What is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

Photo Credit: Leaf Science

Photo Credit: Leaf Science

While marijuana is therapeutic for most, some users may experience an adverse reaction to the plant in what is called cannabinoids hyperemesis syndrome. The syndrome only affects a small percentage of users, but it can cause sufferers to experience extreme nausea and vomiting for as long as 24 or 48 hours. Surprisingly, CHS is more prevalent in long-time and frequent cannabis users. Patients who experience CHS often feel temporary relief while taking a hot bath or shower. While this theory is not understood, some researchers point to the idea that there are cannabinoid receptors in the hypothalamus of the brain that regulate body temperature.

Symptoms of CHS commonly occur in three phases: pre-emetic, hyperemetic, and recovery. The pre-emetic phases consists of mild symptoms, such as nausea, a fear of vomiting, and abdominal discomfort, as they begin to appear over the span of months or years. The hyperemetic phase is the most severe phase, lasting 24 to 48 hours and consisting of intense nausea and vomiting, a decreased appetite, abdominal pain, dehydration, and weight loss. Many patients seek treatment during this time. Patients then experience a symptom free period in what is known as recovery. This can last days, weeks, or months, and patients return to their normal weight and resume regular eating habits. However, patients may feel they can return to cannabis use which could result in a relapse of symptoms.

If you experience CHS, do not hesitate to seek medical attention and cease cannabis use. This information has been brought to you by Leaf Science and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.