Can Heavy Marijuana Usage Lead To Kidney Failure?


Researchers think they may have found a link between chronic marijuana use and kidney failure. The first case of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) was reported by an Australian clinical study in 2004 with even more cases showing up in states that adopted medical and recreational marijuana laws. While the link between heavy marijuana use and renal failure seems strong, a more probable cause can be attributed to the rise of pesticide use in marijuana production.

What is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

People with CHS typically report chronic bouts of nausea, frequent vomiting, and intense abdominal pain. The visceral pain and dehydration can eventually lead to acute kidney failure, at worse. The only known treatment for these symptoms is a hot bath/shower, surprisingly. Researchers believe that the heat restores equilibrium in the thermoregulatory system of the hypothalamus.

Some researchers prematurely claim that long-term marijuana use is the cause of CHS symptoms like dehydration, abdominal pain and kidney failure. They theorize that marijuana users that smoke more than three to five times a day develop a cannabinoid toxicity over time, often exhibiting no symptoms at the onset. Another theory blames the functioning of the cannabinoid receptors in the hypothalamus.

Pesticides in Marijuana

Could Pesticides Be The Cause of CHS?

The same symptoms associated with CHS can also be explained with pesticide contamination. Critics of medical marijuana state that CHS has increased in regions that have set up medical marijuana laws. Many of the growers within these regions, however, mistakenly use pesticides to control mites and other contaminants. The lack of regulation on pesticide use in marijuana production can be the cause of the increase of CHS cases. 

Eagle20 is a commonly used pesticide for marijuana growers that want a higher yield. When Eagle 20’s key ingredient, myclobutanil, is heated (during smoking) it transforms into hydrogen cyanide which can cause similar symptoms to CHS along with a few others like:

  • Skin rashes
  • Headaches
  • Nosebleeds
  • Allergic Dermatitis

Certain “organic” pesticides can also be detrimental when ingested. An organic pesticide derived from Neem Oil is typically used on fruits and vegetables and can be theoretically washed off, but not off marijuana leaves that contain dried pesticide. Pesticides that are approved by the EPA for “safe” use are not necessarily applicable to marijuana production.

Organic Marijuana

The Benefits of Organic Marijuana

Besides tasting and smelling better, organic marijuana contains none of the harmful pesticides associated with many diseases. While growers may think they are cutting corners and safely dealing with bugs and mold, they are actually hurting their customers. Using best organic growing practices is the most effective method of producing clean and pure marijuana. Relieving CHS symptoms could be as easy as switching to an organic dispensary.

Green Door West offers 100% organic, vegan and pesticide-free marijuana products. Not only is organic marijuana more potent, aromatic, and eco-friendly, but it is safer to consume that pesticide-laced marijuana which can cause debilitating diseases. Marijuana is meant to be used as a therapeutic treatment, but the lack of federal regulation can end up hurting those who need it most.


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