Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

Published Feb 26, 2019 00:37 a.m. ET

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome symptoms

Over use of cannabis, to an extreme, can cause Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by certain symptoms. These include recurrent episodes of severe nausea and abdominal pain. Temporary relief can be obtained when a hot shower or bath is taken or ceasing the use of cannabis can help to stop the effects. However, some people with this syndrome may need to stay in the hospital to be treated for dehydration, resulting from vomiting. The symptoms will be gone in a couple of days. If you resume using marijuana, the symptoms are more than likely to return.

Treatments using unconventional antiemetics like Haloperidol have been successful in the treatment of symptoms. However, a single dose can have terrible side-effects. These can include Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome and dystonia.

The relief that is reported from hot showers or heat suggests that the endocannabinoid system has a complex relationship with a transient receptor potential vanilloid 1. These receptors are responsible for temperature regulation. The relationship between these two holds hopeful treatment options for Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

CHS among adolescents is often under-recognized. Adolescents are becoming frequent users. CHS usually targets people who use marijuana regularly. Some would say chronic users or people using the drug at least twice a day are more liable to develop this syndrome.

Experts are still trying to decide what causes CHS. Marijuana’s effect on the brain prevents nausea and vomiting. Cannabis is often used to combat nausea felt after chemotherapy. Problems can happen with the way cannabis interacts with the digestive system. It works opposite to the feelings of the brain. Vomiting and nausea are common effects. When marijuana is used repeatedly or in a chronic method, certain receptors will stop responding to cannabis in the same way. Now the circular vomiting begins one of the identifying symptoms of CHS. Why some chronic users develop this syndrome, and others don’t is still a mystery waiting to be solved.


CHS symptoms are usually divided into three stages:

Prodromal: vomiting in the morning upon rising and abdominal pain, this phase has been reported to last months and even years.

Hyperemetic: the nausea is still happening, vomiting continues, and there is weight loss due to eating less. Dehydration is an important symptom to watch out for. This phase is when most people reach out for medical help. Quitting marijuana use may be the only remedy in this phase.

The recovery phase sees the symptoms start to leave. Your eating habits start to return to normal, and you might notice some weight coming back on you. The recovery phase can last days or months. If you start to consume cannabis again it is likely that the symptoms are going to return.

Despite this disorder marijuana related deaths by consumption could still prove to be impossible. Research suggests that one would need to consume a very large amount of cannabis in a very short time for the results to be fatal. Some researchers suggest that 15,000 pounds of cannabis would need to be ingested in 15 minutes. To this date no one has died from the direct use of cannabis.



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