukemia, The Washington Post reported.

>> PHOTOS: George H. W. Bush through the years

6. He served in the Navy during World War II. Bush, who reportedly enlisted on his 18th birthday in 1942, flew 58 combat missions during the war, including one that required he be rescued by a submarine after his plane was hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire. For his bravery, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

7. He launched his political career in 1963. He served as a congressman, CIA director and Ronald Reagan's vice president.

8. In 1989, he became the first sitting vice president to win the presidency since 1837. According to CNN, he "offered his predecessors  Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan  secure telephones so he could reach them day or night."

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9. He "has parachuted eight times," CNN reported. His most recent skydive was a tandem jump in celebration of his 90th birthday.

>> Click here to watch

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Biography of Barbara Pierce Bush(

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Teen girls abducted: Arrest made in 19-year-old cold case

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 6:40 PM

Warren Phllip Welch (deceased), Ronnie Busick and David Pennington (deceased), are suspected in the 1999 disappearance of two Oklahoma girls. (Kansas Department of Corrections)
Warren Phllip Welch (deceased), Ronnie Busick and David Pennington (deceased), are suspected in the 1999 disappearance of two Oklahoma girls. (Kansas Department of Corrections)

Investigators made a break in the 1999 disappearance of two Welch, Oklahoma, girls.

Officials charged Ronnie Busick in connection with their disappearance, according to KOKI

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Ashley Freeman and Lauria Bible were 16 years old in 1999, when they planned a sleepover to celebrate Freeman's birthday. 

The day after the sleepover, firefighters found Freeman's parents, Danny and Kathy Freeman, shot to death in their burned-out home. The girls, however, had disappeared. 

For years, investigators searched for answers, interviewed several potential suspects and pleaded for information surrounding the girls' disappearance. 

KOKI reported in 2017 that "extremely valuable" information was turned over by Craig County Sheriff Heath Winfrey. 

Officials said they charged Busick Sunday in connection with the case. He faces four charges of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and a final count of arson.

Busick is currently in custody in Newston, Kansas, according to investigators.

At least two other people were involved in the case, they said. Those two, identified as Warren Phillip Welch and David Pennington, have since died. 

Members of the victim’s families learned Lauria and Ashley were likely kept alive some time after their disappearance, but they have since died. Their bodies have not been recovered.

An affidavit claimed Welch kept photographs in a leather briefcase that showed the girls bound and gagged at his Picher home during their last days. According to the affidavit, multiple people said they had seen the pictures, but the suspects reportedly threatened them.

The affidavit claimed the girls were tied up, drugged and raped before they were killed. It said the girls were strangled and their bodies were dumped into a pit, which may have been a mine shaft near Picher.

Multiple people told investigators that both Welch and Pennington dealt methamphetamine, according to the affidavit. One person reportedly told investigators that Pennington had said the girls had entered a room where Freeman’s parents were buying drugs on the night of the crime.

Another witness reportedly said that a conversation between Welch, Pennington and Busick had implied that the Freeman parents had been murdered over a debt. That witness said the suspects had also hinted that they had taken the two girls and eventually killed them, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit said an insurance card found near the scene connected to a car that investigators believed to be connected to a vehicle in Welch's possession helped them in the case.

It said that the suspects had threatened the lives of people who may have had information about the crimes.

Investigators said they still need people to come forward about where the girls' bodies may be. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-522-8017 or via email at

Officials said a private reward of $50,000 still stands for information related to the location of the girls.

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Cam Newton surprises Special Olympics athletes with shopping spree

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 11:21 PM

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 31:  Cam Newton (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 31: Cam Newton (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton surprised 20 children from Special Olympics North Carolina at a surprise shopping event at a Dick’s Sporting Goods in Barclay Downs, North Carolina, on Monday afternoon.

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Each child got a $200 gift card and spent time shopping with Newton, who served as a personal shopping consultant to the children and helped them buy fun sporting goods. Dick's Sporting Goods and the Cam Newton Foundation sponsored the event as part of their efforts to inspire and enable youth sports.

The Special Olympics athletes are participating in the Mecklenburg County Spring Games this week. More than 1,300 Special Olympics athletes are competing in this year’s Spring Games, which include track and field, motor sports, softball and swimming events.

“You see a lot of smiles on these children’s faces and that's contagious,” Newton said.

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