The Download: a cannabis disorder conflict, and ever-hotter heatwaves Leave a comment

Alice Moon couldn’t stop throwing up. 

She had made a name for herself as an online cannabis influencer, but after a weed-infused dinner in a Malibu home in 2018, she spent more than two weeks constantly puking—unable to keep down food or water, going back and forth to urgent care for IVs, and at one point growing so weak she passed out in her yard. She was finally ready to accept it was the marijuana that had made her sick. 

Moon, now 33, has become a prominent figure in the online community of patients who have a rare disorder called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, or CHS. And she has spent the last few years in a bitter online battle with 70-year-old neurologist and psychopharmacologist Ethan Russo over his attempts to research CHS.

The influencer and the scientist have little in common—Moon never graduated from high school, and Russo doesn’t quite understand how to use Instagram—but still, their conflict has spun out with unusual vehemence. 

There have been accusations of scamming and sabotage, social media trash-talking, and an incident in which hundreds of people backed out of a scientific study. It is not an exaggeration to say their inability to get along may have forever warped the public conversation around CHS, just as the disorder is becoming increasingly common in emergency rooms across the globe. Read the full story.

—Amanda Chicago Lewis

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