Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome: When Cannabis Makes You Sick

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Cannabis, both medical and recreational, is becoming more popular as legalization sweeps through the country. Because more people are trying marijuana for the very first time, adverse effects are starting to show up more than they had in the past. While cannabis still has one of the most attractive side-effect profiles, there is still reason to be cautious when trying anything new. One of the adverse effects that is starting to seem more apparent is cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.

What is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is a clinical disorder that causes individuals who consume cannabis at a chronic level to have symptoms like nausea and vomiting. Because more and more people are trying cannabis for the first time, doctors are starting to see this syndrome more and realizing how difficult it is to treat.

Symptoms of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Profuse sweating
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration

How do You Get Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

Scientists believe that CHS comes from your body being too sensitive to the cannabinoids. There are enzymes in your body named the cytochrome P450 enzyme that metabolizes cannabinoids. Studies have shown that some people can have a genetic polymorphism in the enzyme, which is what scientists believe may cause the symptoms of CHS.

The Phases of Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

There are three phases of CHS you may experience: prodromal, hyperemetic and recovery.

Prodromal Phase

  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Early morning nausea
  • Fear of vomiting

The prodromal phase can last for several years, and some people can still maintain normal eating patterns while still using cannabis because of how well known it is for having anti-nausea properties.

Hyperemetic Phase

  • Mild abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting

In the hyperemetic phase, individuals can experience vomiting without warning several times an hour. This phase usually only lasts up to 48 hours.

Recovery Phase

  • Weight gain
  • Normal eating habits
  • Normal bathing habits

The recovery phase is what happens when the person who is susceptible to CHS stops consuming cannabis. This stage can last a couple of days, weeks, or months.

How to Get Relief from Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

If you are vomiting or feeling nauseous after consuming cannabis, it is likely that your body isn’t accepting the medication. While researchers have yet to find a definitive treatment for CHS, there has been evidence that you can help relieve the symptoms. One way studies have shown to help alleviate the nausea is taking a hot shower or a hot bath. Another thing that gave patients dramatic relief was using capsaicin topicals, which is the active component in chili peppers.

Does CBD Hemp Oil Cause Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

Most studies point to high concentrations of THC causing CHS, however, they have begun studying how the cannabinoid CBD affects the body in this type of situation. Unfortunately, CBD oil can also cause CHS. Studies have shown that in large doses, CBD oil increased the symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

This just one reason it is so important for you to keep your doctor in the loop when taking medicine or to ingest anything that can make changes to your biology like cannabis. While side-effects aren’t as frequent or severe as commonly prescribed medication, you are too important not to take care when searching for good health.

Sarah Potts

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