Cannabinoid Hyperemesis: What It Is and How to Avoid and Treat It

Photo Credit: Merry Jane

Photo Credit: Merry Jane

Some chronic cannabis users can become diagnosed with cannabinoid hyperemesis and experience nausea and vomiting that oftentimes only subsides when the patient abstains from cannabis use for at least 48 hours, and while the condition is rare there has been a spike in diagnoses recently. This surge could be a result of increased access to marijuana, or the fact that more physicians are recognizing the condition for what it is. That being said, it is difficult for physicians to diagnose. Massachusetts OBGYN Dr. Jacqueline Kates, MD, explains, "There’s no test [for the condition]... There’s no real way to diagnose beyond having the patient abstain from cannabis to see if vomiting stops. Typically within two to three days of stopping, the symptoms should resolve themselves.” Dr. Kates also notes that the risk of relapsing is high, so if you discontinue marijuana use due to cannabinoid hyperemesis, your risk of developing it again upon resuming chronic use is actually higher.

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