Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome - Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) is a clinical condition that is characterized by cannabis use.

This condition is frequently reported worldwide, especially in the United States. Because people can access high-potency cannabis and derivatives in the US.

Experts say that this condition develops in people after consuming high concentrations of cannabinoids for a long period.

Reports of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome are developing in the country and are affecting society negatively.

It has been shown that symptoms associated with the syndrome may result in cognitive dysfunctions and other serious health conditions in people. 

What Is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is a medical condition that leads to continued vomiting and other health conditions that occur in long-term use of marijuana.

People who use cannabinoids experience serious medical problems when the active chemical compounds reach the body.

These compounds affect the brain and nervous system which results in dizziness, rapid breathing, sudden confusion, and tiredness. 

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

People who are affected with Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome may experience severe health issues such as vomiting, digestive issues, body pain, and more.

Also, with the extensive use of marijuana, a person may witness cognitive disorders such as memory loss, depression, and anxiety.

This condition is mainly found in people who use cannabis regularly. 

Signs And Symptoms Of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome has three phases which include the Prodromal phase, Hypermetric phase, and Recovery phases. Here is a detailed explanation of all three phases. 

🔹 Prodromal Phase

People affected with CHS experience mild symptoms for days, weeks, or months in this phase.

Patients may experience nausea, gut discomfort, and anxiety mostly in the morning but may be felt throughout the day. 

Some people may have vomiting issues. Most people follow a normal eating pattern, while some use more marijuana to stop the nausea. 

🔹 Hyperemetic Phase

The hyperemetic phase is characterized by intense vomiting, abdominal pain, sweating, flushing, decreased appetite, and symptoms of fluid loss.

During this phase, vomiting occurs as frequently as five to six times per hour.

This condition in this phase is refractory to antiemetic medications.

The patients also suffer from dehydration and weight loss.

To reduce these symptoms, people often shower and bathe. This behavior may become compulsive, and some people tend to take up to 12 hot showers to wash away their nausea.  

🔹 Recovery Phase

In the recovery phase, patients stop vomiting and experience relief from other symptoms. During this phase, patients will be symptom-free.

Their habits became normal, and people began to eat normally, gain weight, and stop showering frequently.

The symptoms come back if the person resumes taking marijuana. 

Cause Of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is a poorly understood health concern.

Several studies indicate that this syndrome is rising among cannabis users in the United States.

The main cause of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is the regular intake of marijuana.

The intoxicating effect of marijuana may cause health issues such as insomnia, pain, nausea, anxiety, and epilepsy. 

Cause Of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

With the repeated use of this drug, certain receptors in the brain may stop responding and cause repeated bouts of vomiting, a main symptom of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome.

The chemicals present in marijuana may cause a negative effect on the nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract.

In addition, one of the compounds of cannabis known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is lipid-building that can be stored in fat cells in the body that potentially increases toxin levels.

The person who consumes cannabis gets stressed, and the THC in the fat cells releases and triggers the CHS symptoms. 

What Are The Complications Of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

When a large amount of marijuana enters the body, several symptoms of CHS can occur.

But if it is not treated properly, it can lead to other complications in the body such as 

  • Kidney failure.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Heart diseases.
  • Seizures.
  • Brain swelling (cerebral edema)
  • Electrolyte problems. 

Symptoms and complications of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome may vary from person to person depending on the intensity of the syndrome.

Patients who fail to respond to therapies are at high risk for serious health conditions.

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If the condition is untreated or cannot be recovered the person may lead to death.  

Treatment For Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

The treatment of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is based on intensity.

In the hyperemesis phases, the patient is treated with a fluid replacement for dehydration, medications for vomiting, proton-pump inhibitors for stomach inflammation, frequent showers, and prescribed medication.  

If the patient is diagnosed with Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, as a first step, the doctors prescribe antiemetic medications such as ondansetron, prochlorperazine, promethazine, and metoclopramide.

Applying capsaicin-based creams on the stomach helps reduce nausea and vomiting associated with CHS. 

If the condition gets worse, the only cure for this is the complete cessation of cannabis and its derivatives.

But this can be challenging for regular users of cannabinoids.

Because this disorder may be accomplished with other health conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, and chronic pain which may complicate cessation.

Testes That Help To Identify CHS 

  • Electrolytes test.
  • Blood test for infection and anemia.
  • Pregnancy test.
  • Urine test for infection.
  • Upper endoscopy helps to view the stomach and determine the cause of vomiting.
  • X-ray to check the blockage.
  • Head CT scan for the nervous system.
  • Abdominal CT scan to check for severe health problems.

CHS is a recently discovered syndrome that may not be spotted for years.

People often confuse CHS with normal vomiting. But if the condition is not determined or treated at the early stage, it can affect the overall health of the patient. 

How To Prevent Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

The only way to prevent Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is not using marijuana.

It is proven that overconsumption of marijuana is the underlying cause of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome.

The symptoms of this medical condition may take several years to develop.

Quitting the use of marijuana may also help to have better lung functioning, improved cognitive functions, better sleep, and decreased risk for anxiety and depression.


Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is a poorly understood health condition among people.

According to the statistics in the US, more than half of the population is affected with Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome symptoms.

With the rise of this condition, the health department is up-to-date on the diagnosis, challenges, and treatment associated with the condition.

Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, but many states have legalized its use.

This allowed people to sell marijuana in stores, coffee shops, wineries, dispensaries, online, and breweries. 

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Proper health care and primary education on the complications of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome are necessary to save the population.

We can prevent the symptoms of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome by reducing the use of cannabinoids.

For this, a clear understanding of the danger caused by extensive usage of marijuana is necessary. 

Dr. Elizabeth Novello

Dr. Elizabeth Novello

Dr. Elizabeth Novello is a distinguished healthcare professional who has dedicated her career to the specialized field of pain-related healthcare. With a deep passion for alleviating suffering and improving the quality of life for those experiencing pain, Dr. Novello has become a recognized authority in her field. Dr. Novello’s journey in the realm of pain management began with her rigorous medical training, where she developed a profound understanding of the complexities surrounding pain and its treatment.

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