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Friday, April 16, 2021

Tucker Carlson Faces Backlash for Promoting Cannabis Myths

On his daytime show Tucker Carlson Today, Fox News’ top host Tucker Carlson invited former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson—who more or less made a career writing about the dangers of cannabis—to discuss how cannabis leads to “vomiting,” and how complications “can actually kill you.” He also compared cannabis to benzodiazepines.

Raised in Southern California, Carlson admitted that he smoked cannabis “as a child.” But once on the topic of cannabis, Berenson almost immediately brought up cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), a real but extremely rare disease thought to be caused by years of cannabis use. The term was first coined in 2004.

When Carlson asked what CHS is, Berenson explained that it’s an “uncontrollable vomiting as a result of THC.” Cedars Sinai provides information on CHS, cyclical vomiting which is believed to be a result of years of heavy cannabis use. Research on the disease is young, but in 2012, researchers were able to pinpoint 98 cases over time of CHS, which were published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings

But when people get CHS, Berenson said, “it can actually kill; you become so dehydrated, you need to get to an emergency room.” High Times reported that the cannabis industry is polarized on the severity of CHS, which some argue has been linked to rare deaths. But it could also be misdiagnosed. Dr. Peter Grinspoon, for instance, expressed concerns regarding the condition’s similarity to cyclical vomiting syndrome—a completely different disease.

[literally sparking a joint the size of my middle finger right now] that’s crazy man

— Scott Wampler™ (@ScottWamplerBMD) April 14, 2021

Berenson’s fixation on cannabis began long ago, but in 2019, he published his book Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence. The book was compared to Reefer Madness-era yellow journalism that portrays cannabis as a dangerous drug. According to Vox, the book is riddled with misinformation, exaggerations and half-truths.

Berenson and Carlson then began comparing cannabis to benzodiazepines such as anti-anxiety drugs or muscle relaxers, which are highly addictive and strong enough to stop breathing. Uproxx pointed out the fundamental problems with this theory.

I did a marijuana once and I’ve been vomiting ever since

— Thor Benson (@thor_benson) April 14, 2021

As in the case with most other strong cannabis opponents, Twitter users were quick to clap back with information refuting the ideas being promoted on Tucker Carlson Today. Carlson was dragged and roasted on the platform, with no mercy.

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