Can cannabinoids still be used with cannabis hyperemesis syndrome?

Published Aug 26, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / stevanovicigor

For far too long cannabis hyperemesis syndrome aka cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, was a highly misunderstood and rarely reported issue, but we have always known that it existed. Unfortunately, due to the stigma that is associated with cannabis use, those that would experience this condition would rarely seek medical attention, and the few that did would not admit to the cause of it, which left specialists stumped as to its realness and the number of people impacted until recently.

What is Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome?

Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome is a condition that causes a person to experience serious adverse side effects whenever they chose to use THC rich cannabis products. This is an illness that seems to only impact long term consumers, and it is believed to be caused by the body's reaction to an increased tolerance to cannabinoids, but we aren’t entirely sure if that is true. All we know for certain is that those who use the most cannabis are at a higher risk of getting it.

Those who are diagnosed with cannabis hyperemesis syndrome might experience an array of uncomfortable side effects almost immediately after using cannabis products. They might feel nauseous, get dizzy, vomit uncontrollably, fall unconscious, have an upset stomach, or go through excruciating headaches or migraines that are nearly impossible to shake until the effects have worn off, which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.

CHS medical treatment

If you’re hoping for a miracle CHS treatment, then you will be sorely disappointed as we have yet to uncover much that works for these unfortunate consumers. Right now, the only viable and effective treatment that we know of is quitting, which will immediately relieve all adverse effects, but for many long-term users, that is a lot easier said than it is done.

Will I always react poorly to all cannabinoids?

The truth is that if you have CHS, then you might find that you react poorly to THC for the rest of your life, or you might suddenly notice that the effects of the condition have worn off in a matter of months. Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is known to come and go over time, with some consumers reporting years’ worth of breaks in between more difficult times, and others never get any sort of reprieve.

There is no way to know for certain how long you might be stuck with this condition, but the good news is that you have it, CBD isn’t necessarily off the table completely. In fact, most users with cannabis hyperemesis syndrome find that CBD can help them to give up cannabis with fewer uncomfortable withdrawal-type effects. We don’t know why, but this medicinal cannabinoid doesn’t seem to trigger the flood of symptoms that are associated with this diagnosis.

Safely starting a cannabinoid treatment with cannabis hyperemesis syndrome

If you have cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome and you don’t want to quit, then there are a few things that you can try. Some users report great success with mixing CBD and THC more evenly to produce a milder psychoactive effect, and sometimes this is enough to quell the worst of the symptoms of CHS. Others have better luck proceeding with micro-doses and re-adjusting their tolerance levels slowly over time, to sort of reverse the negative reaction.

Unfortunately, since we don’t know what causes it, and the adverse effects can be terrifying, we highly recommend that you seek the assistance of a qualified doctor to oversee your treatment plan and help you out along the way. That way, you’ll have the best chance of getting back at least a little bit of the benefits that you enjoy receiving from cannabis.

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