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What’s Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome?

With daily marijuana use seeing an uptake thanks to legalization efforts and recreational legislation, fears surrounding chronic marijuana misuse haven’t taken long to surface. One of these fears concerns CHS, a medical disorder resulting from long term marijuana use.

What is cannabis hyperemesis syndrome? CHS is a case of morning nausea followed by episodes of vomiting. Not too dissimilar to Cyclical Vomiting Disorder, CHS leads to recurrent vomiting in heavy marijuana users and a persistent nausea that doesn’t go away until cessation of cannabis use.

For those with a fear of vomiting, CHS can be an especially nasty disorder to develop. For users of marijuana for medical purposes, it can also be quite disruptive. 

Bouts of vomiting found in CHS patients can often feel worse thanks to ongoing nausea accompanied by abdominal pain. 

Episodes of nausea and severe vomiting can come and go if you suffer from CHS, but the abdominal pain is unfortunately a very consistent presence in sufferers. 

Pain relievers can mitigate some belly pain, but for severe vomiting and severe nausea your options are more limited, and you are better off contacting your healthcare provider. 

Using cannabis as pain relief is also totally out of the question for your chest pain, as it will only prolong your symptoms. 

Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome Symptoms

Contact your healthcare provider if you suffer from recurrent vomiting, abdominal pain, and other long term effects including nausea and dehydration symptoms. 

These are the primary symptoms of Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome, an exclusive condition in people who use and abuse excessive amounts of marijuana. 

Healthcare professionals are still getting used to CHS and the complex effects it brings, as the condition is still a relatively recent discovery. 

Prescribed medicines can relieve some of the stomach pain so far, but use cannabis as pain medicine is obviously not going to work. 

Causes of Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome

Once you report belly pain, vomiting, and nausea to your healthcare provider, you will need to disclose a history of long term cannabis use. 

For CHS, a healthcare team can put you into one of three identified phases: The Prodromal phase, the Hyperemetic phase, and the Recovery phase.

Prodromal simply means you are in the early stages of the illness, having an adverse reaction to some compounds in cannabis or over-exerting your cannabinoid receptors. 

This phase is identified in a small sample of people, as CHS is easily misdiagnosed thanks to its relatively new discovery. 

The hyperemetic phase, or hyperemesis phase, affects the largest portion of people at time of diagnosis. This is characterized by extreme bouts of vomiting. 

At this stage you are in the thick of it, experiencing all the body and brain effects of Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome.

The recovery phase is as exactly as it sounds, the latter stages of CHS where you can expect to find some relief from symptoms. 

Anti-nausea effects will happen first, but long term effects such as continued sensitivity to exogenous cannabinoids are likely to continue. 

Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome is more likely to occur if you began cannabis use at an early age, especially in the young and developmental stages of puberty. 

How Do You Treat Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome?

The easiest solution to treat Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome? Cessation of cannabis use for an extended period of time. 

For recreational users, this should be no problem at all. However, medicinal marijuana will often need to be replaced with a different pain medicine. 

You may continue to have a sensitivity to weed after recovery from CHS, however it shouldn’t totally take away your ability to enjoy cannabis. 

Instead, you may have to follow a reduced intake of marijuana, and avoid stressing your cannabinoid receptors with high doses of THC and CBD. 

A full body detox and some over the counter pain relief can work wonders, but your doctor may also be able to prescribe some anti-nausea medications as well. 

If you’re ever unsure about treatment and recovery, raise your concerns with your doctor or health team so that you can get the most out of your road to recovery.

Although not a hard cure, hot showers have been known to relieve some symptoms of Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome, mainly the nausea which can reduce the need for vomiting. 

Telling Your Doctor About Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

You may be worried about telling your doctor about a history of cannabis use if you believe you are suffering from Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome.

Historically, the War on Drugs has been fought using fake science to paint weed in a bad light, and by using doctors to obscure the health benefits of marijuana. 

Many physicians may not be well-enough versed in Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome and cannabinoid related ailments, making it hard to diagnose CHS. 

Recent changes to elevate weed to a legal status however have seen cannabis use become more accepted, but this only works in legalized states. 

Fortunately, even in illegal states you can flag your cannabis use history to a doctor without fear of involving any law enforcement at all. 

Recreational use can’t be disclosed outside your medical history, unless you pose a danger to the public and public health. 

This means as long as you aren’t trying to assault a doctor during a diagnosis, you are perfectly safe to disclose your history of enjoying weed to a doctor you trust. 

It’s important for people who rely on marijuana to speak up with their doctor if they experience CHS, as this can help get the condition more attention from healthcare providers.

There are several pros and cons to telling your doctor about your marijuana use. The pros of disclosure may include better understanding of your condition, more effective treatments, and improved patient care.

On the other hand, disclosure may also increase anxiety and concern, which could interfere with patient treatment and compliance.

Depending on if the marijuana user experiences paranoia or anti-anxiety effects when high, results can really vary. 

Fortunately, disclosure will not lead to sanctions or discrimination by employers, insurers, or other institutions.

Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome Vs. Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome

Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome and Cyclical Vomiting Disorder are similar, but different ailments. Both with different causes. 

CHS obviously is highly influenced by a history of cannabis use and abuse, chronically involving weed in the daily lifestyle of the patient. 

On the other hand CVS has links to family histories of migraines and severe headaches, rather than bodily influences. 

CVS also has comorbidities with some psychiatric disorders, such as depression or mania. Comorbities mean that CVS is more likely to appear in people with poor mental health. 

Both disorders can result in a serious difficulty in eating and keeping food down. As a result, both will often lead to weight loss. 


Ryan Hamilton

Im Ryan, a Medical Cannabis Activist & Blog Owner @ I started the blog as a medium to answer questions and grow the awareness of the herb. Along with the medicinal properties, cannabis can help grown the economy with its vast amount of taxable finances. Less violent properties than alcohol, cannabis legalisation is inevitable.

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